Tuesday, February 18, 2020
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Quinta Mazatlan preparing for Illumina Fest

Quinta Mazatlan is preparing for their First Annual Illumina Fest that will be held on December 13 and 14, from 7 to 10 p.m. Thousands of luminaries will line the forest path. The two-night event is an interactive global celebration of light, recognizing a world of holidays.

The interactive festival will feature the amazing Media Artist Joel Laviolette of Austin, Flowbotic-LED & Fire Dancers of San Antonio, as well as many local community choirs and instrumentalists.

In addition to visits with Santa Claus, attendees will travel the trails and get a glimpse of how the world celebrates with light across the seven continents. From Africa’s Kwanzaa candelabra to Asia’s lanterns in the water. Food and drinks will be available for sale by local vendors.

If you are interested in learning about sponsorship opportunities for Illumina Fest, contact Colleen Hook at (956) 681-3370 or chook@mcallen.net. Advanced tickets sales will be available. Both presale and onsite ticket purchases will be available at $5 per person. For more information about the fest visit www.quintamazatlan.com.

Nostalgic Christmas Tree Forest, Annual Tradition at IMAS

20191127 imas christmas tree 01The halls of the International Museum of Art & Science (IMAS) are heavy with anticipation for the annual exhibition of community-decorated Christmas trees. The Christmas Tree Forest is a five-decade tradition originating shortly after the opening of the 53-year-old museum, then the McAllen International Museum or MIM. This annual holiday event is the brainchild of the IMAS Guild which began the tradition of organizing community entries featuring a unique tree resplendent with hand-made ornaments and decorations showcasing the chosen theme.

As a nod to the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Lunar landing and the popularity of the Space Age, this year’s theme is Nostalgic Christmas of the 60s and 70s. Entering school and community groups are encouraged to incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Science (STEAM) along with a spirit of goodwill. Trees will be decorated in the days leading up to the November 24th opening. The public is invited to attend the awards ceremony on December 8, at 2 p.m. when the IMAS Guild with the help of a celebrity panel of judges this year – Dora Brown, Senior Vice President and Marketing Manager of IBC Bank; Albert Alaniz, Owner of JohnAlbert Talent and Models Agency and A JohnAlbert Salon; and Charles E. Thompson, Jr., long-time museum supporter – will announce the winning trees. This esteemed panel are all McAllen citizens with a heart for the community.

“As a community-created museum, IMAS is honored to partner with community groups in presenting the traditions and cultures of the people in the RGV,” said Ann Fortescue, IMAS Executive Director. “Museums have important roles in their communities to serve as crossroads of discovery where audiences of all ages are invited and encouraged to learn through museum experiences.”

Community engagement is year-round at the IMAS. Student art exhibitions from both McAllen ISD and Sharyland ISD are featured annually in the Welcome Pavilion. This year, the UTRGV philosophy department is presenting a series of community talks at the museum exploring the connections between art and science. Cultural festivals and events are presented in collaboration with community organizations and groups. The exhibition of community-created Dia de los Muertos altars anchor the annual celebration of this popular event, and Lunar New Year engages Asian communities in the RGV who come together to share their cultural traditions of welcoming in a New Year. Lunar New Year will be celebrated at the IMAS on Saturday, February 8, 2020.

The Christmas Tree Forest will be on exhibit November 24, through January 4, 2020, in the Welcome Pavilion of the IMAS and is included with daily General Admission. Sunday admission is free thanks to the support of a grant from the H-E-B Tournament of Champions.

The museum is located at the intersection of Bicentennial Way and Nolana Avenue at 1900 W. Nolana in McAllen, Texas. Hours of operation are closed Mondays; Tuesday to Thursday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. On the first Thursday of each month, IMAS is open until 8 p.m. Log onto https://www.theimasonline.org or call (956) 681-2800 for more information.

Weslaco celebrates 100 years

20191127 welaco 100 01Standing tall in downtown Weslaco is a 100-foot-tall water tower, El Tinaco. Completed in 1941, it was a marvel of modern construction. The tower, standing on six concrete pillars, is crowned in gemstone lights, showing the pride of Weslaco. In 1982, the Texas Historical Commission placed a marker on the tower, a testament of the heart of the community, says Mayor David Suarez. As tall as the tower stands, Weslaco is now prepared to celebrate their centennial on December 10 with events planned the entire week preceding the birthday.

