Tuesday, May 17, 2022
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Christmas Villages, Parades and Mangers

WEB On The Road HeaderDecember is such a wonderful time of the year! Children's eyes grow big with anticipation as they wait for the opening of gifts on Christmas morning. Adults wonder how far the money can stretch and grow exasperated as they assemble special gifts and -find that one last important screw is missing. Families shop for the prettiest and freshest Christmas tree to adorn the living room. Once purchased, the boxes of ornaments that have been carefully stored will be pulled from the closets to decorate the tree. Special presentations, parades and visits from Santa Claus are planned for these special days.

The nicest thing about these special presentations is that they are free to the public so that all can enjoy. Most cities kick off the Christmas season with their annual parade generally scheduled for the first weekend of December.

This year, Brownsville was possibly one of the first cities to start the special festivities when on November 25th the lights were turned on in thirty-three miniature houses all decorated for Christmas. The presentation is outdoors at Dean Porter Park and will last for six weeks.

Now in its tenth year, the display in Brownsville started with only ten little houses. Today, there are thirty-three houses. The diminutive structures feature the historic Stillman House, Santa's Hunting & Fishing lodge, Gingerbread Bakery, General Store, Santa’s Workshop, Hanukkah by the Sea, Village Library, North Pole Clinic and the Elf’s Bunkhouse. The idea was conceived by Brownsville resident Mellena Conner. Today the event is sponsored by local businesses, government entities and foundations and it is still free to the public.

This exhibit intrigues both adults and children - adults will marvel at the craftsmanship and decorations displayed in the construction and presentation of the small houses while the youngsters will marvel at the wonder of it all. If the youth wish, they can participate in a race to see who can find the Elf on the Shelf who will be well hidden. A prize is awarded to the youth who first discovers the elf.

This venue has proven very popular in the past, but parking is at a premium. Since the exhibition will last for six weeks, perhaps the crowds will diminish after Christmas Day. If you plan your trip before Christmas, it would be wise to go early. The lights will be turned on at dark or at 6 p.m. It might be a good idea to go midafternoon or earlier with a visit to nearby Gladys Porter Zoo followed by a visit to the Holiday Village that is just across the street. Food booths are available, and the zoo even has a restaurant. Even though there is no entrance fee to the Holiday Village, there is an entry fee to the zoo both for adults and youth.

Another part of the holidays in the Valley, all of the cities will have their Christmas Parades. The one in McAllen is probably the most extravagant with special large, helium filled presentations. The parade claims to be the biggest in Texas. Special reserved stadium seats can be purchased, or you can elect to see the mile and a half long parade on the designated routes for free. The parade ends at Archer Park where, among some of the sights to behold, will be a thirty-foot-high illuminated Santa’s Castle. Even my eyes are getting bigger just thinking of that.

Many of our local churches are also preparing for Christmas ... after all, December 25 is the celebrated day of the birth of the Christ Child. Christmas trees decorate some of the churches and many will have special displays of the manger scene. One of the most complete is created by a member of St. Joan of Arc in Weslaco. Other churches may have live Nativity Scenes. The First United Methodist Church in La Feria has scheduled a live nativity scene for December 21 and 22 for evening viewing. You may know of other churches with special or outstanding manger scenes.

To bring home the meaning of Christmas, perhaps a children’s birthday celebration for the Christ Child could be in order with a star shaped birthday cake and a special visit to a church with a Nativity scene.

Let your imagination run wild just as the lady in Brownsville did when she initiated the Holiday Village or just as the McAllen Assistant City Manager did when he dreamed of the largest parade in Texas.

Brownsville Holiday Village is open

By Herb Moeringdsc 0205 brownsville holiday village

“Five...four...three...two...one” and at the end of the countdown the lights blinked on Monday evening, November 25, for the 10th season of the popular Holiday Village in Brownsville.

