Wednesday, January 16, 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

  • Product Costume Show will be held at Mission Community Center on Jan. 12

    20190109 TCF Product Costume Show jmb 0070This weekend the Texas Citrus Fiesta is hosting three competitions all rolled into one big event where the winners will be announced. The Product Costume Show is the main event, and those attending the show will see all of this year’s costumes as they are presented to the judges.

    Read More +

  • Mission Historical tour date changed

    20190109 Our Lady of Guadalupe Church 2014 jmb 0005Mission Historical Museum is scheduling a limited number of tours of local historical sites in and around Mission. The tours are being led by local historian, artist and architect Manuel Hinojosa. Due to a scheduling conflict, the date of the next tour has been changed to Tuesday, Jan. 22, from 8:30… Read More +

  • Mission Community joins forces for free health fair

    Mission, TX – The Greater Mission Chamber of Commerce is partnering with the City of Mission and Mission Regional Medical Center to host the 24th Annual Mission Community Health & Wellness Fair. The event will be held at the Mission Event Center on Saturday, Jan. 12, 2019, from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. The event is free, open to the public and will provide free screenings, awareness, and… Read More +

  • RGV Woodcarving Show is Jan. 11-12

    The 2019 Rio Grande Valley Woodcarving Show will be held from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Jan. 11-12, at the Nomad Shrine Club, located at 1044 W. Nolana, Pharr.

    If you can imagine it, they can probably carve it. Hundreds of exhibits in approximately 27 show categories will be on display during this popular two-day event.

    Read More +

  • Williamson Branch making musical achievement

    2019 Williamson Branch 1As the Williamson Branch, the bluegrass family band with the rich sound, soaring vocals and prolific harmonies, departed the Rio Grande Valley following a great beginning to 2018, they couldn’t have mapped out a much better, or busier, remainder the year.

    And that hustle and bustle continues into 2019 as… Read More +

  • Helen Russell & Company

    20190102 Helen Russell promo3 pianoHelen Russell remembers music being a part of her family ever since she was a child, when her parents would travel to entertain and encouraged her to sing and learn to play multiple instruments starting at the age of 6.

    From that love of music she went on to… Read More +

  • Famous matadors to perform at Santa Maria Saturday

    20190109 Bull Michelito Lagravere 1567Bullfight dedicated to David Renk

    As Santa Maria Bullring, the only bullring in the United States, marks its 19th year, this weekend’s bullfight is being dedicated to the passing of American icon David Renk, “El Texano,” who left an impressive mark on the bullfighting world, performing triumphantly at the… Read More +

  • Winter Texans celebrate New Year’s Eve

    20190109 WTsCelebrate David Howard and wifeDavid Howard politely excused himself from the conversation. Time was of the essence.

    “I have to go give my wife our New Year’s kiss,” he said.

    The time was early still for South Texas standards on this day - 9:30 p.m. -… Read More +

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