A Little History

The history of the city goes back to 1790, to the original land grant owner Juan Jose Ynojosa de Balli. At his death, the land was divided between his children. The land that is now Weslaco went to his daughters Manuela and Maria. The family maintained and ranched the land until 1852. By 1904, the railway was extending to the area. Most of the land was purchased by the American Rio Grande Land and Irrigation Company by 1913.

The irrigation company sold 30,000 acres at $90 an acre to the W.E. Stewart Land Company on December 14, 1917. Here is where the name WESLaCo derived. The town site was then sold to Ed C. Couch, Dan R. Couch, R.C. Couch and R.L. Reeves. Two of the men backed out of the venture before it was platted on September 18, 1919. Nearby communities actually circulated flyers discouraging settlement at the proposed town. The sale of lots was held on December 10, 1919.

How was the land sold? Prices ranged from $50 to $400 per lot. If you were interested in a lot, all you had to do was camp out on it until the day of sale. Church groups received free lots. During the sale, three cars were also given away.

And so, the City of Weslaco began. Today, Weslaco is a city with a population with its own government, police and fire department, parks, schools and commercial endeavors. It is a city of diverse people and strong service, charitable and civic organizations.

Now the city is inviting the Valley to help them celebrate their 100 years.

Events

The city has a huge lineup of events planned from December 4-10. The events include a Pioneer Families Exhibit at the museum, guided tours, entertainment, a BBQ cook off, and so much more. Christmas events will also be held during the week including their tree lighting ceremony on December 4 at Weslaco City Hall at 7 p.m.; Carolers and a book reading by Mrs. Clauson 

Entertainment

Saturday, December 7 and 8, 12 to 4 p.m., at the Weslaco Museum; a Christmas Carol Sing-Along on Sunday; and a Christmas Tree Forest at the Performing Arts Center on December 9 and 10.20191127 weslaco 100 03

Entertainment at the event features Ruthi, Jeff Gordon, Legendzz Band and Chris Marshall.

Jeff Gordon is a charismatic entertainer who captivates audiences with his vocal ability singing rock n’ roll and country spanning from 1950-1980. He is also known for his Tom Jones and Elvis impersonation shows. He will be performing on Saturday, December 7, from 2 to 5 p.m.

Ruthi is an award-winning singer/songwriter who has been well known to the Valley for over 10 years. Ruthi’s Rock-n-Country offers upbeat country and rock, killer slow songs and blues. She performs from 12 to 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 7.

Legendzz Band is one of the hottest variety bands in the Rio Grande Valley. The play a wide array of hits from the most popular genres of music. They perform from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, December 8.

Chris Marshall has lit up stages and studios since 2002 with his signature guitar-work, lyrics, and vocals. He performs classic country and rock. He performs on Sunday, December 8 from 4-6 p.m.

Also, on the entertainment lineup is Frankie Jr. y Grupo Caballero, who will bring their own version and spin on the style of Tejano and Conjunto. They perform 6 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, December 8.

SA Lights, a touring classic rock tribute act with a light show, will feature three tribute performances to Journey, The Eagles and Mana. They will also cover all genres of classic rock, Spanish rock and country rock. The band has opened for every headliner of the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo since 2013. The perform on Saturday, December 7, from 8 to 11 p.m.

Other entertainment will include a Street Dance Through the Years; poetry readings, a fashion show, documentary films, lectures, mariachis, and magician Oscar Munoz.

Parades

A Weslaco Centennial Christmas Parade will be held on Texas Blvd. from Pike to 6th St. on December 7 at 10 a.m. The parade will feature highlights of Weslaco’s 100 years. Ce

lebrate Weslaco through the decades while watching the parade. Register with the chamber to participate.

Weslaco will also hold a costume parade on December 8 at 4 p.m. The parade will be held near the downtown fire station. A revived tradition, fun-loving families and individuals with people-friendly pets dressed in family-friendly costumes can join the walking parade. Pets are not required. Prizes will be awarded. Refer to the website for entry forms.