The yuletide lighting ceremony of the 33 small cottages in Dean Porter Park drew hundreds of spectators, who were treated to Christmas music by the Sabas Band on the big stage before the lights went on for the first time. Visitors were invited to have one of the thousand free Krispy Kreme donuts handed out, plus participate in a drawing for $1,000 in door prizes. There were also nearly a dozen food vendors on hand as well for those who were hungry and thirsty.

Once the lights went on the crowd turned to looking in the windows of the cottages, including the newest one, the Toy Hospital with its stuffed animals in need of fixing up, which was sponsored by Valley Baptist Medical Center.

Besides the “hospital” the village contains all the buildings one would expect to find in a community and a few unexpected ones, including a courthouse, bank, dental office, gingerbread bakery, sweet shop, accountant’s office, library, holiday mart, Santa’s fisherman shack, dance studio, elf bunkhouse, tree farm and Santa’s workshop.

A number of them are modeled after some of Brownsville’s historic structures, such as Immaculate Conception Cathedral of 1859 and a Victorian home. A couple unusual ones are the school bus and Santa’s Holiday in Space.

Visitors will come from all over the Rio Grande Valley as well as Mexico to see the lighted village. Winter Texans from all over the U.S. and Canada also make up a huge junk of the crowds.dsc 0228 brownsville holiday village

One of those in the crowd was Mellena Connor, who originated the idea of a holiday village in 2009 after seeing something similar that was done in a city in Utah. The Holiday Village was part of her vision to bring something wonderful to the community as part of a renovated Dean Porter Park that now includes the Camille Playhouse and Children’s Museum. The Brownsville native headed the village cottage project for the first six years.

And then the Holiday Village Brownsville Committee members took over, with Laurie Ray taking on the chairmanship in 2015. Ray, who has her own cottage, the library, noted all the cottages are designed by a local architect. About a third of them have been constructed through a Youth Build program for high school students.

The family-friendly attraction remains free to the public through its funding by grants and sponsors. This year’s sponsors included HEB Helping Here, Mitte Foundation, Parra Furniture, Valley Baptist Medical Brownsville, Village Accountants, Big Give Brownsville and City Parks and Recreation. Cottage sponsorships normally run for five years, Ray said, and most usually renewing the commitment year after year.

The retired librarian says her volunteer job is a year-round effort. It begins in January, assessing the condition of each cottage. Which ones will need refurbishing and do sponsors want to add items to the interior displays? Then there are the cottage sponsorship renewals to check out during the year along with who will be major sponsors.

She has seven other volunteers working with her and three or four more who come part-time starting in the fall each year. They see to the parade of cottages through Brownsville from their storage site in a part of the city’s warehouse at the airport. Each 8 by 10-foot building, which are limited to 14 feet in height, are mounted on wooden pallets. That allows for moving them about and placing them on site.

The only missing element on opening night was Fritter the tiny elf, based on a book about a home with an elf on a shelf, watching a child’s behavior that might be reported to Santa. Fritter didn’t make a hide and seek appearance inside one of the cottages until November 29. Children are encouraged to look for him at a cottage and have a picture taken with him for posting on Facebook, that would enter them in a drawing for daily or weekly prizes provided by Krispy Kreme donuts.

The on-going event, with lots of picture opportunities, also will include local dance and school groups, choirs and others appearing at the park. Check the HolidayVillageBrownsville.com website for listings of the various groups over the next four weeks. And for the kids, Santa Claus will be at the gazebo and available for free pictures every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night in December.

Holiday Village will be open through January 1 with hours from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. The lights come on at 6 p.m. each evening.

Frio McAllen opens; Parade this weekend

img 9827 frio mcallen 20191204Piercelyn Murray, 8, stared at the green candy dot in her hand.

“Do we need this piece for anything,” she asked.

Her younger sister, Andrea Flores, immediately responded “it goes here.” Then she licked some icing from their gingerbread house off her finger. The piece of candy made it onto the house, but another one soon disappeared, and the look of mischievous victory suddenly glowed from Piercelyn's face.

