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DSC 0975 webBy Herb Moering

“Alamo has a nice little parade,” said converted Texan Charlie Akins, before the start of the city’s lighted Christmas parade on Friday. But he and his friends with him from Alamo Rec-Veh Park were in for a surprise as the city had its largest parade ever with more than 50 entries according to Alamo City Manager Robert Salinas.

Akins, who grew up in Happy, Texas, said he and his wife, Bev, have been full time RVers for 18 years with the latest winters at Alamo Rec-Veh. And many of those years they have been at the parade.

The Akins invited another couple staying at Alamo Rec, Gerry and Terry Flaherty, to come to the parade, which was the first time for them. The couple, who are full-time RVers, missed last year because they didn’t arrive in time.

This was the fifth parade and program for another pair from Alamo Rec, June White, and Lance Carmen. These Winter Texans travel a lot during the rest of the year. June is originally from Iowa, while Lance hails from Alaska. He said he liked the cold and activities of Alaska when he was younger.

DSC 1014 webThe six also attended the parade because their park had an entry of a dozen or more decorated golf carts. Entries were judged with the just newly opened RGV Urgent Care employees and friends earning the first-place trophy with a major lighted float. The Alamo Walmart store entry took second place with third place belonging to PSJA Memorial High’s Reserve Officers Training Corps members.

Of course, Santa Claus made his anticipated appearance, riding on a fire truck. After he arrived the jolly fellow went to his special location in the park to have pictures taken with lots of children. The entries included a couple of floats loaned out by the City of McAllen as well.

The only glitch in the evening was trying to light the traditional Christmas tree in Central Park after completion of the parade. But it was a minor problem and on the second countdown the tree lights came on to the applause and cheers of the crowd.

Then the schools’ cheerleaders and dancers took over the park stage following greetings by Mayor J.R. Garza and Commissioners Okie Salinas, Pete Morales, Roel Moreno and Arturo Garcia. They expressed appreciation for all the efforts of the city employees in bringing the event together.

The city’s Christmas celebration, which had the theme Vintage/Retro, also included a petting zoo for the first time in the park. Sponsors for the parade included the Alamo Economic Development Corporation, AEP Texas, and Valient Energy Source.