Tuesday, June 18, 2019
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20190327 TouristDay IMG 6995Winter Texans have good time in Nuevo Progreso

Thousands of Winter Texans poured across the Mexican border into the little border town of Nuevo Progreso, located just south of Weslaco, Texas, for the annual Winter Tourist Appreciation Day or Dia del Turista. The large parking lots on the U.S. side of the international bridge accommodated hundreds of cars, as most Winter Texans parked their cars on the U.S. side and walked the short distance across the bridge to the fiesta immediately on the other side.

Winter tourists filled the streets as they enjoyed band parades, two main stages with performances by mariachi groups and folklorico dancers, and street performers providing entertainment. The tourists were greeted with warm welcomes as this friendly little border town, famous for its hospitality, safety and easy access, rolled out the red carpet in appreciation.

20190327 TouristDay IMG 6611City officials and dignitaries from both sides of the border came out for the event to underscore the importance of tourism for the entire region. Many from the U.S. come to this small town, whose streets are lined with dentists’ offices, pharmacies and shops, to get dental work done, buy prescription drugs and purchase liquor and other items at prices much lower than in the U.S.

As tourists walked across the international bridge, Steve Sellnow and Connie Henry, of St. Cloud, Minn., stopped for a photograph at the international boundary line at the middle of the bridge. They are enjoying their first winter here in the Rio Grande Valley, and Steve explained what brought him to the Valley.

“I had friends I knew who stayed here and they had stayed in Arizona and Florida and came back here because the accommodations are nice, it’s a little more reasonably priced and friendly people.”

20190327 TouristDay IMG 6609He said he is renting a place this year in Paradise Park in McAllen that he has enjoyed.

“This is our first year... and it’s been really nice. Friendly people – the park we are in are just really nice people. It feels like we’re going to come back to this area for sure. Probably at Paradise Park next year.”

Betty Vermeer, of Nebraska, like many other Winter Texans, came out to this year’s Winter Tourist Day celebration with a bunch of friends.

“We’ve got a carload here today – actually two carloads,” she explained, as she was clearly enjoying the event. “This is my sixth fiesta (at Progreso) – I love it – the music, the dancing, the kids performing – once in a while a free margarita,” she chuckled.

20190327 TouristDay IMG 7080She said she comes to Nuevo Progreso at least once a month, “to go shopping, eat out. It’s a fun time.”

Larry and Ann McGuire, of Chester, Ill. and Tradewinds Resort in Mission, were enjoying the fiesta as they checked out the many vendors and shops with friends Richard and Julie Houck . Larry said, besides all the entertainment and eating at the Mexican restaurants in Progreso, “We enjoy coming for the camaraderie.”

“And we enjoy the bands marching through,” Ann added, referring to the parades held that day in Progreso.

When asked what he enjoyed about coming down to the Rio Grande Valley, Richard, who is from Cromwell, Minn., said, “We’re having a great time down here. We love the Valley; it’s better than shoveling snow!” Besides the warm weather, Richard said they also enjoy the fruit (citrus), the friendly people, and the music.

20190327 TouristDay IMG 7191“We love the music; my wife plays in a couple of the jams, and the people are really friendly down here. We really enjoy the people down here. And everything is so convenient and handy. Restaurants – man I love the restaurants,” he said.

Susan Thompson, of Winnepeg, Manitoba, Canada, was effusive about how friendly the people are in South Texas. This is her first winter in the Rio Grande Valley and she was truly delighted at how welcoming the people are. “Here no matter where you go, people want to help you have a good time, and they appreciate you! It’s amazing! “This is our first time ever [coming to the Valley] and within two weeks we found a place to buy and live in. We’ll be back every year!” she said happily.

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