Wednesday, March 20, 2019
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Monarch Fest at Quinta Mazatlan

20190313 Monarch Festival Quinta MazatlanThe third annual Monarch Fest at Quinta Mazatlan will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 16. Quinta Mazatlan is located at 600 Sunset Dr. in McAllen.

The event celebrates the northward migration of the iconic butterfly from Mexico through the United States and into Canada. The event will have food, speakers, tours, crafts, live entertainment and much more.

Quinta Mazatlan introduced the Monarch Fest in 2017 with McAllen Mayor Jim Darling’s signing of the Mayors' Monarch Pledge through the National Wildlife Federation. The City of McAllen is the first city in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and the second in the United States, that pledges at the Champion Level to help create and restore habitat while educating citizens in the community about the plight of monarch butterflies.

As part of the pledge, Quinta Mazatlan is working with the McAllen school district to create learning landscapes on school campuses. The sanctuary also offers garden design workshops encouraging individuals and businesses to design gardens to support birds and butterflies.

The Monarch Fest features a marketplace, food trucks, art installations, live music and dance performances. Adults will enjoy the chef cooking demos with Chef Marcel, speakers from Mexico and the U.S., garden tours, native plant sales and more shopping.

“We seek to inspire the community to take part in saving the monarch by starting in our own backyards,” said Colleen Hook, manager of Quinta Mazatlan. “Together, we can make a difference.”

The urban sanctuary has more than doubled its acreage for habitat since opening in 2006 with many park improvements. A new LEED Certified Discovery Center was built in 2012, which services more than 10,000 children from area school districts annually and continues to grow the volunteer base bringing in over 8,500 hours annually.

For more information about The third annual Monarch Fest, visit or call (956) 681-3370. Tickets can be purchased on line at

Jazz Festival features Swing Street Big Band

20190313 Swing street group photo steveThe Swing Street Big Band is keeping big band music alive and their recent pairings with local high schools will be a lesson that musicians can perform for a long time.

McAllen High School will be hosting a Jazz Festival Saturday, March 16 in the school auditorium at 2021 LaVista Ave. The festival will feature jazz bands from McAllen High School, Memorial High School and the Swing Street Big Band.

This is the second partnership show between McAllen schools, the first performance was with Swing Street Band and McAllen Rowe High School last month.

Music will start at 5 p.m. with the high school jazz bands performing, followed by light refreshments before the Swing Street Big Band “Tribute to the Big Band Era” at 7 p.m. Swing Street Big Band is a 17-piece show/dance orchestra that is made up of band directors who currently teach in the Rio Grande Valley and retired band directors; some are Winter Texans from the Midwest.

Swing Street Big Band is made up of 18 very talented musicians from here in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, including vocalist Connie Crowell. Most are local active or retired band directors. The jazz band and big band styles of music come from the blend of saxophones, trumpets and trombones, plus piano, bass, drums, and guitar made popular by the bands of yesteryear and whose sounds have influenced bands still performing today.

Admission is $10 per person and tickets may be purchased in advance by calling McAllen High band director Bobby Salazar at (956) 369-2397. Tickets will also be available at the door on a first come/first serve basis and will entitle the ticket holder to attend all or any part of the festival.

For more information about Swing Street Big Band and the Jazz Fest, visit their website at or on Facebook at

Rusty Rierson skyrockets as top Wintertainer™

20190306 RustyRierson IMG 3189Rusty Rierson has rocketed in popularity to rapidly become one of Winter Texans’ favorite entertainers.

Not only did he earn the Valley Star Award's Male Vocalist of the Year, but he did so in this, his first full year performing in the Rio Grande Valley. While the park activity directors select the nominees for the Valley Star Awards, it’s the Winter Texans who cast their votes to choose the winners.

Much of that popularity has to do with his wit, friendly demeanor and, of course, his smooth vocals.
Recently, however, at Trophy Gardens RV Park, his vocals weren't where he wanted them to be as he came down with a rough case of the crud.

Read more: Rusty Rierson skyrockets as top Wintertainer™

Hooray for Hollywood: A Tribute to Symphony In Film

20190227 VSO Anastasia Dedik PIANIST black gownMaestro Peter Dabrowski and the Valley Symphony Orchestra invite you to step into the golden age of film with the Valley Symphony Orchestra’s Hooray For Hollywood, the latest offering in the 2018-19 "SYMPHONY... That's Entertainment" concert season to be held on Friday, March 1, at 8 p.m. at the McAllen Performing Arts Center.

Music from motion picture blockbuster hits such as Gone with the Wind, Ben Hur, Dr. Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia, The Pink Panther, and more will be played by over 60 musicians in full symphonic arrangement. The evening’s concert will take place in the beautiful and acoustically dynamic McAllen Performing Arts Center.

Read more: Hooray for Hollywood: A Tribute to Symphony In Film

Annie now playing at Harlingen Community Theatre

20190227 Annie the Musical at Harlingen castThe Broadway musical “Annie” is now playing at the Harlingen Community Theatre, located at 1209 Fair Park Blvd., where Broadway shows are performed live on stage featuring extremely creative and gifted local Rio Grande Valley talent.

“Annie” is a Broadway musical based upon the comic strip “Little Orphan Annie,”® with music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and book by Thomas Meehan.

The musical features a string of popular musical numbers including “Tomorrow,” “It’s the Hard Knock Life,” and Easy Street.”

Read more: Annie now playing at Harlingen Community Theatre

Valley Star Awards honors Valleys top Wintertainers™

20190227 DavenDaphneIMG 5877Dave & Daphne named Entertainers of the Year

Music, comedy and an afternoon of entertainment by six of the Valley’s best entertainers highlighted the 2019 Valley Star Awards, presented by the Winter Texan Times and Robert and Billie Ferguson at Mission Bell Resort.

Winter Texans voted for entertainers in 11 different categories and the entertainer of the year awards were announced a la Oscar style in front of a full house of Winter Texans from across the Rio Grande Valley.

Read more: Valley Star Awards honors Valleys top Wintertainers™

Mariachi Aztlán bridges cultures through music

20190227 Mariachi 09.20Founded in 1989, Mariachi Aztlán has gone from a local treasure to an internationally lauded ensemble of musicians who perform regularly before packed houses across the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Small wonder Dr. Dahlia Guerra, the classically-trained musician and educator who founded Mariachi Aztlán, describes her students as “musical ambassadors” who are duty-bound to share the wonders of mariachi culture to the world. “We have to represent the beauty of our culture,” says Dr. Guerra “and we’re here to show the beautiful side.”

Read more: Mariachi Aztlán bridges cultures through music

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