Tuesday, February 19, 2019
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20190116 AllValleyRV 03Visitors to the 2019 All Valley RV and Outdoor Show got a glimpse of much more than posh park models and travel trailers. The three day event, held at the Mercedes Livestock Showgrounds, was a window to the recreational adventures of the RGV’s Winter Texan community.

Marie A. Howard, who manages Magic Valley RV Park in Weslaco, notes that many of the attendees showed up specifically for the vending tables, which this year included gourmet cookware as well as therapeutic jewelry, and even information on pinhole dentistry. “They do shop, and they do look at the new RVs,” says Howard, explaining that “we have vendors with all kinds of supplies and things and information on lots of parks from all over the Valley.”

In her 13th year working with the RV show, Howard has seen the annual event bring in as many as 8,000 people.

According to Betty Corcoran, a vendor who sells custom made necklaces and bracelets, the crowds coming for the vending booths were increasing. “More and more people are here and that is a good thing,” she says.

20190116 AllValleyRV 02Corcoran, a Minnesotan who has been involved with the event for three years now, describes the weather of the Valley as its major draw. “I come for the winter,” she says, adding: “I mean compared to Minnesota at this time of year. Like the other day it was 20 below zero compared to 70 degrees.” A happy resident of the Fig Tree RV Resort in Harlingen, Corcoran, beams about the entertainment she engages in as a Winter Texan. “We have activities every day. I love to play cards and that kind of stuff so every evening I go out for a couple of hours.” Corcoran believes that the warmth of the Valley is therapeutic and helps Winter Texans with aches and pains. She also loves the border culture and travels to Mexico, feeling “totally safe.”

Joe Diaz, the owner of RV Station, blames sensational news for any trepidation experienced by winter tourists regarding the Valley. “So the perception has actually got out of whack,” says Diaz. “It’s not what people think it is with the news and TV and all that stuff.”

Diaz, who has been selling RVs for 25 years, stresses the affordability and easy living of the Rio Grande Valley as major selling points. “Economically, compared to Florida, compared to Arizona, you get a lot more bang for your buck, and it’s a lot more tranquil than people think,” he says. “You have to go to Panama City, Florida, to get the same kind of weather and that is a lot more expensive,” says Diaz. Taking into account the fair weather, the affordability and the friendliness of the RGV locals, Diaz considers the Rio Grande Valley to be “a gem.”

20190116 AllValleyRV 01Terry Romanchuk, who hails from Canada, spends nearly half of his year as a Winter Texan, and considers the Valley his second home. “This is our ninth year in Texas and -- Love it! Texas people are good to us. I mean you feel like you’re welcomed, and you are welcomed,” he says.

The respect between winter visitor and Valley merchant is evident at the All Valley RV and Outdoor Show.

Albert Cavazos of Al’s Jerky has had a booth at the show for five years and describes Winter Texans as “great customers” whose positive effect in the area has been much more than monetary. “I think they bring a lot to the Valley, not only financially, not only just a boost to the economy,” he says.

Cavazos is impressed and moved by the spirit of volunteerism he sees coming from Winter Texans who work hours at hospitals and lend their time to local charities. “I don’t think the Valley would be able to accomplish as much as it does if not for what they do,” he says.

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