Wednesday, March 20, 2019
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Mexican Artisan Expo coming to McAllen

The McAllen Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with the Mexican Consulate in McAllen, will present a Mexican arts and crafts celebration Jan. 7 through Jan. 11. The event will host the 6th Annual “Vibrant Heritage” Mexican Artisan Expo with 80 artisans from various States in Mexico.

This year, the event will take place in two locations starting with the McAllen International Travel Show on Jan. 7-8 at the McAllen Convention Center. The McAllen Travel Show usually draws thousands of visitors throughout the two-day event where exhibitors from all over the country promote their cities or locations as tourism destinations.

Read more: Mexican Artisan Expo coming to McAllen

Grace Heritage Ranch: A taste of days gone by

The Schalk family, including parents Brian and Mary and their three younger sons, Caleb, Matthew and Joseph have adopted a simpler lifestyle.

Four years ago, they decided to downsize their home and upsize their land. Moving to Santa Monica, about 30 miles north of Harlingen, they purchased a 100-acre homestead – Grace Heritage Ranch. Here they raise animals and provide most of their organically grown food supply. They live off the land for most of their needs.

Read more: Grace Heritage Ranch: A taste of days gone by

UTPA surveys Winter Texans on border security

Researchers at the Business and Tourism Research Center at The University of Texas-Pan American are looking for community input on the recent events in the Rio Grande Valley. This past summer, hundreds of security forces, including up to 1,000 National Guard troops and hundreds of additional state troopers, were sent to the Valley in response to the dramatic increase in the number of undocumented immigrants, especially children, to the U.S and to deter human and drug trafficking. 

The mission of the National Guard is to maintain a visible presence in the area to deter human and drug trafficking operations in support of the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).  Steve McCraw, state DPS director, last week said currently National Guard troops man observation posts and call in potential illegal activity they spot to state troopers.

Read more: UTPA surveys Winter Texans on border security

Rainy brings Patsy Cline tribute to Valley resorts

In her first show of the 2014-2015 winter season, Lorraine “Rainy” Mancuso performed for a near capacity crowd of Winter Texans at Alamo Rec-Veh Resort. She has been doing Patsy Cline Tribute shows for 17 years.

She has also been part of a Legends show that is presented in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada for the last few years. The show includes tributes to Patsy Cline, Elvis, Neil Diamond, Roy Orbison and Lady Gaga.

Read more: Rainy brings Patsy Cline tribute to Valley resorts

North Pole opens at Mission Historical Museum

The North Pole Village has traveled south to the Mission Historical Museum (MHM) in a special exhibit that will be on display from now through Dec. 31. It will be open for public viewing in the museum’s annex located at the corner of Doherty Ave. and Tom Landry Blvd. Admission is free.

The village is on display courtesy of the efforts of Ben Olivarez with the assistance of two MHM helpers. It is part of an extensive collection of Department 56 pieces he and his wife, Kathy, have been collecting for a number of years.

Read more: North Pole opens at Mission Historical Museum

Juarez-Lincoln students present ‘Into the Woods’

LA JOYA –This Way! Musical Theatre Company at La Joya Juarez-Lincoln High School presents “Into the Woods” Thursday through Saturday, Dec. 18 to 20. Performances will be held at the La Joya Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. each day.

The musical links the plots of several of the Brothers Grimm fairytales, such as Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rapunzel, and Little Red Riding Hood, to delve into what happens after “happily ever after.”

Read more: Juarez-Lincoln students present ‘Into the Woods’

Festival of Lights is Trolley-la-la-la good time

From the illuminated castle representing Argentina to the Chinese pagodas, the narrated trolley ride at the Hidalgo Festival of Lights is a great way to see the lights. The guides explain what each illumination represents and the ties between Hidalgo’s Festival Lights and many BorderFest displays.

Other displays such as “The Night Before Christmas Mice” and “Christmas Shrek” are made of three-dimensional characters that are easily recognized. Look for scenes such as the “Penguins of the North Pole” frolicking near the “Eskimo Family.”

Read more: Festival of Lights is Trolley-la-la-la good time

McAllen Holiday Parade draws 200,000 spectators

It was billed as McAllen’s biggest, brightest and most anticipated event of the holiday season and the largest illuminated holiday parade in Texas. The parade featured 40 illuminated and decorated floats, 17 helium-filled balloons, marching bands and celebrities. The first annual McAllen Holiday Parade brought a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade atmosphere to the Rio Grande Valley. And it did so much to the delight of the estimated 200,000 spectators that lined both sides of Bicentennial Boulevard and filled the east-side stands at McAllen’s Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Read more: McAllen Holiday Parade draws 200,000 spectators

Holiday Village lights up the season

Brownsville’s Holiday Village, now in its fourth year, has become a popular holiday spot for people across the Rio Grande Valley. According to Sheri Conner, there are now 27 tiny Christmas cottages on display in Dean Porter Park to aid in the Holiday spirit.

