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City leaders disappointed with Fiesta's departure

Posted at 5:54 PM, Oct 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-04 19:34:23-04

CORPUS CHRISTI — With Fiesta de la Flor leaving, Corpus Christi loses more than just a celebration of Selena. The city also misses out on tens of thousands of visitors annually. Those visitors generated millions for the city's tourism industry.

Mayor Joe McComb says he was surprised and disappointed to learn the fiesta's fate.

“This is her hometown, this is what got her claim to fame,” said McComb. “I think it's appropriate for the city to celebrate it.”

But McComb also recognizes the decision does lie with the Quintanilla Family.

“That's a family decision, and I don't know what arrangements they had with the CVB,” said McComb.

Visit Corpus Christi, the city’s convention and visitor’s bureau agreed to pay the Selena Foundation $50,000 for the 2019 Fiesta de la Flor. The controversy over that deal led to CVB Chief Executive Officer Paulette Kluge's resignation.

In five years, Fiesta de la Flor brought 250,000 people to the city and generated about $50 million in tourism revenue. Those are big losses for the city’s tourism businesses to overcome, but McComb believes they'll recover.

“Possibly next year you might see a blip for that time frame, but I think overall the city will recover and move on,” said McComb.

McComb hopes another event can take FDLF's place. If one does, Visit Corpus Christi says it won't take as much of an active role as it did with Fiesta de la Flor.

Interim CEO Alyssa Barrera Mason told KRIS 6 News via email: “Visit Corpus Christi is not an event production company, so we are not going to be looking at new events to produce. We will continue to promote events that bring visitors- such as Buc Days Rodeo, attractions and our beautiful beaches. Our current focus is promoting our community for tourists and conventions, optimizing our operations and finding a permanent CEO.”

Mayor McComb says he'd like to speak with Abraham Quintanilla to express the city's disappointment, and maybe convince him to keep the festival here.