Victory, excitement and laughter could be heard all over the McAllen Convention Center grounds as Frio – a Winter Fiesta full of thrills, funs and photo opportunities for all ages – got underway at the McAllen Convention Center and its oval park last week.

As thousands of Winter Texans have arrived or are on the trek south to escape the cold and snowy north, they'll be glad to know that if they miss that weather too much, there's always Frio. There's ice, real snow, ice skating and more inside the convention center. Outside – just in case one doesn't want to relive, or get a taste, of what life is like up north during the winter months – there's food, castles, swans, penguins and so much more.

“This is real nice,” said Helen Cepeda, who was with her family celebrating her seventh birthday at the event during its opening weekend. “I got to ride down the penguin slide and make a snowman.”

McAllen also has a 64-foot pre-lit Christmas tree, that stands near the entrance of oval park in the Palms Crossing shopping center. The entire park area and convention center has been transformed into a colorful, bright and cheery winter display (all the bright sides of winter as opposed to the shoveling of snow, melting of ice and bundling in layers like the true north) as the city has become the “official South Pole of Texas.”

People from all over the Valley visited during the first weekend of festivities at the convention center.

Jesuse Cantu and his family came from just down the road in Mission. They had yet to visit the indoor events though, enjoying the spectacular outdoor displays.

“I really like the swans,” Ryleigh Cantu said. “They're so pretty.”

There are a variety of ticket packages for the event, which runs daily until Jan. 6. A general admission ticket costs $4.95 but there are bundled packages to fit different size families and a variety of the attractions, including unlimited rides on the Pinguino Plunge Ice Mountain.

For more information, visit www.friomcallen.com.img 9832 frio mcallen 20191204

PARADE THIS WEEKEND

The McAllen Holiday Parade is right around the corner, and organizers are continuing to unveil new exciting features that will delight attendees, all in the spirit of the magical holiday. Kicking off this year’s parade on Saturday, December 7, will be a Holiday Musical Extravaganza, that will feature international singing sensation Mane de la Parra, joined by five hundred fourth and fifth grade choir students from McAllen ISD, and the Valley Symphony Orchestra. Also, part of the Extravaganza will be a Tuba Christmas, as well as local dance group sensation, Razz Matazz. Singing cultural and holiday favorites, the performance will start at 5:30 p.m., in mid-field of McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium. The performance will be complete with a dazzling fireworks display and decorations that will bring the South Pole of Texas theme to life. A ticket is required for the Extravaganza, but is included in the VIP Stadium Parade seating ticket.

“Each year, we find new ways to make the McAllen Holiday Parade, presented by H-E-B, bigger and better than ever,” said McAllen Mayor Jim Darling. “Everyone who experiences the parade leaves with smiles of wonder and awe and this year will be no different, seeing our own McAllen ISD kids performing with such an iconic and world-renowned celebrity. I really can’t wait!”

Getting to the parade will not be difficult, as the City of McAllen, in partnership with South Texas College, will offer a free McAllen Holiday Parade Park and Ride Polar Express Shuttle from the STC campus on Pecan Boulevard and 29th Street. Starting at 12 p.m. on Saturday, December 7, trolleys will make a continuous loop approximately every 10 minutes, from the pick-off point at STC at 31st Street and Quince Avenue, that will take parade and Christmas in the Park goes to the parade drop-off/pick-up point at Quince Avenue and 23rd Street. The Park and Ride Polar Express Shuttle will run until 12 a.m. People with disabilities, including those in regular or motorized wheelchairs and walkers, should utilize the ADA shuttle pick-up point from 31st Street and FM 495. Strollers are welcome, as are service dogs.

The McAllen Holiday Parade has been named the Best Parade in the World and the Best Parade in Texas, three times. The McAllen Holiday Parade features 55 floats that boast a wattage power of 153,000 watts from just under five miles of rope light; 39 giant character balloons utilize 34,000 cubic feet of helium; and 50 vehicles provide 12,000 horsepower to pull floats along the streets of McAllen.

