Situated on the Rio Grande, Laredo, Texas is the seat of Webb County with a population estimate of 208,750 as of July 2005. As of the 2000 census, Laredo was the second fastest growing city in the United States. Over the course of history, Laredo has earned itself the nicknames “The Gate City” and “The City Under Seven Flags.” The city's location on the north bank of the Rio Grande has made it one of the most popular ports of entry to Mexico, earning it's moniker as a gateway, as well as contributing to the fact that this area, which was one of the earliest settlements in Texas, has also served under seven different flags.
Texas A&M International University has a campus in Laredo. Located on the Texas A&M campus is the Lamar Bruni Vergara Science Center Planetarium. Other popular cultural attractions include The Larado Center for the Arts; the Imaginearium, formerly known as the Larado Children's Museum; and the Republic of the Rio Grande Museum. The Laredo Entertainment center is a popular choice for children and adults alike while Del Mar Blvd is known as the “strip” and caters more to adult nightlife tastes with various bars and clubs.
The Washington's Birthday Celebration is an event that runs for nearly a month in the town of Laredo. During this celebration there are fireworks, parades, concerts, an air show and more. The Jalapeño Festival, which includes an eating contest is numbered among the top ten eating festivals in the United States. Also part of the Washington Birthday Celebration is the Jamboozie Festival, which has been likened to the Mardi Gras festival in New Orleans. Jamboozie features masks and costumes of every variety, as well as numerous concession stands and multiple stages for bands.