Ceremonial hug kicks off BorderFest 2009

Residents of Reynosa and Hidalgo meet on the international bridge Thursday to kickoff the 33rd Annual BorderFest.

A tiny gesture of affection kicked off BorderFest 2009 in Hidalgo.

Keeping with tradition for the 33rd annual event, the mayors of Hidalgo and Reynosa met on the international bridge Thursday for the official abrazo, or hug.

Hidalgo Mayor John David Franz said it symbolized the friendship between the two cities.

He also took the time to downplay any fears of border violence.

"We feel safe and it's just unfortunate that the media, at times, issues travel advisories and recommends that people not go into Mexico," remarked Franz. "But we have alot of people going across and we're going to spend a couple of hours celebrating the rich culture and heritage of the border region. We feel safe."

BorderFest ends Sunday.