This year’s McAllen Holiday Parade will be held on Saturday, December 7, 2019, stepping off at 6 p.m. from McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium, 2001 North Bicentennial Boulevard and is generally thought of as the best seat in the house. General admission and reserved tickets are now on sale. General admission tickets are $10 and are exclusively for the east side of the stadium, while reserved tickets are for $20 or $35 for the west side of the stadium.

Tickets may be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com; expect additional service charges or at face value at the McAllen Convention Center Box Office, located at 700 Convention Center Boulevard. VIP chairs along the route are available for $8 or free seating is found on a first come basis. Go to www.mcallenholidayparade.com for tickets and information.

Quinta Mazatlan preparing for Illumina Fest

Quinta Mazatlan is preparing for their First Annual Illumina Fest that will be held on December 13 and 14, from 7 to 10 p.m. Thousands of luminaries will line the forest path. The two-night event is an interactive global celebration of light, recognizing a world of holidays.

The interactive festival will feature the amazing Media Artist Joel Laviolette of Austin, Flowbotic-LED & Fire Dancers of San Antonio, as well as many local community choirs and instrumentalists.

In addition to visits with Santa Claus, attendees will travel the trails and get a glimpse of how the world celebrates with light across the seven continents. From Africa’s Kwanzaa candelabra to Asia’s lanterns in the water. Food and drinks will be available for sale by local vendors.

If you are interested in learning about sponsorship opportunities for Illumina Fest, contact Colleen Hook at (956) 681-3370 or chook@mcallen.net. Advanced tickets sales will be available. Both presale and onsite ticket purchases will be available at $5 per person. For more information about the fest visit www.quintamazatlan.com.

Nostalgic Christmas Tree Forest, Annual Tradition at IMAS

20191127 imas christmas tree 01The halls of the International Museum of Art & Science (IMAS) are heavy with anticipation for the annual exhibition of community-decorated Christmas trees. The Christmas Tree Forest is a five-decade tradition originating shortly after the opening of the 53-year-old museum, then the McAllen International Museum or MIM. This annual holiday event is the brainchild of the IMAS Guild which began the tradition of organizing community entries featuring a unique tree resplendent with hand-made ornaments and decorations showcasing the chosen theme.

As a nod to the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Lunar landing and the popularity of the Space Age, this year’s theme is Nostalgic Christmas of the 60s and 70s. Entering school and community groups are encouraged to incorporate Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Science (STEAM) along with a spirit of goodwill. Trees will be decorated in the days leading up to the November 24th opening. The public is invited to attend the awards ceremony on December 8, at 2 p.m. when the IMAS Guild with the help of a celebrity panel of judges this year – Dora Brown, Senior Vice President and Marketing Manager of IBC Bank; Albert Alaniz, Owner of JohnAlbert Talent and Models Agency and A JohnAlbert Salon; and Charles E. Thompson, Jr., long-time museum supporter – will announce the winning trees. This esteemed panel are all McAllen citizens with a heart for the community.

“As a community-created museum, IMAS is honored to partner with community groups in presenting the traditions and cultures of the people in the RGV,” said Ann Fortescue, IMAS Executive Director. “Museums have important roles in their communities to serve as crossroads of discovery where audiences of all ages are invited and encouraged to learn through museum experiences.”

Community engagement is year-round at the IMAS. Student art exhibitions from both McAllen ISD and Sharyland ISD are featured annually in the Welcome Pavilion. This year, the UTRGV philosophy department is presenting a series of community talks at the museum exploring the connections between art and science. Cultural festivals and events are presented in collaboration with community organizations and groups. The exhibition of community-created Dia de los Muertos altars anchor the annual celebration of this popular event, and Lunar New Year engages Asian communities in the RGV who come together to share their cultural traditions of welcoming in a New Year. Lunar New Year will be celebrated at the IMAS on Saturday, February 8, 2020.