Cook Off

The weekend will feature an IBCA BBQ Cook Off on December 7 and 8. It will be held in downtown Weslaco at Kansas and Bus. 83. The cook off will be all about chicken, ribs and brisket. There will also be beans, fajitas and pan de campo.

For a full schedule of events and full details of dates and times, visit weslaco100.org.For more information on the cook off, and how to enter, call or text (956) 650-2842, or email Weslaco100@gmail.com. Entry forms can be found online at Weslaco.org.

Hidalgo Festival of Lights

20191127 hidalgo lights 01Festival of Lights opens December 1

The Hidalgo Festival of Lights has become a regular Christmas season must see. With the lighting of the tree, millions of Christmas lights, illuminated nighttime parade, trolley tours, dinner and entertainment, there is plenty to do and see for everyone. The festival officially begins with the lighting of the tree on Sunday, December 1 at 7 p.m. in the front of the Hidalgo City Hall, 704 E. Ramon Ayala Drive.

This year’s theme, announced earlier this month, is Winterland. The festivities will feature Anna and Elsa and other characters from the movie Frozen.

One of the main attractions, and part of their kickoff, is the illuminated nighttime parade. The parade welcomes its visitors with a colorful and Winterland themed parade in from of the City Hall at 7 p.m. on Friday, December 6. The parade will bring spectacular performances with illuminated floats, marching bands, performers from across the Valley, and of course, Santa. After the parade, visitors will be enjoy entertainment, food, photos with Santa and more.

The trolley tours, a favorite among visitors, begin on Sunday, December 1 and continue through December 30, from 6 to 10 p.m. Visitors will have a chance to tour the three miles of over 500 illuminated displays and over five million lights for $5. The tour also has a narrated guide with holiday music.

Every evening during the festival, except December 24 and 25, the carnival court will be open from 6 to 10 p.m. Visitors can enjoy carnival rides and delicious carnival food at City Hall Plaza.

Santa’s House will be open from December 1 through 23. Santa will be in town receiving children, and adults, for laughs and pictures. He will be at the City Hall Plaza from 6 to 10 p.m.

The Hidalgo Posada with Ramon Ayala is a long-standing tradition that the Rio Grande Valley looks forward to every year. The “King of the Accordion” and Latin Grammy Award Winner, Ramon Ayala, with the City of Hidalgo, hosts a free concert on Wednesday, December 18 at 5 p.m. The event has garnered over 50 thousand in attendance. The posada begins at 5 p.m. with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The event also celebrates the over 10,000 toys that have been donated by local businesses. The toys will go to low-income children in the area.

Another event you don’t want to miss, the Holiday Artisan Market where visitors can find beautiful, unique products made by local businesses and residents. The market will be at the City Hall Plaza from 6 to 10 p.m., December 1-30.

Sponsors this year include Coca-Cola and HEB. The sponsors will be holding their own special events during the month. Every Monday in December you can meet and take a picture with the Coca-Cola Polar Bear for free. HEB will have lots of surprises for attendees at City Hall Plaza Saturday, December 21, 6 to 10 p.m.

HEB will also have their Super Glide Synthetic Ice Rink available for guests from December 11-23, 6 to 10 p.m.

On December 5-8 and December 11-17, Hidalgo Festival of Lights will offer Dinner and Entertainment packages. The packages are $13 per person. Depending on the day, meals include sautéed chicken breast, Salisbury steak or roast beef entrees. The package also includes VIP seating for the community performance and the narrated train light tour. Dinner times are 5:15 and 6:15 p.m. Call (956) 843-5311 or email specialevetns@cityofhidalgo.net for reservations and more information.

Entertainment at the event includes schools, groups, city organizations such as school choirs, folkloricos, dance teams and more. Other entertainment includes Magic Valley Chorus of Sweet Adelines, rock band The Switch, character performance shows, and more.

Each night will feature talented performers. Also included in the entertainment, and what has become a tradition, is the famous Estudiantina de San Luis Potosi, who come from San Luis Potosi, Mexico to perform. They will be performing December 12-16.

Entertainment will be throughout the month at the city hall courtyard starting at 7 p.m.
For more information and a full schedule of events, visit their website online at hidalgofestivaloflights.com.

