The City of Pharr has seen a lot of growth and revitalization in recent years. As seen in other downtown areas I have been in this season, Pharr’s downtown is welcoming and features its history. Its historic buildings add to the character while newer buildings are revitalizing the area and making room for more commerce and entertainment. If you travel the Valley along Business 83, you will likely see the epicenter of each of the Valley’s cities.
If you drive around the City of Mission you might notice something a little special. Every once in a while, you might just see a beautiful butterfly sculpture. Being home to the National Butterfly Center, it just seemed fitting for there to be butterflies of giant size around town to celebrate. These butterflies represent some of the 200 or more species that can be found in the area.
The city-block complex of the Museum of South Texas History (MOSTH) was once housed in the 1910 Jail, an artifact that has captured the attention and curiosity of the community. The jail, which was closed between 2012 and 2020, is the oldest standing historic structure in the city of Edinburg. It will open sometime in 2021 with all-new permanent and temporary exhibits. Hear more about the renovation of the building and installation of the exhibits during the Sunday Speaker Series Online presentation, “The 1910 Jail: Behind the Scenes,” at 2 p.m. on January 24 on Facebook Live.
Mission Historical Museum will host their 15th Annual Mission Quilt Show online this year. The exhibit opened on Monday, January 18 and is available for viewing until January 29th.
UTRGV Patron of the Arts has several performances planned this season. The performances are held virtually. They also have a YouTube channel to view previous shows.
Their first performance available online is a tribute by the UTRGV Mariachi Program to one of the most popular Mexican actors and ranchera singers of all time, Pedro Infante.
Pedro Infante, a star during the golden age of Mexican cinema, is an icon of Latin America who appeared in about 60 films and recorded over 350 songs.
The City of McAllen has once again partnered with the Juneteenth community leaders, this time, to participate in a month-long list of activities in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. They started celebration on Monday, January 18, and are continuing through Black History Month.
“Martin Luther King, Jr. was truly an inspirational man,” said McAllen Mayor Jim Darling. “In light of recent events, the celebration of MLK’s non-violent methods of protest are more important than ever, as is this quote by him: ‘We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.’”
This year’s observation will feature events throughout the Rio Grande Valley, celebrating the theme “Building a Stronger CommUNITY Through Service.”
According to Dr. Ray Howard, one of the organizing members of the celebration, the activities will focus on the historical roots of the African-American community in the Rio Grande Valley, the cultural contributions throughout the country, as well as examining the political impact of MLK and its relevance today.
The Texas Master Gardener Volunteer Training application deadline is today. The classes will be presented by the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension and will be a combination of online and in person training.
This class series is for those who want to volunteer for the Texas AgriLIFE County Extension Service. Master Gardeners provide educational programs for community groups and schools regarding horticulture. They are also involved in plant research and provide educational booths at festivals & events. Classes are typically held annually.
Oh boy, it has gotten busy around here.
Last week I was able to attend the first Entertainers Showcase and was impressed with the new talent that is ready to entertain. Jamie Layton, Todd and the Two-Tars, Larry’s Little Brothers, Lasting Impressions, and Johnny Moroko were some of the new ones for me to see and hear. Some of the regulars that we all love performed as well – Rick McEwen, Helen Russell & Co., Diego & Edith, The Piano Man, Festus, Kai, Redneck Revival and Mario.
I am looking forward to this week’s showcase to see some more great entertainment. I tell ya, there are some great Wintertainers™ that just love to come down here and play for you all. It makes me kind of jealous that I do not get to enjoy these privileges. Hopefully next year we can get out more and enjoy more shows together.
It has been fun to work on these Valley city history stories for the paper this year. I hope to continue next season with some of the smaller, less visited cities. It has been rewarding to drive through the cities and see things I have not seen before, or haven’t paid attention to on a previous visit.
Take Pharr… I think the last time I had been in that downtown area was in 1992 – And a LOT has changed since then. I remember going to the El Centro Mall with my parents back in the mid 80’s when Montgomery Wards was there and hanging out with friends there nearly 15 or so years ago to go dancing or see a movie.
Pharr has revitalized that mall/shopping area to something people want to go now. There is something there for everyone.
There were buildings downtown that I wish I knew more about – like the Texan Hotel and a building that looks like it may have been an old theater.
I still have a few more cities planned before the season is over and look forward to finding more treasures that we might not always see.
While McAllen has seen a growth in business in the last 20 years, it has also seen a growth in what it offers for outdoor activities.
The entire Rio Grande Valley is a huge birding hub. McAllen has not been left out in the birding area. McAllen features one of the World Birding Center’s at its historic Quinta Mazatlán.
The Texas Citrus Fiesta (TCF) will host their annual Product Costume Show this week, Saturday, January 16. The event will be held at the Mission Event Center, 2425 Ruby Red Blvd., from 1 to 4:30 p.m.
Each year, the Fiesta chooses a theme that participants carry on in their costumes. This year’s theme is Let Your Dream Blossom. Participants then walk the runway showing off their handmade creations.
Texas Citrus Fiesta has their schedule for this year’s events up and is ready to put on a show this year. They do have a stipulation that the schedule is subject to change, so please visit their website or call if you have an questions.
Learn to draw with IMAS. Learn sketching techniques as they demonstrate how to quickly draw images from real life. This kit includes a sketchbook, sketching pencil set, and sharpener all in a travel case. The program is recommended for ages 12 and up. The Workshop will be held online on Wednesday, January 20 from 3 to 4 p.m.
Tune in every third Wednesday of the month for a new art workshop that you can follow along with at home. A limited number of supply kits are available each month for registration. Kits are picked up at the museum via curbside delivery.
Visit theimasonline.org and go to the Explore tab to register. Kit pickup is every Saturday prior to workshop from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 5 p.m.
Share your work with IMAS using #IMASArtist and #ExploreIMAS for a chance to be featured on IMAS social media.
Previous workshops are available for viewing.
The International Museum of Arts and Sciences is open and has several exhibits on display and programs taking place. The IMAS galleries are open weekly Wednesday through Saturday with modified hours and scheduled admission tickets. Currently admission is $1 for guests four and up, and IMAS members and children under four receive free admission. Visit theimasonline.org for the most up to date visitor information. IMAS is located at 1900 W. Nolana Ave in McAllen.
There is a whole lot of feathered fun happening on January 23rd at Quinta Mazatlan. The Center for Urban Ecology is hosting the first Hobbies in Nature session of 2021, “Begin to Birdwatch”. The one-hour program invites guests into the world of birds, where they will be amazed by the beautiful colors, fascinating behaviors, and incredible diversity of birds found all around us.
Wild Bees, an exhibition showcasing the works of Paula Sharp and Ross Eatman, is a collection of stunning macro photographs depicting the world of America’s native bees. The exhibit is on a national tour of prominent museums, botanical gardens, and galleries. Originally set to end in October, the exhibit is still buzzing through February 7 at IMAS.
January 5 celebrated National Bird Day. The International Museum of Arts and Sciences had presented a lesson on creating your own backyard bird log on their website. Just because the day has past, does not mean you still cannot make one. The information is still on their website and available any time.
In 2002, Born Free USA, a non-profit focused on wildlife conservation, activism, and education, in collaboration with the Avian Welfare Coalition, launched the first annual National Bird Day to promote awareness of birds every January 5th. Many nature and bird lovers observe National Bird Day.
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