The Christmas Tree Forest will be on exhibit November 24, through January 4, 2020, in the Welcome Pavilion of the IMAS and is included with daily General Admission. Sunday admission is free thanks to the support of a grant from the H-E-B Tournament of Champions.

The museum is located at the intersection of Bicentennial Way and Nolana Avenue at 1900 W. Nolana in McAllen, Texas. Hours of operation are closed Mondays; Tuesday to Thursday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. On the first Thursday of each month, IMAS is open until 8 p.m. Log onto https://www.theimasonline.org or call (956) 681-2800 for more information.

A Tejano Christmas Carol plays at Pharr Community Theater

20191117 tejano christmas carol 03Have you ever stopped to consider, what would happen in the RGV if the Rio Grande (river) dried up? Would it be a catastrophe? Would we be a thirsty region?

“In reality most people take the river for granted when it comes to acknowledging it’s most important resource,” says Pharr Community Theater Artistic Director Pedro Garcia.

“I happen to be a large fan of el Rio Grande and it’s nearly 1,900 miles of trajectory starting in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado, running south through the entire length of New Mexico, down to El Paso, where it bends southeastward on its way to the Gulf of Mexico via Boca Chica in Brownsville. In our play the river has a lead role, so to speak.”

A Tejano Christmas Carol is a comedic and dramatic play where Mr. Ezequiel Codos (a scrooge equivalent) is a powerful, avarice RGV attorney and water broker. For some time now Mr. Codos has been brewing up plans to sell large amounts of water rights from his vast property along both sides of the river.

“This deal is gonna make me a multi-millionaire”, he says to his nephew and water rights activist, Beto, played by Danilo Zepeda, from Edinburg, who invites him to Christmas dinner in spite of his rudeness.

Of course, many of us know the Charles Dickens story from which the play is adapted including visits by ghosts. In this tale the ghost of Christmas past is La Rielera de la Revolución Mexicana played by veteran stage actress, Armandina Sesin, from Mission.

“I’ve performed the role of La Rielera for the last four years and I always have a good time as my character tries to instill some good sense into the tight-fisted Mr. Codos.”

Even the late, great conductor/composer Laurence Welk makes a youthful appearance as a ghost played by 16-year-old Frankie Sharp Hooton from Weslaco.

“He’s a popularized 1950’s-1970’s TV entertainer, he performed lots of music and interviews but mostly he was a big band conductor, an orchestra person. From the research I did, he seemed like a fun guy although a mono-tonal person which I’m not, but I had to learn how to dial it down while racking it up at the same time. For me it’s a difficult role to play but ultimately the part is doable with practice and a whole lot of fun.”

The two-act family play, in English, is set in 2007 when the RGV had a big snowfall on Christmas eve. The play returns to Pharr by popular demand with a local cast of nearly 20 adults and children combined and is directed by Seres Jaime Magaña. Claudia Jimenez is stage manager and longtime Screen Actor Guild member Pedro Garcia, co-produces and plays Codos for the 4th year in a row.

“Next time I’ll be glad to give up the fun role to someone else and see another local actor take a turn at it,” said Garcia with a chuckle.

“It’s a family play for the holiday with a grand message and something fun to watch for this season, plus we have a versatile, creative and disciplined cast,” added director Magaña.

A Tejano Christmas Carol plays December 4-8, at Pharr Community Theater, 213 W. Newcombe Ave., Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets are only $5 students, seniors and military or $8 general admission. Seating is limited to 55 persons per show and tickets will be sold at the door starting one hour before curtain upon availability. You may also reserve your advance tickets by texting or calling (956) 239-0412 or (956) 655-9308

A final show will be held on Thursday, December 12, at 7:30 p.m. at the spacious Pharr Events Center at 3000 N Cage Blvd. Tickets will remain the same price.

