By Herb Moering
Hundreds of residents along with Winter Texans turned out on a perfect night, Friday, December 9, for Alamo’s annual Christmas parade and tree lighting plus stage entertainment.
Bill and Jean Snyder, from Carroll, Iowa said “this parade rocked.” “It was very good,” Jean said. “I loved the (PSJA High School Memorial) band and cheerleaders.”
The couple, who were attending their third or fourth parade and ceremony, have been coming down to the Valley for 12 years and currently stay at Winter Ranch RV Resort in Alamo. Their main pleasure is the sunshine, quite a difference from an Iowa winter Bill indicated.
The weather is also the big draw for Kansas friends Bill and Betty Edmonds and Rod and Sharon Sherrill. They have spent six seasons in the “Valley, with each year a longer stay that began with a month and now is up to five months.” The other draw, at least for the guys, is remote car racing on the Alamo Rec-Veh Park track. Sharon also noted how friendly are the people of the Valley.
The Edmonds and Sherrills, both now from Topeka, mentioned they had reconnected for a second time at a Christian Motorcycle Club gathering a few years back. That was some 40 plus years after first knowing each other in Wichita. During the long separation the Sherrills lived in Colorado for 30 years.
The couples, who were attending their first Alamo Christmas event, really enjoyed it, with Sharon calling it “one of the best parades.” Those in Kansas are not all that large and don’t have all the lights like what they saw on Friday evening. “It was the neatest parade,” Bill added.
Sharon, who said she enjoyed the kids taking part, thought it was perfect that after all the fun and celebrating the parade units, that one of the last floats was that of the Virgin de Guadalupe float of Fernando Terrazas reminding spectators to “Put Christ in Christmas.”
Betty added, “It’s the reason for the season.” She noted that in Emporium, Kansas the traditional nativity scene downtown had to be moved away from a government building.
Spectators for the parade were three and four deep in the block on Highway Business 83 near the Central Park stage area. The parade included a record 49 units, according to Lori Solis, special events coordinator for the city of Alamo. One unusual entry was the Nuestro Amistad Car Club’s with some one of the kind classics and low riders.
The top entry in the “Christmas Luau in Alamo” themed parade belonged to Van Guard Mozart Elementary School, with Marcia Garza Elementary School placing second and Walmart in Alamo taking third place.
Following the award presentations came time to light the city’s Christmas tree, with Alamo Mayor Diana Martinez leading the countdown and 2020 Miss Alamo Victoria Chapa flipping the switch. Standing by were Miss Alamo Princess Angela Ortiz and 2023 PSJA Emerald Queen Lourdes Guerrero.
Entertainment by school students followed with parents, siblings and Winter Texans crowding around the front of the park stage. PSJA cheerleaders led off with several routines and then came more cheerleading units, choruses and dancers from Gus Guerra Elementary School, Van Guard Mozart Elementary School, Farias Elementary, John McKeever Elementary, Alamo Idea 21st Century School and Audie Murphy Middle School.
All performers of course were given standing ovations.
Solis, in her first year of orchestrating the parade and program and what many considered a highly successful event, thanked the mayor, commissioners, city manager and assistant city manager for entrusting her with the task.
“Putting together any event truly takes a village, aka Team Alamo,” Solis said, mentioning her library workers, city hall staff, fire, police, public works and park and recreation departments, who all play a major role in the annual event. She also thanked the schools, local businesses, and families for being part of it all.
“Thank you, community,” Solis concluded. “Thank you, Alamo.”