Toys for Tots collecting toys

This past week one of many Toys for Tots fundraising events were held outside of 5x5 Brewing. TNT Automotive sponsored the most recent event as well as Automotive Innovation Restoration, Brick Fire Pizza, Dairy Queen, Valley Street Scene, O’Reilly, DL Lighting and Audio, and Danny’s Tire and Service. There will be another event at 5x5 Brewing on Friday, December 29.

George Rice with 5x5 Brewing and Mitch Sens with Automotive Innovation and Restoration, both say they are just happy to be able to help out with the program. They said small events like these helps get people out to donate to such a worthy cause, the entertainment, car shows, drinks and other events are just a bonus, and tends to bring more people in.

5x5 Brewing will be hosting their Black Ops Friday on December 29 with another opportunity to participate in the toy drive. The event will also have Santa, games and entertainment.

If you can’t make it to the event, they will be collecting during their business hours. The Winter Texan Times office also has a donation box for those interested in dropping something off for the children in the Valley.

Black Ops Friday will begin at 6 p.m. 5x5 Brewing is located at 801 N. Bryan Road in Mission.

Toys for Tots is run by the United States Marines to collect toys, or monetary donations, to help less fortunate children have a happy Christmas. The organization asks families to apply for the toys in October. Collections start not too long after and continue through Christmas Day.

Marines and volunteers engage local businesses and individuals within the communities to help collect new, unwrapped toys and then help distribute those gifts to less fortunate children – allowing them to experience the joy of Christmas.

Now going on for 72 years, the organization has assisted 258 million children. Last year, the program fulfilled the holiday hopes and dreams of seven million children in over 800 communities nationwide. In Harlingen, and the Valley, the program brought smiling faces to nearly 31,000 children last year.

For more information about Toys for Tots visit toysfortots.org. You can also make monetary donations online. To get in touch with the local representative, call (956) 425-9643 or (760) 717-9555.

Veterans Day flight held on SPI

vets flyA Veterans Day Celebration over Boomerang Billy’s last Sunday, November 10, featured a two-plane formation flight by the Rio Grande Valley Wing of the Commemorative Air Force. The event was sponsored by Padre Island’s favorite performer, Leslie Blasing. The formation fly-over made several passes over the beachside entertainment spot.

Two passengers on the two-plane flight were Lynn Clasen and Marjorie Jacobs. The two women had participated in a fund raising drawing the previous evening. The prize was a flight over South Padre Island during Blasing’s Veterans Day Celebration.

The Rio Grande Valley Wing of the Commemorative Air Force (RGV Wing CAF) is based at the Port Isabel Cameron County Airport. The RGV Wing is one of 84 units, nationwide, of the Commemorative Air Force whose membership numbers over 11,000. The RGV Wing has seven aircraft in the hangar and has organized a walk-in museum featuring World War Two artifacts and memorabilia.

Tentative hours of operation are Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Guided tours for groups of five or more are welcome by appointment anytime by calling David Christopher at (970) 397-4604.

Weather permitting, and crew availability, one of the Museum’s planes will be flown during the tour. Plane rides are available for a $250 donation. CAF are a 501c3, not for profit organization.

MOSTH to host Texas Mexican cooking demonstration

mosh to host adan medranoThe comfort food of Texas Mexican cooking is coming to the Museum of South Texas History with a special presentation featuring a book signing and cooking demonstration by Chef Adán Medrano on Friday, November 22, at 2 p.m.

Medrano will demonstrate dishes from his most recent cookbook, “Don’t Count The Tortillas—The Art Of Texas Mexican Cooking.” In his cookbook, Medrano focuses on the aesthetic aspects of cooking that universally impact identity and community, with more than 100 recipes that illustrate the modern cooking in Texas kitchens.

The cooking demonstration will feature three local dishes inspired by Medrano’s research: chacales, caldo de chayote and chipotle en adobo. At the end of the presentation, visitors will have the opportunity to sample three unique dishes. Medrano will sign copies of his cookbook, which will be available for purchase in the Museum Store.

Medrano is a food writer and chef, specializing in the indigenous foods of Texas and the Americas. Medrano spent 23 years working throughout Latin America, Europe and Asia. He returned to the US in 2010 to focus his attention on the culinary traditions of the Mexican American, Native American communities of Texas and the indigenous cooking of the Americas. He is currently President of “The Texas Indigenous Food Project.”

