What began as a big event for the Rio Grande valley and McAllen, Texas three years ago has become the largest holiday themed parade in the area. It actually holds the record as the largest illuminated event in all of Texas. That’s quite an accomplishment for this relatively small town, which ranks 21 in the most populated cities in Texas.
The town’s relatively small size didn’t stop thousands of people from flocking to see the parade on Saturday, December 3rd. One of the biggest draws this year was the attendance of many of the Dallas Cowboys. Running back Darius Jackson and wide receiver Cole Beasley were the highlights of a star-studded event. They filled in for Cowboy team member Ezekiel Elliot, who had to cancel at the last minute due to professional obligations that he could not have planned for. His cancellation didn’t put a dampener on what was the biggest McAllen holiday parade yet.
High winds and rains threatened the event somewhat. A few of the floats had to be taken down due to how violent the winds were, but the rain was light enough to amount to nothing more than a heavy drizzle for a short while. No one at the event seemed too bothered by the inclement weather, as many of them came hours early to set up and pick out the perfect spot to see the parade from.
Floats for the parade included a giant Cookie Monster peeking out of a large cookie jar and another 35 different inflatables, including some dedicated to the singer Prince and others to Mexican heritage. The inflatables were accompanied by several bands, including the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Band from A&M University. Even during the rain, attendees could hear the bands playing for miles away.
A few television, music and radio stars came out to join in the celebration, as well as someone you may know that offers FHA loans in McAllen TX (hint, hint). As the Cowboys stood on floats that traveled down the main streets and into the stadium, they were joined by the likes of soap star Marjorie de Sousa, radio personality Raul Brindis and actor Carlos Ponce, among others. There was someone famous for everyone to see. Many children begged their parents to bring them just to see the Cowboys players, but a lot of families came to see the floats and lights and hear the bands playing one jolly tune after another.
There were plenty of holiday cheer to be had at the parade, with gingerbread men floats making a big impact on the crowd and renditions of “Feliz Navidad” and other seasonal favorites playing constantly throughout the procession.
Attendees said they came for the great family time, seeing the parade as an opportunity to get everyone together and excited about the same things. They also enjoyed the food served on the sidelines of the parade. There was plenty of food to go around too, even if the vendors had to cater to more than 200,000 people in attendance.