“We are delighted to see our village grow each year and to have so many people coming to Brownsville to view this new holiday tradition,” said Conner.

Read more: Holiday Village lights up the season

Christmas holiday activities planned

The Christmas season has arrived and there are many holiday festivities for Winter Texans to enjoy. Following are some of this week’s festivities we thought might be of interest to our readers.

Every Evening

Hidalgo’s Festival of Lights is open nightly with trolley rides through the lights, dinners provided by school organizations and service groups, and entertainment that varies nightly. The dinner, entertainment and trolley ride combination is available for $12. These combination tickets are sold only at the State Farm Arena. Call (956) 843-5311 for information, or stop by the box office. Visitors may also drive through the lights now through Dec. 31 at no charge.

Read more: Christmas holiday activities planned

Free TubaChristmas concert Dec. 7 at UTPA

The Rio Grande Valley community is invited to enjoy an oompah-good holiday time at the annual RGV TubaChristmas concert presented at The University of Texas-Pan American Sunday, Dec. 7 at 2 p.m. in the UTPA Fieldhouse.

The free concert features instruments in the tuba family, including sousaphone, baritones and euphoniums played by musicians ages 8 to 80. Guests will be amazed with the instruments' intricate sounds and the festive appearance of the horns that are often adorned with Christmas season decorations.  They will enjoy traditional holiday favorites – from "Silent Night" to "Jingle Bells" and more.

Read more: Free TubaChristmas concert Dec. 7 at UTPA

Zoo plans 24th annual Zoo Nights and Lights

Mark the calendar for Dec. 5-7 because Gladys Porter Zoo will be hosting its annual Zoo Nights and Lights from 6 to 9 p.m. each evening. Admission to the zoo for the event is free with a new unwrapped toy for the annual Toys for Tots campaign.

This year there will be over 150-lighted fixtures of animals and Christmas traditions such as toy soldiers and bells. When the Winter Texan Times visited a week before the big event, Oscar Cerrillo of the zoo staff was busy decorating for the holiday by placing giant bulbs on a Christmas tree made of lights near the entrance of the zoo. Cerrillo and his community service worker Rodolfo Giovannie Vento were setting up exhibits to be lighted all over the zoo.

Read more: Zoo plans 24th annual Zoo Nights and Lights

Hidalgo Festival of Lights 2014 runs Dec.1 to Dec. 31

The holiday season is upon us and no town in the Rio Grande Valley celebrates the holiday in as grand a manner as Hidalgo with the annual Festival of Lights. The city’s three million lights along a three-mile trail featuring 5,000 lighted displays has become a part of the Valley’s Christmas tradition that adds to the excitement and wonderment of the season.

The Hidalgo Festival of Lights starts Dec. 1 and runs through Dec. 31.

Read more: Hidalgo Festival of Lights 2014 runs Dec.1 to Dec. 31

New VA Clinic opens in McAllen

A new VA clinic opened earlier this year in McAllen, offering a range of medical services to veterans.

The Winter Texan Times recently toured the new Veteran’s Administration Clinic, located at 901 E. Hackberry in McAllen, to give Winter Texans an inside look at what the new state-of-the-art clinic has to offer.

Read more: New VA Clinic opens in McAllen

Split Rail RV has Friday Country Western Jam

Did you know there are 64 jams a week in the Rio Grande Valley? There are all kinds of different jams available to Winter Texans. This week I visited the jam at Split Rail RV in Mission. They jam each Friday from 1 to 3 p.m. The music is country western with a touch of gospel thrown in for good measure.

Jam organizer Gary LeGrid says there are from 20 to 35 musicians at each Split Rail jam.

Read more: Split Rail RV has Friday Country Western Jam

Tierra Del Sol is Winter Texans’ Favorite Golf Course

“It is a great honor to be selected by Winter Texans as their favorite golf course in the Rio Grande Valley,” said Tierra Del Sol Golf Director Raul Garza. “We are very proud of our golf course. The Pharr City Council made a decision a couple of years ago to put $1 million worth of improvements into the golf course, which was completed in 2013, and it has paid off in this honor.”

Garza went on to say, “We re-did all the greens with a new Bermuda grass known for its ability to stand up to high levels of golfing. We also used another type of grass called Celebration Grass in all the Tee Boxes. Finally, we added an aesthetics crew to keep the course appealing to the eye. We believe our course and greens are now second to none in the Valley. And as the greens mature, the course will get better and better. We also bought new carts last year.”

Read more: Tierra Del Sol is Winter Texans’ Favorite Golf Course

Mariachi Aztlán is mariachi at its best

The University of Texas Pan American’s Student Union Theater was alive with the sound of mariachi music last weekend as the award-winning Mariachi Aztlán performed a selection of traditional mariachi songs including canciones, rancheras and baladas.