Medrano has lectured about food and culture at academic institutions, including the Harvard University Co-op, Northeastern University and last year was invited to Moscow by the US Ambassador to Russia, as the featured Chef for the July 4th US official celebration. Medrano has showcased his recipes at the Museum Of Fine Arts, Houston; at the California, New York and Texas campuses of the Culinary Institute of America, as well as at The Briscoe Western Art Museum, the American Book Center in Amsterdam, and the Yorkshire Dales Food and Drink Festival in Great Britain.

Admission to this program: $8 for adults; $6 for seniors (62+), students (13+) and active military; $5 for children ages 4 to 12; free for children ages 3 and under. FRIENDS of MOSTHistory are admitted free as a benefit of FRIENDship.

MOSTH is located in downtown Edinburg at 200 N. Closner Blvd. on the Hidalgo County Courthouse square. Hours of operation are from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Tuesday–Saturday. For more information about MOSTHistory, including becoming a FRIEND, visit MOSTHistory.org, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and find us on YouTube or call (956) 383-6911.

Wild Texas carnivores presented at Quinta Mazatlan

carnivore quintaTexas boasts some of the most diverse habitat in the United States. On Thursday, November 21 at 6 p.m., Quinta Mazatlán will host Dr. John Tomecek as guest speaker for Nights at the Mansion speaker series. Dr. Tomecek will be presenting “Wild Texas Carnivores;” sharing some of the most recent research from the Texas Carnivore Ecology Laboratory at Texas A&M University, how this work is helping us to learn more about our wild Texas carnivores, and what the future holds.

A native of central Texas, Dr. John Tomecek has spent much of his life outdoors across the state. From his upbringing on a cattle operation in the Cross Timbers and Edwards Plateau, to spending summers on his grandfather’s commercial red snapper boat in the Gulf. Presently, Dr. Tomecek serves as Assistant Professor and Extension Wildlife Specialist at Texas A&M University and the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

In his capacity as university faculty, Dr. Tomecek conducts research and outreach on issues of wildlife damage and disease, ecology of mesocarnivores, and effective management of human-wildlife conflict. As leader of the Carnivore Ecology Laboratory at Texas A&M University, Dr. Tomecek and his team of graduate and undergraduate researchers work toward better understanding of carnivore ecology to inform management and improve human-carnivore interactions.

Nights at the Mansion speaker series presents noteworthy speakers and scholars to present lectures related to our global environment, local cuisine and the arts and culture. The program takes place on Thursday evenings through May 2020. The program fee is $3 per person and no advance reservation is required. Quinta Mazatlán is located at 600 Sunset Drive in McAllen, one block south of La Plaza Mall on 10th Street. For more information, contact Quinta Mazatlan at (956) 681-3370 or visit www.quintamazatlan.com or the Facebook events page facebook.com/McAllenQuintaMazatlan

It’s collection week for Operation Christmas Child

op christmasAs Thanksgiving Day approaches, Mission families are expressing their gratitude by giving back. Residents are filling shoeboxes with fun toys, school supplies and hygiene items to send to children in need around the world. For many of these children, it will be the first gift they have ever received.

During Operation Christmas Child’s National Collection Week November 18 – 25, local residents, in Mission and surrounding communities, will collect shoebox gifts at drop-off locations in the area. The Samaritan’s Purse project, partnering with churches worldwide, will deliver these gifts to children in need. Area volunteers hope to collect more than 2,805 gifts during the week.

"I love seeing the local community rally together for a global impact," said Regional Director Matt McClelland. "We see all ages getting involved –and more and more every year."

Valley residents are not alone in their effort to help children around the world. More than 150,000 U.S. volunteers including families, churches and other groups are joining forces to contribute to the largest Christmas project of its kind. In 2019, Samaritan's Purse hopes to collect enough Operation Christmas Child shoebox gifts to reach 11 million children, with 2,805 coming from the local area.

