For those that visit the Valley regularly, you know how much we talk about Fred Renk and the Santa Maria Bullring. Well, this year is his last year and he will be having one more event on February 16. Look for more about the event in our next issue, but until then, check out Jo Liston’s column On the Road with Jo on Page 35.
I told you last week we had been busy this January and our month wasn’t over yet. I tried to get everything in last week that we had done, but I tend to ramble and it got lengthy, so I wanted to talk about a few more things we did before we get our February rolling – which we already plan to attend six events in the next couple of weeks, including the Bull fight, Mission Mega Winter Texan Fiesta, the Valley Star Awards, and Glenn Miller Orchestra. Who knows what else will come up during the month though?
On Saturday, January 25, we went to the Texas Citrus Fiesta where there were three parks that had entered floats or golf carts into the parade. We spent a few hours watching the parade and making sure we got pictures of the parks that participated. Their pictures and information were printed in last week’s edition of our paper.
Later that evening we went to the National Professional Bull Riders competition at the Mercedes Livestock Showgrounds. We took our kids too and had a blast. The crowd was full of Winter Texans. We enjoyed some tunes from Chris Marshall before the bull riding took place.
Leslie Blasing was playing at the Commemorative Air Force RGV Wing on Monday, January 27, for a fundraiser and, even though it was press day, we went ahead and made a trip out there. They are located at the Port Isabel-Cameron County Airport in Los Fresnos. It can be a drive, but well worth the visit, and not only because we got to hear some 40’s music from Leslie.
They have several planes out at the airport that the whole family enjoyed looking at. My son really liked the military jeeps that were there.
Leslie was performing in the back end of an old Ford pickup that suited the time period. There was a couple, in which the man was 90, that had so much energy. He and his partner danced to nearly every song.
Before the close of the event, two trumpet players, Jim Duffey and Nacho Garcia, played the echoing TAPS. It was soulful and resonated in the hangar the event was held in.
If you haven’t been out there, drop by and pay the guys a visit. They are working their best to preserve memories and memorabilia from WWII. The pilots and volunteers work on keeping the machines – vehicles and planes – in working order. They have a small area right now with pieces that have been donated, mostly by locals, but plan to expand to fit items that are currently in storage.
You can find out more about the CAF RGV Wing at their website, https://rgvcaf.org/.
Last week we also went out to Winter Fest at Beach Park. We had a great time listening to some music by Jeff Gordon and Hector Guzman. Pickpocket Gene put on quite a show too with his prowess at taking watches and jewelry off unsuspecting participants.
Before getting out to Winter Fest, we stopped by the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park for their groundbreaking of what will eventually be a 428-mile trail network connecting the lower Rio Grande Valley. Their plans are massive, but they intend on bringing the community together to create healthier lifestyles and trails that will be open to all. The trails will consist of multiuse trails, including bicycle routes and paddling trails. The trails will go through several of the birding sites in the lower RGV including the cities and towns of Brownsville, Harlingen, Combes, Los Fresnos, Los Indios, Port Isabel, Rio Hondo, San Benito, Laguna Vista, Rancho Viejo and South Padre Island.
Eva Garcia, project manager, said there are opportunities for Winter Texans to get involved in these projects. If not only to use them, but also to offer some feedback. These resources are meant to be shared she said.
Palo Alto Battlefield is a free park to visit, has trails of their own as well as some history.
Garcia said she hopes the Winter Texans, and other residents, will offer advice and input on things they want to see or areas they can improve. She said, since Winter Texans are from other areas, they can offer so much to the project by giving input on what you enjoy at other locations throughout your travels, or your other home.
“We’re still learning,” said Garcia. We are open to any ideas for this network as it grows.
It was a beautiful day out there and we had a chance to see some of the artifacts at the annex building and talk to two Winter Texan volunteers. Daryl Sullivan, who stays at Victoria Palms while wintering in the Valley, is from Iowa. He was manning the building and gift shop area. William “Bill” Boyle, a Winter Texan from Indiana, was a surprise visitor according to Daryl. Bill usually volunteers on Fridays, but he was going to be visiting with some elementary students later in the day to give them a history lesson on the Mexican-American War and the Battle of Palo Alto.
We enjoy visiting with you and learning why you come here and what you like about the Winter Texan Times.
We have had so much fun getting out there and enjoying things right alongside with y’all. We look forward to continuing this trend until the end of the season – and I am already looking forward to events we can attend next season.
Y’all are keeping us on our toes, that’s for sure. Thank you for letting us have some fun with y’all.