Thursday, June 21, 2018
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20180329 Progreso Winter Tourist Appreciation Day MOERING DSC 0431

Jim and Roberta Swenson and Judy and Jerry Freitag are couples from the same city in Minnesota and came to enjoy the Winter Tourist Appreciation Day in Progreso, Mexico on March 21.

Winter Texans were the toast of Nuevo Progreso during the 42nd annual Winter Tourist Appreciation Day on March 21.
The appreciation offered by Progreso officials included the selection of a king and queen for the event, Bob and Jody Ferns, who spend the winter season at Siesta Village in Weslaco. The couple was given a pair of Mexican sombreros for crowns along with a sash each proclaiming them the 2018 Winter Texan King and Queen. A plaque and other gifts were presented along with a large bouquet of roses for Jody.

20180329 Progreso Winter Tourist Appreciation Day MOERING DSC 0450Winter Texan friends from Tropic Winds Resort in Harlingen came for the Nuevo Progreso's Tourist Appreciation Day. Enjoying some beverages are (from left) George Mueller, Loren and Mary Voecks, Rocky Semmelrock and Bill Galliher.

The Ferns said they were surprised by their selection. They learned they had been recommended by their dentist in Progreso. The couple had been going to the border city every year since arriving in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) in 2004.

The mayor of Nuevo Progreso spoke along with several visiting dignitaries from Texas cities, citing their common interests. A bridge parade had been staged earlier in the morning, marking the commonalty found on both sides of the border.

With the opening ceremonies completed, the cry was “let’s party!” And for this huge crowd of Winter Texans that’s exactly what they seemed to find enjoyable.

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Bob and Jody Ferns received sombreros and sashes from the mayor of Nuevo Progreso after being named 2018 King and Queen of the Mexican city's Winter Tourist Appreciation Day on March 21.

Yvonne Thomas, from Minnesota, and Char Salewske, of Iowa, who are both at Tip-O-Texas RV Resort in Pharr, looked to be enjoying the party atmosphere, both wearing flower head wreaths. Thomas, who has been coming to the RGV for six years, likes the peanuts and margaritas at the appreciation day, which she has attended several times. Her best friend, Salewske, mentioned how easy it is to make friends. She and Thomas met at a dance with their husbands.

They both find people really friendly, more than other places in the country where they have stayed. It’s also much less expensive to live in the Valley, they agreed. And there are plenty of activities for meeting people, including the dancing.

Jim and Roberta Swenson, from Minnesota, have been coming to the Valley for 15 years. Jim recounted, “We found it nice on our first visit and said maybe we should buy a place. Two weeks later we had a place.” They live at Siesta Village in Weslaco, down the street from Progreso’s newly crowned king and queen.

They enjoy watching people and the “free stuff” at the event. That is similar to the tastes of their friends Jerry and Judy Freitag, also from the same city in Minnesota, who have been in the Valley for 14 years and stay at Country Sunshine Park in Weslaco. They like the friendly people, plus the great winter weather.

20180329 Progreso Winter Tourist Appreciation Day MOERING DSC 0433

Yvonne Thomas (left) and Char Salewske, from Tip-O-Texas RV Resort in Pharr picked up flower head wreaths to add to the fun of Winter Tourist Day in Progreso, Mexico March 21.

Music is the life of most parties and there was plenty of it at appreciation day. That is what led to the friendship of Judy Minden, of Kansas, and Keith Churchill, of Illinois. The pair who stay at Lamplighter MH & RV Subdivision in Palmview, are involved in the various music jams around the area. Minden plays mandolin and guitar and Churchill is on the keyboard.

Churchill, who has been in the RGV 20 years, loves music and likes it here. Minden, who says she is “a people watcher,” likes the weather and making friends. In the Valley, she can count on music, friends and sunshine. “One of the three is always available.”

Five friends from Tropic Winds Resort in Harlingen, sat around a small table enjoying beverages on the blocked off main street of Progreso and sort of people watching. That included lots of color as entertainers moved past in the crowds toward the stage area, where they performed during much of the day.

George Mueller, who spends summers in both Missouri and Wyoming, has been coming to the RGV for 18 years. He likes seeing people.

Loren and Mary Voecks, from Minnesota have been in the Valley for 10 seasons. They said they enjoy the RGV area, its people and the weather.
Rocky Semmelrock, from Connecticut, has visited for the past eight years. He too likes people and the warm winter weather.
Bill Galliher, from Minnesota, is in his fifth year of coming down. He loves the sun, he said.
From the comments, it appears Winter Texans find the RGV a great place to spend the winter, where the sun beams brightly much of the time, the breezes are usually cooling, it’s easy to meet someone and lots and lots of the merchants and visitors are friendly folk.

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