For more information on how to participate in Operation Christmas Child, call 817-595-2230, or visit samaritanspurse.org/occ. Participants can donate $9 per shoebox gift online through "Follow Your Box" and receive a tracking label to discover its destination. Those who prefer the convenience of online shopping can browse samaritanspurse.org/buildonline to select gifts matched to a child's specific age and gender, then finish packing the virtual shoebox by adding a photo and personal note of encouragement.

Operation Christmas Child is a project of Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization headed by Franklin Graham. The mission of Operation Christmas Child is to demonstrate God's love in a tangible way to children in need around the world and, together with the local church worldwide, to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 168 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories.

Mission’s Veterans Day Parade

By Herb Moering
mission vets 1The perfect weather arrived just in time for Mission’s first annual Veterans Festival Parade on Saturday afternoon, November 9.

The hour and a half patriotic parade was part of the city’s Veterans Day observance, which stretched over four days, starting with a flag laying ceremony Friday afternoon at the Texas State Veteran Cemetery in Mission.

It was the parade that drew several hundred spectators along Business 83, including from Mission, flag-waving Jesse Martinez and his granddaughter Jaynee, to applaud the service veterans riding in the parade.

Among those given a ride was the grand marshal, Lt. Col. Arnulfo Esqueda, a 30-year U.S. Army veteran and a Mission native.

“It was a great honor and privilege to represent all the veterans,” he said. “I want people to appreciate the veterans. Veterans want to play a role in the community.”

Esqueda joined the military at the age of 18 in 1965 and was in the Vietnam jungles for four years as a special forces operative. The green beret was a leader of one of the six-member teams involved in top secret cross border interdiction missions. His team, among others, which included two Americans and four South Vietnam soldiers each, were attached to the secret Military Assistance Command Special Operations Group. They operated mainly along the Ho Chi Ming Trail that wound through North Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.

The retired officer said the greatest fear while deep in enemy territory was being captured. He said they were on their own at night, without communication with allied forces, but by day were back in contact and had U.S. air support if needed. What was also hard to comprehend was the condemning response from the public after returning home. There was no parade for soldiers who fought in Vietnam, he noted.
 missio vets 2

When his Vietnam tour ended in 1969, he went to college and also joined the Texas National Guard as a 2nd lieutenant, which was a part time situation until 1979. Then he went on active duty with the guard. He received his lieutenant colonel rank in 1993 and finished his service in 1995.

A World War II veteran, Savas Sandoval Jr., got to ride in a Mercedes Benz classic convertible. He served in the U.S. Army in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska from 1942 until 1945. Army 1st Sgt. Victor Fonseca was among veterans riding in golf carts.

One squad of veterans walked the parade route, which began at Conway Avenue and ended at Bryan Road. The lead parade entry was the Mission Fire Department’s 1927 fire truck, followed by color guard units and a contingent of patriotic motorcyclists. The parade included floats, school marching bands and cheerleader groups, scouting units, dance squads, and Texas Citrus Fiesta royalty.

The day also included the first Veterans Cook-off that began at 9 o’clock in the morning. A total of 26 teams competed for $5,000 in cash and trophies in five categories of chicken, pork spareribs, brisket, pan de campo and citrus dessert.

There was live music and food vendors on hand as the cookers worked their magic throughout the day. Head judge for the International Barbecue Cookers Association (IBCA), Eddie Tapia, has been running cook-off competitions for 13 years, which takes him all over the Valley. He said he began with just two events his first year, but now he averages more than two per month. His wife, Judy, helps him in distributing the entries to the local volunteer taste judges.

David Santoy, who heads the South Texas BBQ team, said he recruited eight family members and friends to join him in working the cook-off, which he’s been doing for four years. He’s out about once a month on average to compete.

“I love barbecuing and hanging out,” the Mission resident said. “It’s a ‘win, win’ time.”

Andy Garza, the head cook for the Mi Pedasito Ranch team, also from Mission, said he’s been involved in cook-offs for 10 years. He currently does about five events a year as time permits.

“I love it, being in charge,” he said. “We do it for the love of barbecue.”

mission vets 3His wife, Blanca, said, “We enjoy it, and it’s all family members on the team.”

The first 10 placings in each event received recognition, with the top five earning cash awards and a winning plaque to each first-place team.

