Wednesday, March 20, 2019
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Winter Texans join Alamo Chamber Toy Drive

20181219 Alamo Chamber Toy Drive Moering RoyalPalms 1094It’s going to be a bit merrier this Christmas for a lot of elementary school children in Alamo thanks to a community effort organized by the Alamo Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center.

This annual toy drive event draws in Winter Texans from several parks, local businesses and some City of Alamo departments, according to Ana Cano, chamber office manager. Hundreds of toys are being gathered for distribution to six local elementary schools, Zeferino Farias, Santos Livas, Maria R. Garza, John McKeever, Captain D. Salinas and Augusto Guerra Elementary schools.

Read more: Winter Texans join Alamo Chamber Toy Drive

McAllen Holiday Parade, bigger and better than ever

The city of McAllen hosted the Rio Grande Valley’s most spectacular Christmas parade in early December, and members from the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard were happy to be away from the snow and cold of Washington, D.C. Anthony Gonzalez, the voice of the animated star Coco, was excited to visit a city “that shows so much excitement and patriotism.” And as for 6-year-old Brianna Ochoa, she just couldn't wait to see Santa Claus.

Celebrities, officials, athletes and all who attended talked about the fun and excitement that is the McAllen Holiday Parade. Nothing more than an idea a few years ago, the parade, carnival, and entertainment event has become an extravaganza and has brought with it plenty of excitement to usher in the Christmas season.

Read more: McAllen Holiday Parade, bigger and better than ever

Mission Historical Museum accepting entries for ‘Turning of the Quilts’

Mission Historical Museum is accepting entries for its “Turning of the Quilts” program to be offered Jan. 18. The museum is looking for antique, vintage, or just plain interesting quilts for this program. The quilts are presented stacked on a bed. As each quilt is shown, it is turned down to reveal the next quilt, until all have been presented. A knowledgeable presenter will talk about each quilt as it is shown.

The museum will be accepting vintage quilts through Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019. Quilts can be brought in Mondays through Fridays from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Please provide as much information as you can about your quilt, such as who made it, how old is it, how you got it, etc. Viewers would also be interested in any stories associated with the quilt. All quilts will be handled by trained and knowledgeable individuals. You may bring more than one.

Read more: Mission Historical Museum accepting entries for ‘Turning of the Quilts’

Ranchero Village enjoys sharing with local school children

20181212 Ranchero Village Pageant PR 5109Christmas is best when it's shared with others. There’s a lot of sharing at Ranchero Village Resort in Weslaco.

For the past five years, children from both Margo and Memorial elementary schools have performed a Christmas show for the residents of Ranchero as a way of showing their appreciation for all that the residents do for the children – both at Christmas and throughout the year.
“I don't know exactly how it started,” said Jan Murphy, a Ranchero Village resident for the past 17 years and native of Grand Rapids, Mich. “I remember talking to someone and seeing the kids perform at school and asked if they would take kids to the park and one thing led to another and there it is. Now they come and we have so much fun. After all, we are away from all our grandkids.”

Read more: Ranchero Village enjoys sharing with local school children

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

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