Monday, July 22, 2019
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If you don’t know how Christmas is celebrated in other parts of the world, the City of McAllen’s Holiday Parade will attempt to give everyone a sneak peek this year.

“Christmas Around the World” takes the idea that different cultures, different countries celebrate this magical holiday in very different ways. But ultimately, it is the spirit of the holiday: peace on Earth and goodwill towards men that will have the entire Rio Grande Valley rejoicing.”

The parade begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 and begins at McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium, located at 2155 N. Bicentennial Blvd., McAllen, and will march south to U.S. Bus. 83. There is reserved seating at the stadium for purchase and bleachers along the parade route. Spectators can also bring their own seats.

The McAllen holiday parade is the largest illuminated holiday and helium balloon parade in Texas, according to a press release from the city. Now in its third year, it will include lighted and animated floats, inflatable character balloons, bands and celebrities.

The parade has won numerous awards, including being named the 2017 Best Parade in Texas by the Texas Festival and Events Association and the 2017 Best Parade in the World by the International Festival and Events Association.

Of course, one of the biggest draws are the celebrities and athletes that the parade brings. The first celebrity guest announced was Dallas Cowboy legend and five-time Pro Bowl tight end Jay Novacek.

“We know this is Dallas Cowboys country,” city spokesperson Xochitl Mora said. Previous Cowboys in attendance included Tony Dorsett, DeMarcus Lawrence, Cole Beasley and Tony Hill.

Parade organizers continue to unveil new and exciting celebrities who will be a part of the 5th annual celebration of the parade that to date, has won 166 awards. Already announced celebrities and star appearances include:

• U.S. Air Force Honor Guard and Parade Drill Team, Parade Lead Step-Off
• Dra. Ana Maria Polo, Telemundo, ʺCaso Cerrado, ˮ one of the most prominent and influential figures in Hispanic television
• Tony Hill, Dallas Cowboys Legend, #80, former 4-time Pro Bowler and 1-time Super Bowl Champion wide receiver
• Jaylon Smith, No. 54, linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys, and his brother
• Rod Smith, No. 45, running back for the Dallas Cowboys

Officials said because the event attracts nearly 250,000 people, they encourage attendees to use the expanded Polar Express, a free park-and-ride service.

Christmas in the Park will kick off with a carnival winter spectacular on Thursday, November 29.

There will also be plenty of entertainment with four well-known artists performing on the main stage at Christmas in the Park for both Friday and Saturday night. There is no charge for the concerts.

Friday night will feature The Jimmy Gonzalez Band, a tribute band that continues the musical legacy of late, great, multiple Grammy-Award winner Jimmy González. Most of the members of the Jimmy Gonzalez Band were part of the Tejano legend’s musical journey, including his son Mike González, Homero Esquivel who was part of the original Grupo Mazz in the 1990s.

The night will conclude with the high-powered performance of the multi-Grammy-nominated, multiple award-winning and best-selling group Jaime y Los Chamacos. Founded in 1982, by accordionist and frontman Jaime de Anda, the best-selling Jaime y los Chamacos have been a household name for fans of Tejano and Conjunto music.

Christmas in the Park and all the carnival, vendor and food fun opens at noon on Saturday, Dec. 1 and after the parade, Sonora 100% Dinamita de Anaidita and Grupo Estruendo take to the main stage to rock the park.

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