The Veterans Cook-off grand championship trophy went to the Cowboy Up Cooking team headed by Ralph Flores of Edinburg. His team earned the top award by winning the pan de campo division, placing third in chicken barbecue, fourth in pork spareribs and eighth in brisket.

The reserve championship belonged to Chew N the Fat squad with head cook Jason Bartimus. Also, from Edinburg, the team topped the pork spareribs category and placed fifth in brisket.

Top finishers in the other categories included BBQ Holics, taking first in the chicken category with Hector Cantu the head cook from La Feria; the Chillin N Grillin team headed by Mario Benavides from McAllen, and Bridget Gonzalez who topped the dessert division.

The festival also included an evening of entertainment with music by several bands on stage in conjunction with the 5x5 Brewery sponsors. Kids rides went on all day.

The festival salute continued on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 10, with a Cars and Stripes car show along with a chili cook-off between five veteran’s teams, with winners chosen by “people’s choice.”

Wrapping up the celebration was the Veterans Day golf tournament, The Fairway to Freedom, a 3-person scramble. The tournament, free to veterans, was played at Sharyland Municipal Golf Course. The event was featured in last week’s paper.

McAllen Elks Lodge collecting food, toys and coats

It’s that time of year and McAllen Elks Lodge #1402 is holding a ‘Share the Love Food Drive’ and a toy drive. Their food drive ends on November 22.

For the food drive, they are collecting all non-perishable food items. The items will go to feed needy families in the community for Thanksgiving.

The organization’s toy and coat drive begins on November 22. They will collect items until December 20. They welcome any contributions.

You can drop off donations at the McAllen Elks Lodge, 3500 Jordan Ave. For more information, call (956) 686-3902.

McAllen Elks Lodge is a nonprofit organization whose main purpose is to invest in their communities through programs that help children grow up healthy and drug-free, meet the needs of today’s veterans, and improve the quality of life. McAllen Elks Lodge #1402 started on December 28, 1920 and will celebrate their centennial next year. They have invested over $1.7 million in charity and scholarships in the area communities.

IMAS holds Winter Texan Workshop series

20191113 IMAS Milagros hoop art 1Develop new art skills and socialize with other Winter Texans. The International Museum of Art and Science (IMAS) introduces a series of four Winter Texan Workshops this December through March featuring Mexican Embroidery, Landscapes, Milagros Hoop Art, and Floral Painting.

These art workshops take place every third Saturday of the month, December through March, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Each workshop features a guided tour of a current fine art exhibit followed by a studio art-making activity and refreshments. All workshops are open to beginning and experienced artists.

On December 21, IMAS teaching artist Lisa Cortez will teach about the origin of beautiful Tenango embroidery, a distinctive Mexican fiber art form, and participants will create their own Tenango embroidery piece.

Explore the history of landscapes with a behind-the-scenes look at art works in the museum’s collection with IMAS teaching artist Roni Cortez. On January 18, 2020, she will lead this landscape painting workshop for participants at all levels – previous art experience is not required – and everyone will have the opportunity to paint with acrylics.

IMAS teaching artist Valerie Escamilla will lead the final two workshops. On February 15, 2020, she will present Milagros Hoop Art. Milagros are small metal charms commonly used in Mexican folk art. Participants will learn about this folk art and create a mixed-media work of art using milagros, felt, and embroidery.

The final workshop, Floral Painting, will take place on March 21, 2020, when participants will explore different watercolor techniques with various watercolor types and applications. A still-life bouquet of flowers will provide a starting-point composition after which participants will be encouraged to experiment painting their own spring floral design.

Visitors can also explore the IMAS fine art galleries including large-scale charcoal murals of Dialogues with Mother Earth, Highlights of the Permanent Collection, Mexican & Latin American Folk Art, and the upcoming Compulsory Measures.

Winter Texan Workshops are $10 per workshop and limited to 15 participants. All workshops include General Admission on the day of the workshop. IMAS Members receive a discount. All workshop supplies are provided.

The museum is located at the intersection of Bicentennial Way and Nolana Avenue at 1900 W. Nolana in McAllen. Log onto https://www.theimasonline.org or call (956) 681-2800 for more information.