With violins, guitars, guitarrones, trumpets and a harp all playing in perfect harmony as the musicians sang choruses and took turns singing the lead, young and old audience members alike clapped and cheered enthusiastically at the conclusion of each song performed by the 16-member group.

Read more: Mariachi Aztlán is mariachi at its best

Ninth Annual Mission Quilt Show call for entries

The Mission Historical Museum will accept entries beginning Tuesday, Dec. 2,for its Ninth Annual Mission Quilt Show. Entries will be accepted in six categories: Hand-quilted bed quilts; Machine-quilted bed quilts; Mixed media (quilted items which incorporate non-traditional materials); Wall hangings; Wearable art; and Miscellaneous (decorative or utilitarian items). The show is open to all quilters, both Winter Texans and year-round residents.

Quilts and wall hangings must be ready to hang with a sleeve for display purposes.

Read more: Ninth Annual Mission Quilt Show call for entries

Butterflies make Texas Butterfly Festival appearance

MISSION, TX – Beautiful weather combined with the natural beauty of thousands of butterflies to delight this year’s participants in the 19th Annual Texas Butterfly Festival, which concluded Nov. 4.

Festival organizers report a total of 115 species sighted, including the very rare Blue-studded Skipper and Telea Hairstreak. While these special visitors thrilled festival participants in search of 'life' butterflies, the majority of folks who made the trek to deep, south Texas were here to experience the unique volume and variety of Lower Rio Grande Valley butterflies that burst onto the scene each fall.

Read more: Butterflies make Texas Butterfly Festival appearance

Tours of Branson and points all over Texas offered by Go with Jo Tours

Go…With Jo! Tours and Travel in Harlingen, owned and operated by Jo Liston, is well known for providing a variety of fun tours to Winter Texans. With fewer tours going into Mexico these days Go...With Jo! has created a number of fun tours in Texas and one special Christmas tour of Branson, Missouri. These tours are designed for Winter Texans who might like explore other parts of Texas as well as to offer a chance to enjoy the Branson Christmas celebrations without having to do the driving.

The Branson Christmas Shows tour is a seven-day tour that will leave on Dec. 8. The group will see several shows including Miss Laura’s Players, Shoji Tabuschi, Dublin’s Irish Tour & The Celtic Sisters, the Dixie Stampede Christmas Dinner Show, the Brett Family and SIX, a newer show in Branson that features six brothers who sing and play their hands for musical instruments.

Read more: Tours of Branson and points all over Texas offered by Go with Jo Tours

Top News

  • Welcome to Texas!

    FromthepublisherWelcome to our Take Home Edition of the Winter Texan Times. In this edition we want to share some of the reasons more and more retirees are choosing the Rio Grande Valley of Texas as their winter home. As they seek a warmer climate, they also enjoy the warm, friendly people who make their winters much more fun and… Read More +

  • It’s Safe in the Rio Grande Valley

    20190313 Mission Police Chief Robert Dominguez courtesyFor decades, the Rio Grande Valley of Texas has been a favorite destination for retirees from the Midwest and Canada looking to head south for the winter to escape the snow, ice and cold, harsh weather. In addition to the warm, semi-tropical climate here in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV), Winter Texans frequently… Read More +

  • There’s no better place to winter than the Rio Grande Valley

    20190313 Larry MainzLarry Mainz loves the Rio Grande Valley.

    He and his wife, Jan, became Winter Texans seven years ago. He fondly calls the Valley, “Disney for old people.”
    He says people need to know that “there's no better place. If you don't like living here,… Read More +

  • 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… Read More +

  • 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… Read More +

  • You’ll receive a warm welcome in Texas!

    20190313 WT Friendly Progreso Winter Tourist Appreciation Day MOERING DSC 0445Alan Johnston remembers coming to the Rio Grande Valley from Minnesota 29 years ago.

    One of the first things Johnston saw were signs that said “Welcome Back Winter Texans.”

    After the couple's unimpressive experiences in Arizona and… Read More +

  • RGV low cost of living appeals to Winter Texans

    20190313 WT Cost Don Wes Flea Market DSC 0701 KODavid Howard and his wife live 4,200 miles from the Rio Grande Valley.

    The couple will take their time each year, leaving their home in the Canadian province of Labrador and Newfoundland to arrive at their summer home at Bit-O-Heaven RV Park in Donna.… Read More +

  • Warm weather draws Winter Texans to South Texas

    20190313 WT Weather Softball Canada vs USA MILLER IMG 6737Terry Hirschfeld was in her Kentucky home when she started making a list of “warm states.” She was tired of the cold.
    Texas made her short list.

    Now that she and her husband are here living on… Read More +

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