No matter which way one turned once inside Alice High School Saturday, they were greeted with group after group huddled together playing their hearts out as Coastal Bend College hosted its ninth annual Dia del Mariachi competition.

“Overall, the competition was very good,” event organizer Juan Jose Sanchez said.

Sanchez said the competition drew more than 600 participants and 33 Mariachi groups which were divided into two divisions depending on how often they meet for practices.

“Division I are groups that meet as a class,” Sanchez said. “For Division II groups, the group is more of an extracurricular activity.”

Sanchez said that because some groups did not show up to the competition, they had to rearrange times somewhat but everything still worked out without any issues. He said he has already heard from judges and area directors through conversation and email that they want to continue to participate in the competition in the future.

“They said that it was well organized,” Sanchez said. “In essence, I think a lot of the individuals were very complementary of the music and the day’s events.”

After all of the groups and vocalists had performed before the judges, Mariachi players with full attire gathered in the old gym for the Guinness world record attempt for largest Mariachi ensemble.

Although the ensemble ended up being more than 200 short of the record, Sanchez said he was pleased with how well the players came together and put on a show.

“I was actually not surprised by that because they love the music,” he said. “They have passion for it and are always practicing just to get better. To me, from when I was in the stands and even when I was on the floor, they meshed real well with the music and with their counterparts.”

Following the world record attempt, the awards assembly was held in the old gymnasium where the division trophies as well as the overall group and vocalist winners were announced.

The participants then left for dinner before reassembling for the Dia del Mariachi evening concert in the Bryce Taylor Theatre for the Performing Arts.

Mariachi Campanas de America headlined the concert, which also featured performances by the overall winners in each division in both middle and high school.

“The audience was astonished at the amount of talent the students have,” Sanchez said.