UTRGV to Ballet Folklórico de la Universidad Veracruzana

20191127 utrgv folkloricoRIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – The UTRGV Center for Latin American Arts will present an evening with the Ballet Folklórico de la Universidad Veracruzana, 7 p.m. December 7 in the Performing Arts Complex on the Edinburg Campus and Dec. 8 at the TSC Performing Arts Center in Brownsville.

The world-renowned ballet folklórico will present its show, “Raices de mi pueblo,” a performance that honors Mexico’s beautiful cultural traditions through dance and music.

Dr. Steven Block, dean of the College of Fine Arts; Dr. Katherine Moore McAllen, director of the center; and Miguel Peña, director of the UTRGV Ballet Folklórico program, have invited the celebrated ballet folklórico dance company from Veracruz, Mexico, to present performances at UTRGV.

Guest performers will offer two shows open to the public and will team with UTRGV university students and dance professors to host ballet folklórico dance clinics for students at various public schools throughout the Valley.

The clinics will be held at different studios in several high schools, including PSJA Southwest, La Joya High School, Dancentre of Edinburg, Edinburg North, Economedes, Hidalgo Early College, Edinburg, Valley View High School, PSJA North Early College, Juarez Lincoln, and PSJA Memorial.

The dance company also will give three large clinics at the UTRGV dance studios at both campuses.

The Center for Latin American Arts hopes this event will engage the community and create a greater awareness and appreciation for Mexican culture and traditions. All proceeds from the ticket sales support future programming projects at the Center and enable the CLAA to fund faculty and student research initiatives and provide salaries of graduate student staff members.

Tickets, available at http://patron.utrgv.edu/CLAA, are $20 for general admission and $15 for students and seniors.

Event contacts are McAllen at CLLA@utrgv.edu or katherine.mcallen@utrgv.edu and Peña at miguel.pena@utrgv.edu.

For more information, visit https://www.utrgv.edu/claa, https://www.facebook.com/UTRGVCLAA or https://www.utrgv.edu/cofa

VMHS Harlequins rock out with Rock of Ages production

Let the VMHS Harlequins take you back in time with their production featuring music from some of the best 1980's musical groups.

Come out and Rock with the VMHS Harlequins as they present the Broadway Rock and Roll spectacular Rock of Ages! With music from Journey, Foreigner, Guns and Roses and more, this is a show that you don't want to miss.

Performances will be held at the VMHS Performing Arts Center on December 5 through 7 at 7p.m. Tickets will be available for purchase at the VMHS Front Office from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. beginning on Monday, December 2. Tickets can also be purchased when doors open at 6:30 p.m. on show nights. Ticket prices are $10 for adults and $5 for students.

Even a nickel multiplies

WEB On The Road HeaderThanksgiving is here. It's a special time when all of us can give thanks for our lives and the many blessings that we have received. Then it is Christmas – a wonderful time of year when families get together and share the excitement of opening gifts among family and friends. And before we know it, it is December 31, New Year's Eve, and time for us to look back over the past year at what we have done and what we failed to do. Most of all, we need to look forward to what we will do in the coming new year.

The new year, 2020, is truly upon us! As we meditate on our blessings, perhaps we should examine how we have shared those blessings with others. Perhaps we are using the excuse that we have so little to share, it wouldn't make a difference. Not true! Over time, a little at a time can add up to a whole, whole lot!

For example, let's look at what a difference the Minten Sisters have made with their gifts to Driscoll Children's Hospital. The three sisters, Dorothy, Esther, and Janie, have made a huge difference with their sharing during the past years. In 1976, they had decorated their entire home with their collection of Christmas memorabilia kept from their childhoods and into their adult years. To all of these they had added many new decorations. They had a couple of parties and an open house that year for family and friends. The next year, they had the parties but needed to have two open houses to accommodate all the family and friends who wanted to see all the different things they had collected during the past year.

