The Texas Citrus Fiesta (TCF) will host their annual Product Costume Show this week, Saturday, January 16. The event will be held at the Mission Event Center, 2425 Ruby Red Blvd., from 1 to 4:30 p.m.
Each year, the Fiesta chooses a theme that participants carry on in their costumes. This year’s theme is Let Your Dream Blossom. Participants then walk the runway showing off their handmade creations.
The TCF Product Costume Show is not your ordinary style show. The costumes designed for this uniquely American folk-art competition must be decorated using only agricultural products grown in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Over the years, the costume designers have become more and more creative about how to prepare a variety of local ag products – including citrus, of course – to create a palette of colors for their creative whims.
All costumes must have at least 10 percent citrus, but also a variety of other products that are native to the Valley can be used. Products such as onion skin, which is often used for lace, bougainvillea leaves, for pink colors, banana leaves, palm leaves and a host of other products are used. It takes many hours to make these costumes.
Burnt citrus peel, purple onion skins, white onion skin, mesquite sawdust and dehydrated citrus leaves are just a few of the materials these creative designers use to achieve their almost magical transformation of raw materials into elaborate costumes for their models to showcase during the competition.
The designers are judged on use of Valley products, variety of products, creativity, use of citrus and adherence to the theme, among other criteria.
Costumes decorated with citrus originated in the 1930s as a marketing tool to draw national attention to the citrus industry of the Rio Grande Valley, and the tradition continues today. The Texas Citrus Fiesta has been a part of the City of Mission’s history for over 80 years. Events are held throughout the year to celebrate the harvesting of citrus across the Rio Grande Valley.
Tickets to the event are $5 per person. For more information, call (956) 585-9724. Texas Citrus Fiesta offices are located at 220 E. 9th St. in Mission.