Courtesy Xochitl Mora,
MHP Float takes home top prize in their category
(McAllen, TX) The McAllen Holiday Parade float lit up the 2017 Fiesta Flambeau Parade, taking top honors in the Out-of-Town Float category and putting a smile on the faces of everyone in attendance at the event. The McAllen Holiday Parade can now add Fiesta Parade winner to its growing list of awards and accolades from the Texas Association of Fairs & Events; the Texas Festivals & Events Association; and the International Festivals & Events Association.
The almost 70-old parade, called the “crowning gem of Fiesta 2017” by the San Antonio Express-News, is the largest illuminated parade in the country and participating in the parade is by invitation only, featuring almost 200 entries. The McAllen Holiday Parade float competed against floats from the Laredo Police Department and Laredo’s Washington’s Birthday Celebration, as well as floats promoting the various festivals from Comal County, Floresville, Karnes City, and Poteet, to name a few.
According to Susan Reed, former Bexar County District Attorney and 2017 Fiesta Flambeau Parade Float Judge, “The entry ‘McAllen Holiday Parade’ most closely exemplified the theme of the 2017 Fiesta Flambeau Parade, ‘City Lights and Celebrations,’” she said. “The crowds really loved it. We were very happy to host McAllen and are looking forward to visiting in December,” Reed concluded, referencing a special invitation to the Fiesta Flambeau Parade Committee to attend this year’s McAllen Holiday Parade.
City of McAllen Parks & Recreation staff who accompanied the float down the 2.6 mile long parade agreed with Reed’s assessment of the crowds’ reaction to the float, commenting that as the McAllen Holiday Parade float made its way down the route, parade goers got really excited – smiling and cheering – and not just the children.
“It was a hit with everyone – kids and adults,” said McAllen’s District 6 Commissioner Veronica Whitacre, who was at the Fiesta Flambeau Parade, representing the local event.
The float showcased is the one that closes the McAllen Holiday Parade and brings Santa Claus to town. Santa Claus wore a holiday-themed tropical look – which got an ad-libbed mention in the live broadcast of the parade on San Antonio’s KSAT-12, ABC by parade commenter Steve Spriester. The models who joined Santa on the float wore traditional Fiesta wear.
This is the third time the float was featured in the Flambeau Parade. McAllen Holiday Parade organizers hope to promote the event to people beyond McAllen; especially, to a northern audience who appreciates parade and warm winters.
“This was a wonderful opportunity to showcase McAllen and the beautiful celebration that is the McAllen Holiday Parade,” said City of McAllen Mayor Jim Darling. “Just recently, the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley released a survey that highlighted that approximately 20% of our Holiday Parade-attendees are from out of town. If we can encourage folks from San Antonio and beyond to head down to McAllen for our amazing parade, they would remember how great it is to spend time in the Rio Grande Valley in December, as well as the rest of the year.”
Additionally, the San Antonio Express-News used the McAllen Holiday Parade float as a backdrop for various photos, which appeared in the online pictorial recap of the Fiesta Flambeau Parade the next day.
The McAllen Holiday Parade also participated in another Fiesta tradition, with the creation of its own medal to promote the parade. The parade medal featured the familiar smiling, full-bearded Santa, surrounded by the McAllen palm trees, decorated with holiday ornaments and standing on the familiar McAllen Holiday Parade banner. While Santa is still in red, he is wearing a traditional mariachi outfit, holding a guitar and standing in front of the San Antonio skyline, with the words FIESTA 2017 above the buildings.
The award-winning McAllen Holiday Parade is the largest illuminated holiday and helium-balloon parade in Texas and will be held on Saturday, December 2, 2017. Over 255,000 attendees enjoyed the McAllen Holiday Parade last year.