By 1981, they were having six open houses plus several other parties with over 600 people attending. Before sending out the invitations for the 1982 events, the three sisters and their parents (now deceased) decided to make these parties count for something. It was decided that the family would give $2 for every guest that attended that Christmas. By 1986, so many people had heard about their Christmas decorations and the imaginative, creative way in which they displayed them in their ranch home, that they were prompted to open their home for public tours by reservation only. (Do not just drive up to their home unannounced! You must have reservations or be part of a pre-arranged tour.)

Their home became known as The Christmas House, and next door in the farmhouse, their grandfather had built in 1926, they opened a year 'round Christmas store called Santa's Texas Workshop. Now, the sisters (Dorothy aged 92, Esther, 88, and Janie, 75) are currently in their 34th year of having their home open to the public. They are still raising money for Driscoll Children's Hospital.

How have they done this? There are several ways--$1 from each modest entrance fee charged to paying guests; $2 for each non-paying guest (family, close friends, paying guests who return for subsequent tours during the same season). The sisters share the latter by adding their 1/3 to their own personal donations which they give annually.

Then there is the ORGAN FUND. In 1993, a guest from McAllen jokingly gave Dorothy a nickel "tip" for playing the antique pump organ. Dorothy didn't want her to do that, so she told the lady that she would make sure that the nickel would be given to Driscoll at the end of the season. Other guests left money on the organ during the remainder of the season, so it became a separate way to raise money. Since then, every year, guests at the first tour of each season have started the Organ Fund, and tour guests have perpetuated it to the tune of a grand total of $91,590.46. Every penny of that Organ Fund goes to Driscoll Children's Hospital to help children in South Texas who have heart problems. It is part of the grand total, $360,025, raised since 1982. It is proof that everyone makes a difference.

According to Janie Minten, some of their most generous guests who contribute to the Organ Fund are the students from La Gloria School, a small elementary school founded in 1909 to serve the educational needs of the rural ranching/farming community. (The Minten Sisters grandfather was one of the three founders). Five generations of Minten family descendants have attended that school, and Dorothy and Esther came back after college and each taught there for over 30 years each!

Every year, the sisters invite the school to bring each of their classes (pre-k through 6th grade) to tour the Christmas House. All of those children are admitted free, but they love to bring donations to put on the organ. They also love to shop the after Christmas ½-price sale after their tour of the house. When paying, if they have change coming, most of them say, "Just keep the change, I want to help the children who are sick!" That money is always added to the Organ Fund!

So, what started in 1982, as a small donation from the Minten Family has now become a sizeable amount contributed to by thousands of people during the years. What started as a nickel donation on the organ has contributed a grand total that is now getting close to $400,000.00. None of us have so little that we cannot share what little we have. We, too, can make a difference!

Over time, even a nickel multiplies and continues to multiply. Let us all share our talents and our blessings and remember what Charles Dickens said through the character of Scrooge, "I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year!"

Weslaco celebrates 100 years

20191127 welaco 100 01Standing tall in downtown Weslaco is a 100-foot-tall water tower, El Tinaco. Completed in 1941, it was a marvel of modern construction. The tower, standing on six concrete pillars, is crowned in gemstone lights, showing the pride of Weslaco. In 1982, the Texas Historical Commission placed a marker on the tower, a testament of the heart of the community, says Mayor David Suarez. As tall as the tower stands, Weslaco is now prepared to celebrate their centennial on December 10 with events planned the entire week preceding the birthday.

A Little History

The history of the city goes back to 1790, to the original land grant owner Juan Jose Ynojosa de Balli. At his death, the land was divided between his children. The land that is now Weslaco went to his daughters Manuela and Maria. The family maintained and ranched the land until 1852. By 1904, the railway was extending to the area. Most of the land was purchased by the American Rio Grande Land and Irrigation Company by 1913.

The irrigation company sold 30,000 acres at $90 an acre to the W.E. Stewart Land Company on December 14, 1917. Here is where the name WESLaCo derived. The town site was then sold to Ed C. Couch, Dan R. Couch, R.C. Couch and R.L. Reeves. Two of the men backed out of the venture before it was platted on September 18, 1919. Nearby communities actually circulated flyers discouraging settlement at the proposed town. The sale of lots was held on December 10, 1919.

