Tuesday, August 22, 2017
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20170321 TOURIST DAY Progreso Moering IMG 6637Smiles, laughter and some final souvenir gathering were apparent throughout the Winter Tourist Appreciation Day March 21 in Nuevo Progreso, Mexico.

With sunny, balmy weather, organizers were thinking the 41st annual event might have drawn as many as 50,000 Winter Texans from across the border, which was also marked by a parade and abrazo (hug) ceremony at the center of the international bridge by officials from both sides of the border. The ceremony was intended to call attention to the bilateral international interests that exist between the border cities.

20170321 TOURIST DAY Progreso Moering DSC 0915The visitors packed blocked-off Main Street, with most receiving trinkets and samples of food and drink from merchants. Many of the Winter Texans sported straw hats with Pancho’s store name on them, like Ronda Moffatt, of Iowa, and her brother, Garen Rains and his wife, Ruth. Ronda, who’s been in the Rio Grande Valley 17 years, talked the Raines into coming three years ago and they “love the weather.” They were staying at Sunshine RV Park in Harlingen.

Beverly McCammant, from Iowa and in her 21st year here, met “Bucky the Tooth” from the St. John’s Dental Clinic, which included a decorative pin as a reminder to care for one’s teeth. She was staying at Carefree Valley Resort in Harlingen and comes to Progreso occasionally.

20170321 TOURIST DAY Progreso Moering IMG 6671Entertainers and young people decked out in Mexican dress roamed a six-block area, which was under the watchful eyes of the police. Lee and Pat Titus had their picture taken with one of the female officers. This was the final event for the couple from Oleander Acres Park in Mission, who were heading out later in the week on a route that would take them first to Mustang Island near Corpus Christi for a stay in their motor home before making it back home to Kansas. They have spent a total of eight seasons in the Valley and “love it,” according to Pat.

Guy Bowlianne, from Quebec, joined a group of young people doing a line dance on the street. He and his wife, Pearl, were newcomers, having logged just four months at the Tropic Winds Resort in Harlingen and of course the first time at Tourist Day. Pearl said they loved being in the Valley and both were emphatic about coming back next season.

20170321 TOURIST DAY Progreso Moering IMG 6658Another newcomer, retired navy seaman Albert Murray, was joined by a couple of costumed young women for a picture on the street. In coming, as first time visitors, his wife, Wanda, said, “We find the people so friendly (in the Valley.) They are from Kentucky and have been staying at Green Acres Park in Donna.

Among those coming the farthest to be a part of Tourist Day was Carl and Jill Wendt, all the way from the capitol city of Texas, a trek that started eight years ago. “We come down regularly,” Carl said. “We love it down here and we go to the dentist as well.” Jill agreed on enjoying the coming, noting their parents used to come down here. The couple, who said they were building a home north of Austin in Pflugerville, are planning to make it more convenient by bringing their RV down in the future. The couple is originally from Kansas.

20170321 TOURIST DAY Progreso Moering IMG 6638Food was a special focus for a lot of Winter Texans. Leon Green, from Winter Ranch Park in Alamo, carried a plate of tamales while walking down the street. He and his wife, Lois, have come the last six years to the Valley from Nebraska. They were joined by Neil Kanne, of Iowa and Winter Ranch.

Enjoying platters of food at the Red Snapper Restaurant were Roger Kraemer, his wife, Susan, and mother-in-law Merle Fikor, newcomers to the Valley from Nebraska. They were enticed to come by Louis Pieper, who has been coming here about 20 years from Colorado. The Kraemers, who were staying at Citrus Mobile Home Park in Edinburg, said, “We will be back again.”

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