MFD Hosts ‘Stop the Bleed’

20191113 Stop the Bleed 1Mission Fire Department is hosting another “Stop the Bleed,” training course. Stop the Bleed is a national awareness campaign and call-to-action. The program teaches bystanders how to assist in an emergency before help arrives. The course will be held on Saturday, November 16 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Central Station in Mission.

The program is intended to cultivate grassroots efforts that encourage everyday citizens to become trained, equipped, and empowered to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives.

The purpose of the campaign is to better prepare the public to save lives. The program raises awareness of basic actions to stop life threatening bleeding following everyday emergencies and man-made and natural disasters.

The course is free to the public, but space is limited. If interested, please contact the Mission Fire Department at (956) 580-8705. The MFD Central Station is located at 415 W. Tom Landry Ave.

Cultural Storytelling held at Quinta Mazatlan

20191113 Quinta MTexas historian and premiere chronicler of Texas lore to present a cultural storytelling masterwork. On Thursday, November 14th at 6 p.m., Quinta Mazatlán will host Dr. W.F. Strong as guest speaker for Nights at the Mansion speaker series. He will discuss and share excerpts from his book “Stories from Texas.”

Dr. Strong writes, “If all goes as planned, you should find plenty of laughter here and maybe even a tear or two. There is humor and pathos, joy, wonder, and some melancholic longing for a Texas that once was but can never be again.”

“Stories from Texas” is a collection of 75 radio broadcasts celebrating his home state. In 2010, Dr. Strong first began sharing stories from Texas vignettes on NPR stations. He now has his own podcast, also titled, “Stories from Texas.” His distinct Texan tongue weaves stories from How to Talk Texan to Texas Bards and Troubadours; from Tall Texas Tales to Lone Star icons like Charles Goodnight, Tom Landry and Blue Bell ice cream; from legends and heroes of the past to some heartfelt memories of his own. Dr. Strong is a Professor of Communication and Culture and a Fulbright Scholar at The University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley. He also writes, occasionally, for Texas Highways Magazine.

Nights at the Mansion speaker series is free with park admission, and takes place every Thursday at 6pm through May 2020. Park admission is $3 for adults, $2 for seniors and children 3 to 12 years of old. Children 2 years and under are free. Quinta Mazatlán is located at 600 Sunset Drive in McAllen, one block south of La Plaza Mall on 10th Street. For more information, contact Quinta Mazatlán at (956) 681-3370 visit quintamazatlan.com or facebook events page facebook.com/McAllenQuintaMazatlan

Free guided nature walks offered

20191113 Snake Eyes Photo by Anita WesterveltHarlingen’s Hugh Ramsey Nature Park boasts 250 some species of Rio Grande Valley native plants, shrubs, trees, cactus and the untold numbers of birds, butterflies and critters that use this native habitat.

Rio Grande Valley Chapter, Texas Master Naturalist volunteers maintain Ebony Loop’s specialty gardens, working as a team every Thursday morning from 9 to 11 a.m. Many Winter Texans and local residents work alongside the naturalists. Volunteers are always welcome.

In addition to the Thursday morning volunteer opportunity, Texas master naturalists offer free guided native plant tours on the first Friday and third Saturday each month through May 2020. There will be only one held in November, on the 16th. Next one will be held December 6, and continue as scheduled.

There’s always something blooming around Ebony Loop. Hear about a fun shrub called snake eyes and maybe catch a chachalaca feasting on the berries. Mexican caesalpinia, is showy into the winter with bright yellow flowers. Learn about native plants that attract butterflies and birds.

Runyon’s esenbeckia, the rarest tree in Texas, is showcased in a garden named for historic Brownsville botanist, Robert Runyon.

One of the mysteries of our native trees is that many of them bloom after rain. With the recent rains, it’s a good opportunity to see which trees and plants will be showing their colors.

Ebony Loop is an easy quarter mile level caliche trail. Wear sturdy shoes, bring water and bug spray for yourself if desired. Restrooms are located at the park entrance.

Hugh Ramsey Nature Park is at 1000 South 499, just two miles south of Harlingen’s Valley International Airport or just north of the Arroyo Colorado River Bridge on Ed Carey Dr.

Meet up with the guides in the parking lot where the two-hour tour begins at 9 a.m.