Thursday, May 23, 2019
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56 teams compete in Texas Trails shuffleboard tournament

20181218 shuffleboard IMG 9210Winter Texan shuffleboard in the Rio Grande Valley is still just as vibrant and active as the seniors who enjoy the sport. The RGV Shuffleboard Association holds a series of 20 shuffleboard tournaments scheduled at Valley resorts this season. The tournament series began Nov. 6 and continues weekly through mid-March.

Last week’s tournament was held Tuesday through Thursday, Dec. 11-13, based out of Texas Trails RV Resort in Pharr. Jim VandeLeygraaf, an “expert” level shuffler from Countryside RV & MH Park in Donna, explained, there are so many shufflers participating in each tournament that some of the shufflers are assigned to compete at other resorts nearby. Having so many Valley resorts with a dozen or more shuffleboard courts makes it easier to run many games simultaneously to expedite play without a lot of wait time.

Read more: 56 teams compete in Texas Trails shuffleboard tournament

Visit The Christmas House and share the Spirit of Christmas

21081212 Christmas House KO 1 Good PhotoMost families have a Christmas tradition – maybe decorating the Christmas tree on Thanksgiving weekend, or maybe eating tamales and Texas chili on Christmas Eve. Better yet, perhaps it is joining a Christmas Posada as we remember Mary and Joseph’s search for a place where Christ could be welcomed into the world. Nothing is better than the traditional hot chocolate and bunelos after your search for the welcoming inn.

Read more: Visit The Christmas House and share the Spirit of Christmas

Victoria Palms Giving Tree helps foster care children

21081212 Victoria Palms Giving Tree PR 1When Chris O'Loughlin, pastor of Cowboy Church of the Valley, connected Jamie Graham with Lori Fanaselle, activity director at Victoria Palms RV and Resort in Donna, nobody had a clue as to the impact that connection would have on so many lives.

Jamie is a representative with Blue Sunday Child Abuse Prevention, an initiative that began in Harlingen and is now recognized annually the last Sunday in April at churches around the world. That is a day when churches take time in their service to pray for the victims of child abuse and for those who rescue them.

“We have a giving tree and Jamie came in last year and gave us 300 names of children who were in foster care and would need a Christmas gift,” Fanaselle said. “Kids in foster care deserve to be happy. Their days are filled with the unknown.”

Read more: Victoria Palms Giving Tree helps foster care children

It’s Doughnut Day at Bentsen Grove Resort

21081212 BentsenGroveDonuts Miller 2924It’s 6:37 a.m. and from beyond the entrance gate to Bentsen Grove Resort, the faint smell of something wonderful wafts through the darkness.

A few cars are lined up in front of that gate, patiently waiting for 7 a.m. to arrive and the gate to open to the outside world so they can be among the first to partake of the wonderful morsels that await the early birds.

Fortunately for those in the small but growing line, the wait was short. Someone – good Samaritan of sorts - exiting the park opened the gate to let the hungry ones in.

Read more: It’s Doughnut Day at Bentsen Grove Resort

Hidalgo Festival of Lights brings the ‘Holly Jolly’ to Christmas

21081212 FOL IMG 8792With cheerful and celebratory Christmas music like “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch”, “Jingle Bells” and “Jingle Bell Rock,” this year’s Hidalgo Festival of Lights is sure not to disappoint.

Each holiday season, the city of Hidalgo transforms their small border town to a fantasyland for their yearly event. The illuminated event kicked off on November 30 with their 28th annual parade and lighting show and will continue through the rest of the month.

Hidalgo, which sits along the Rio Grande River, converts the city square and local city parks to bring the public eye-catching, dazzling lighted display after display – all throughout the neighboring area, making it a night to remember with plenty of ooh’s and aah’s to get into the holiday spirit.

Read more: Hidalgo Festival of Lights brings the ‘Holly Jolly’ to Christmas

Last chance to see ‘Mamma Mia’

20181128 VMHS Mamma Mia JB 22The Harlequin Club at Veterans Memorial High School has been rehearsing for months to bring another award-winning performance to the stage in Mission as they perform the final shows of this year’s musical “Mamma Mia.”

