BISBEE — Fun with Bisbee’s south-of-the-border compadres has now moved south to Naco, Arizona, as the first Binational Concert Without Borders kicks off at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Bisbee Mayor David Smith and fellow organizer Emily Vardeman talked excitedly about the event which they have managed to bring together in just six weeks with help from other volunteers and officials from sister cities Naco and Cananea, Sonora.
Smith said, “We just want to have fun and share our music, cuisine and culture. There will be food trucks on both sides of the border and drinks.”
Ramos and Smith talked right after her election and decided it would be a good idea to promote Naco, Sonora, and Bisbee to each other’s visitors and residents. There are many services and skilled craftsmen in Naco, Sonora, which cannot be found on the northern side of the border, Smith said. He thought it would be a good idea to come up with a brochure so visitors would know what is almost within walking distance from the port of entry, like metal workers, upholsterers, leather workers, seamstresses and others.
Just such an advertising medium is being drafted by Sonoran businesses and government, according to Ramos.
Smith plans to put them out at both Bisbee’s Visitor Centers and other hot spots around Bisbee.
Cochise County officials got behind the event and allowed the closure of a block of Towner Avenue from Martinez Street to the Gay 90s on the U.S. side. Ramos will do the same on the south side of the border.
U.S. Border Patrol and Customs and Border Protection officials gave their approval and will add extra security, as did their Mexican counterparts.
Smith noted the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office and the Bisbee Police Department would be on hand, as well.
The Bisbee High School Band will play the U.S. National Anthem and the Mexican National Anthem will be played by their school’s band.
The original plan was to run a communications cable so people on both sides of the border could see and hear each other.
It was nixed by Washington, D.C., but thanks to wireless technology, Skype and mobile Wifi hot spots provided by the Copper Queen Library, the opportunity to share the show will proceed. Movie screens will be set up on both sides of the border.
Bisbee’s Pat Panther, Mike Montoya, the High Strung Desert Ukesters and others will perform.
Mexico’s artists were not named by press time.
Earlier in the day, the two cities will host around 50 government officials at the Bisbee-owned, historic Camp Naco, also known as Fort Newell, and Ramos’s mother is providing a home-cooked meal.
One of the buildings has been renovated, complete with a new roof, thanks to a grant from Freeport McMoRan, Inc., Copper Queen Branch.
The invitation-only event gets underway at 1 p.m.