How was the land sold? Prices ranged from $50 to $400 per lot. If you were interested in a lot, all you had to do was camp out on it until the day of sale. Church groups received free lots. During the sale, three cars were also given away.

And so, the City of Weslaco began. Today, Weslaco is a city with a population with its own government, police and fire department, parks, schools and commercial endeavors. It is a city of diverse people and strong service, charitable and civic organizations.

Now the city is inviting the Valley to help them celebrate their 100 years.

Events

The city has a huge lineup of events planned from December 4-10. The events include a Pioneer Families Exhibit at the museum, guided tours, entertainment, a BBQ cook off, and so much more. Christmas events will also be held during the week including their tree lighting ceremony on December 4 at Weslaco City Hall at 7 p.m.; Carolers and a book reading by Mrs. Clauson 

Entertainment

Saturday, December 7 and 8, 12 to 4 p.m., at the Weslaco Museum; a Christmas Carol Sing-Along on Sunday; and a Christmas Tree Forest at the Performing Arts Center on December 9 and 10.20191127 weslaco 100 03

Entertainment at the event features Ruthi, Jeff Gordon, Legendzz Band and Chris Marshall.

Jeff Gordon is a charismatic entertainer who captivates audiences with his vocal ability singing rock n’ roll and country spanning from 1950-1980. He is also known for his Tom Jones and Elvis impersonation shows. He will be performing on Saturday, December 7, from 2 to 5 p.m.

Ruthi is an award-winning singer/songwriter who has been well known to the Valley for over 10 years. Ruthi’s Rock-n-Country offers upbeat country and rock, killer slow songs and blues. She performs from 12 to 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 7.

Legendzz Band is one of the hottest variety bands in the Rio Grande Valley. The play a wide array of hits from the most popular genres of music. They perform from 1 to 3 p.m. on Sunday, December 8.

Chris Marshall has lit up stages and studios since 2002 with his signature guitar-work, lyrics, and vocals. He performs classic country and rock. He performs on Sunday, December 8 from 4-6 p.m.

Also, on the entertainment lineup is Frankie Jr. y Grupo Caballero, who will bring their own version and spin on the style of Tejano and Conjunto. They perform 6 to 8 p.m. on Sunday, December 8.

SA Lights, a touring classic rock tribute act with a light show, will feature three tribute performances to Journey, The Eagles and Mana. They will also cover all genres of classic rock, Spanish rock and country rock. The band has opened for every headliner of the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo since 2013. The perform on Saturday, December 7, from 8 to 11 p.m.

Other entertainment will include a Street Dance Through the Years; poetry readings, a fashion show, documentary films, lectures, mariachis, and magician Oscar Munoz.

Parades

A Weslaco Centennial Christmas Parade will be held on Texas Blvd. from Pike to 6th St. on December 7 at 10 a.m. The parade will feature highlights of Weslaco’s 100 years. Ce

lebrate Weslaco through the decades while watching the parade. Register with the chamber to participate.

Weslaco will also hold a costume parade on December 8 at 4 p.m. The parade will be held near the downtown fire station. A revived tradition, fun-loving families and individuals with people-friendly pets dressed in family-friendly costumes can join the walking parade. Pets are not required. Prizes will be awarded. Refer to the website for entry forms.

Cook Off

The weekend will feature an IBCA BBQ Cook Off on December 7 and 8. It will be held in downtown Weslaco at Kansas and Bus. 83. The cook off will be all about chicken, ribs and brisket. There will also be beans, fajitas and pan de campo.

For a full schedule of events and full details of dates and times, visit weslaco100.org.For more information on the cook off, and how to enter, call or text (956) 650-2842, or email Weslaco100@gmail.com. Entry forms can be found online at Weslaco.org.

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