The final show dates for this year’s production are Dec. 6, 7 and 8 at the Veterans Memorial High School Performing Arts Center. Showtimes are 7 p.m., nightly, and doors open at 6:30 p.m.

This lighthearted musical and dance showcase ” has delighted audiences worldwide and has been a fan favorite on Broadway for 14 years.

Read more: Last chance to see ‘Mamma Mia’

Children’s Haven International brings hope to children in need

20181205 Childrens Haven Intl Moering 1022The words “Having somewhere to go is home; having someone to love is family,” symbolizes the ministry of Children’s Haven International (CHI), a Pharr-based non-profit organization dedicated to providing loving Christian care for needy children in Reynosa, Mexico.

Winter Texans and converted Texans have a crucial hand in making it possible for CHI to operate one of Reynosa’s oldest and largest children’s homes, along with a school that embraces the surrounding community.

Read more: Children’s Haven International brings hope to children in need

Museum invites entries for 13th Annual Mission Quilt Show

20180201 RGV Quilt Guild BestOfShow Ben004Mission Historical Museum will be accepting entries beginning Nov. 27 for the 13th Annual Mission Quilt Show. Entries will be accepted in three categories: Hand-quilted bed quilts; Machine-quilted bed quilts; and Wall hangings. The show is open to all quilters, both Winter Texans and year-round residents.

Quilts and wall hangings exhibit must be ready to hang with a sleeve for display purposes.

Read more: Museum invites entries for 13th Annual Mission Quilt Show

McAllen Wind Ensemble Stole Christmas concert planned

201081205 McAllen Wind EnsembleIt wasn’t the Grinch who stole Christmas after all – it was the McAllen Wind Ensemble – and at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 14 they will retell the story with their musical performance “How the McAllen Wind Ensemble Stole Christmas” at the McAllen Performing Arts Center. The concert will feature beautiful Christmas music from all genres to put the audience in the holiday mood.

As the title suggests, expect to hear some “Grinch-iness” sneak into the program. The Rio Grande Valley Children’s Chorus will assist the ensemble as a special guest artist.

Read more: McAllen Wind Ensemble Stole Christmas concert planned

Harlingen museum plans Christmas Tree Extravaganza

20171213 Harlingen Museum Christmas Trees GU IMG 1313Harlingen Arts and Heritage Museum will host the Christmas Tree Extravaganza and Exhibit Dec. 6-30.

The public is welcome to come visit and view the wonderful variety of Christmas trees and wreaths decorated by different South Texas organizations. Dozens of trees will be decorated in all shapes and sizes. Many of the wreaths are made by hand and have personal touches.

Read more: Harlingen museum plans Christmas Tree Extravaganza

Valley Museums Celebrate Christmas

We don’t have snow, but the “cool weather” has arrived, helping folks catch the spirit of the Christmas season. There are plenty of ways to celebrate the season and many of the Valley’s museums have created ways for schools and community organizations to display their Christmas traditions. Here is a look at some of thing things local museums will be doing to help their patrons enjoy the holidays.

Alamo Museum

Anyone who loves angles will want to visit the Alamo Museum, located at 130 S. 8th Street. They have a display of over 1800 angels in all sizes and shapes on display along with a Christmas tree decorated with angels. The museum is open 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and 1p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday. Donations accepted. For more information fall (956) 961-4398 or

Read more: Valley Museums Celebrate Christmas

Wild by Nature - November 28, 2018

20181128 Wild byNature RoadsideHawk LEG2908Birding has undergone many changes over the years. The fact that it’s now called birding, as opposed to birdwatching, is one of the most obvious changes. However, a change that has had a much more significant impact on the hobby is the ability of birders to share their sightings with other birders online.

Read more: Wild by Nature - November 28, 2018

Brownsville Holiday Village lights up the season

20181128 BrownsvilleHolidayVillage 5149The Holiday Village in Brownsville just keeps growing and getting better and better each year. As the village opened – lights on for their ninth season – Bean Ayala, the emcee, announced there are 33 cottages on display this year – more than ever.

