Presented By

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  1. The Elevation of Tex-Mex
    Mico Rodriguez
  2. The Bounty of the Barnett Shale
    Kelcy Warren
  3. The Entrepreneurial Woman
    Tomima Edmark
  4. The Growth of the Vietnamese Community
    Jennifer Nguyen
  5. The Founding of Uptown
    Phil Cobb
  6. The Changing Face of Politics
    Craig Watkins
  7. The Brain Gain
    Dr. Hao Zhu
  8. The Four Sport Town
    Mike Modano
  9. The Underground Culture
    Katherine Owens
  10. The Catholic Migration
    Father Ivan Asencio
  11. The Organized South Asian Community
    John Hammond
  12. The Next Way to Develop
    Jeff Blackard
  13. The Allure of the Silicon Prairie
    Anousheh Ansari
  14. The lighting of Reunion Tower
    George Schrader
  15. The New Old Tradition
    Jennifer Moreno
  16. The Test Kitchen
    Mariel Street
  17. The Art Magnet
    Kevin Moriarty
  18. The Glamorous Return of Dallas Shopping
    Brian Bolke
  19. The Strengthening of the Gay Community
    Jack Evans and George Harris
  20. The Resurgence of Downtown Dallas
    Art Ortiz
  21. The Megachurch Boom
    Ed Young
  22. The Fundraisers
    Lynn McBee
  23. The Refuge
    Pedro Amaya
  24. The Reason Dallas Took Off
    Ron Barzyk
  25. The Girl Who Stayed Home
    Erykah Badu
  26. The Preservation of Our Historic Buildings
    Virginia McAlester
  27. The Thriving Ethiopian Community
    Birhan Mekonnen
  28. The New Dallas ISD
    Jessica Leija
  29. The Rebirth of the Trinity River
    Peter Payton
  30. The Trains Start Running
    Ladrika Davis Gross
  31. The Architect of an Art Scene
    Stephen Lapthisophon
  32. The Calculator That Changed the World
    Vonnie Howard
  33. The Rise and Fall and Rise of Deep Ellum
    Frank Campagna
  34. The Big Move
    Kendra Norwood
  35. The Expanding Empire in Fort worth
    Scott Hernandez
  36. The Family Recipe
    Chuy Cruz
  37. The Transformation of Oak Cliff
    David Spence
  38. The Now-Legal Immigrant
    Jesus Castillo Carrizales
  39. The City of Philanthropists
    Lyda Hill
  40. The Transplants
    Tara Vornkahl
00 The New Old Tradition Friday, June 20, at 10:54am in her bedroom in Forney

Jennifer Moreno

Jennifer Moreno’s bedroom is full of tiny dolls, dressed in equally tiny dresses. The dresses are hand-sewn by her grandmother and made of excess cloth from her own wedding dress, Moreno’s mother’s wedding dress, and now Moreno’s quinceañera dress.

Jennifer wanted her dress to be bright aqua, poofy, and sparkly, and she was going to take as long as she needed to find just the right one. She spent two months looking through catalogs, scouring shops, and ducking into bazaars with too-big parking lots. It was her quinceañera, and she wanted everything to be perfect.

“I told my mom that if it was too much for her, she didn’t have to do it,” the Forney High School sophomore says. “But I guess it meant a lot to her. My grandmother never gave my mom a quince, so she wanted to throw one.”

Gave, Moreno says, as in a gift. A very expensive gift. Dresses can run between $500 and $900, and the whole event can cost more than $15,000. And as North Texas’ Hispanic population has skyrocketed—from 6 percent of the population in 1970 to 28 percent in 2012—so has its quinceañera market. A one-mile stretch of Oak Cliff’s Jefferson Boulevard has more than a dozen quinceañera dress shops, and the suburbs are dotted with bazaars full of dresses, high heels, and tiaras. Quince expos and catering halls specifically for the event are now a familiar part of the event-planning landscape.

Quinceañeras have long been a tradition throughout Latin America, but their popularity—and the associated costs—have exploded in Hispanic-heavy portions of the United States. Two or three generations ago, quinceañeras were seen as old-fashioned or at least sliding out of style. That’s no longer the case.

“There are always some girls that want to have more stuff and make their quinceañera better than their friends’, ” Moreno says. “But at the end of it all, it’s just a celebration, and it’s about you and your family.”