The village is open daily, now through January 1. Admission is free. While the village is open during the day, the lights come on at 6 p.m., so for the best enjoyment of the cheerfully decorated – and lighted – cottages come by after 6 p.m. Food, drink and craft vendors will be at the village every weekend, and some week nights. Entertainers will also be performing in the pavilion throughout the holiday season.

Read more: Brownsville Holiday Village lights up the season

RGV Concert Band to perform Christmas concert

20181128 RGV Concert Band HM 2639The Rio Grande Valley Concert Band performed its first concert at Fiesta Village in Mission on Feb. 15, 1998. They booked a few more that year after that one.

Twenty-one years later, the RGV Band, mostly made up of Winter Texans – and with a few musicians still from that original group – is preserving and performing “lovely music,” as one review about that band stated.

Since those first days, the group has grown – there have been as many as 65 musicians, and membership has stayed steady at about 60 for the past few years. While not all of the band’s members have made it to the Valley from their northern homes, the ones already here are moving full speed ahead in preparation for their annual Christmas concert at 3 p.m., Dec. 9 at Our Savior Lutheran Church, located at 1105 W. Fern Ave., in McAllen.

Read more: RGV Concert Band to perform Christmas concert

Museum of South Texas History tells story of RGV

20181128 MOSTH Edinburg GU 9514“One of the best ways for new Winter Texans to learn about the area where they are wintering is to make a visit to the Museum of South Texas History in Edinburg,” said museum Executive Director Shan Rankin.

The museum chronicles the Valley’s history from prehistoric times when the Mosasaurus (a sea dinosaur that inhabited the area now known as the Rio Grande Valley when it was under the ocean). In a later period, giant mammoths roamed the area after the land rose out of the water to become vast prairies. Come to the museum to find out where the mammoth bones for the museum’s mammoth exhibit were discovered.

Read more: Museum of South Texas History tells story of RGV

Snow to Sun hosts annual drive to benefit Rainbow Room

20181128 Snow to Sun Rainbow Rm HM 2616A look around the tiny room speaks volumes. There’s baby food and diapers, backpacks and school supplies, clothing and bathing necessities. Everything is neatly organized to grab in a moment’s notice. There are also toys, stuffed animals and comfort items.

Comfort is what’s needed most when walking into this room.

These items are here for when a child is taken from his or her home and to safety by Child Protective Services. This is the Rainbow Room and for many children, it is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Read more: Snow to Sun hosts annual drive to benefit Rainbow Room

Salvation Army seeks volunteer, donations for needy

When it comes to helping others, the Salvation Army shines at what it does year-round.

But its brilliance truly comes during the Holidays, with Thanksgiving and Christmas as the brightest moments.

It’s during this season that the charitable organization shows what it means to put others first. It couldn’t do that, however, without its army of donors and volunteers, who keep the Salvation Army self-sustaining and help give so many in need hope and encouragement with something as simple, and valuable, as a meal, a blanket or a warm place to drop their head for some peaceful rest.

Already underway for the Salvation Army is the Angel Tree program that identifies children living in poverty and creates tags in the shape of angels with their wishes for Christmas. The public is invited to be donors who help bring a little joy to these children by “adopting” a child by purchasing at least one gift from the child’s wish list.

Read more: Salvation Army seeks volunteer, donations for needy

Trophy Gardens embraces holiday giving

20181121 Trophy Gardens Caring 5328When the 9-year-old girl was told that the bicycle she was looking at now belonged to her, it didn’t register at first. But then the message became clear, the first tear of disbelief and joy appeared as she cried. It seems that people who come in touch with those at Trophy Gardens oftentimes have similar reactions of joy.

“She never dreamed she would have a bicycle,” said Janice Tepp of Trophy Gardens RV Resort in Alamo. “We always tend to think every boy has a bike or a ball and every girl has a bike or a doll. That’s not always the case.”

With the holiday season here, Trophy Gardens is one of many Winter Texan resorts that are have a caring tradition of giving; they even have a group called Caring For Others, an outreach program at the park. Giving is a year-round event for those at this resort, and it gets ramped up as holiday time approaches, from blankets to food to toys and quillows, someone’s day is getting brighter on a regular basis, thanks to the residents at Trophy Gardens.

Read more: Trophy Gardens embraces holiday giving

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