Christmas In the Park 2017

Santa Arrives In McAllen

McAllen Holiday Parade to Bring Out the Stars

H-E-B, Kraft promotion offers families chance to get free VIP stadium tickets to parade

(McAllen, TX) This year’s award-winning McAllen Holiday Parade promises to be a star-studded event with none other than Dallas Cowboys current players, as well as legendary fan favorites who will be coming down to lend some of their blue and silver star power to the McAllen Holiday Parade, awarded earlier this year as Best Parade in the World (IFEA, 2017) and Best Parade in Texas (TFEA, 2017). Additionally, starting today, Rio Grande Valley and South Texas border residents will have a a chance to receive free tickets by simply purchasing Kraft family favorites at H-E-B stores throughout the Texas border.

This year’s , Dallas Cowboys making an appearance at the award-winning parade include:

  • DeMarcus Lawrence,defensive end, #90, Dallas Cowboys;
  • Ryan Switzer, punt return specialist, #10, Dallas Cowboys;
  • as well as former four time Pro-Bowl Super Bowl Champion Tony Hill, wide receiver, #80, Dallas Cowboys;
  • and former four time Pro-Bowl Super Bowl Champion and former Heisman Trophy winner Tony Dorsett, running back, #33, Dallas Cowboys.

“After the overwhelming response we received last year from the entire Rio Grande Valley when we announced that members of the Dallas Cowboys would be participating as grand marshal and special guests at the McAllen Holiday Parade, there was no question in our mind we had to continue bringing players from America’s Team to continue to be a part of the McAllen Holiday Parade, ” said McAllen Mayor Jim Darling. “A sea of blue and silver dominated the 250,000-plus crowd who turned out to catch a glimpse of their Dallas Cowboys. There is no doubt that the Rio Grande Valley IS Dallas Cowboy Country and we expect no less from the fans again this year. I, in particular, am excited to see the legends come be a part of our parade, because I have been a fan of the Dallas Cowboys for a long, long time now. ”

The Cowboys will be featured on different floats along the route, allowing fans an opportunity to see their favorite current Dallas Cowboys players throughout the parade.

“Bert Ogden & Fiesta Dealerships is proud to once again be the official vehicle sponsor of the McAllen Holiday Parade, pulling with over 11,250 horsepower from the 45 trucks used to pull the floats,” said Robert Vackar, owner, Bert Ogden & Fiesta Dealerships, Rio Grande Valley. “There’s nothing more special than seeing kids and families enjoying such a great annual tradition not only here in McAllen but also, for the entire Rio Grande Valley. Bert Ogden is incredibly proud to be supporting the fourth annual McAllen Holiday Parade and we look forward to seeing it grow each year, as we pull it along, of course.”

Getting a chance to see not only these stars, but also, the illuminated floats, larger-than-life helium balloons and amazing performing bands up-close and personal is one of the advantages of stadium seating. For a family wanting to maximize their dollars during the holiday, one of the best ways to get tickets to the stadium is to take advantage of an incredible promotion being offered by Kraft at Texas border H-E-B stores.

“We are honored to celebrate the reason for the season with our beloved McAllen community during the most anticipated holiday event of the year,” said Tony Gonzalez, Director of Merchandising and Marketing H-E-B Border Region. “This exclusive partnership is our way of saying thank you to the community for their continued support of H-E-B throughout the Rio Grande Valley.”

Starting on November 8, visit your local H-E-B store and purchase three participating Kraft/ products. Those products are: Maxwell House Coffee; Kool-Aid Jammers; Kraft Salad Dressing, 16 oz; Kraft Mayonnaise, 30 oz; Miracle Whip Dressing, 30 oz; Kraft Shredded Cheese, 8 oz; and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Cups, 4 count.

Take your H-E-B cash register receipt to the McAllen Convention Center, located at 700 Convention Boulevard to redeem your receipt for a ticket to the parade. The promotion continues through November 28, but supplies are limited. Tickets are offered on a first come, first serve basis.

“Once again, the Kraft Heinz family of products is honored to partner with H-E-B and the McAllen Holiday Parade in bringing such signature event to the community, filled with holiday cheer, delicious food and fun entertainment for the entire family,” said Judy Anderson, Kraft Heinz Company South Area Shopper Marketing Lead. “Along with H-E-B, we continue our long-term commitment of serving the community of McAllen. We look forward to building on the parade’s success from last year and are excited to join in the celebration of this year’s festive holiday tradition!”

Finally, as a special treat, Telemundo, Channel 40, the Rio Grande Valley’s leading prime time network, is bringing their own special guest to this year’s parade. Fans of Dra. Ana Maria Polo, whose show continues to rank number one in the market will get to see the famed 20-year veteran TV personality on the Telemundo float and possibly, in various locations thoughout McAllen.

The international award-winning McAllen Holiday Parade will be held on Saturday, December 2, 2017 and is the largest illuminated holiday and helium balloon parade in Texas. The parade features 50 vibrant lighted floats, 40 larger-than-life inflatable character balloons, bands and a celebrity filled line-up and this year, features the musical theme of Entertainment on Parade.

The one and a half mile long parade route begins at 6:00 p.m., starting from McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium, 2001 North Bicentennial Boulevard, where reserved seating is available and heads south on Bicentennial Boulevard to Business U.S. Business 83, where free seating is available along the route on a first come, first serve basis.

Stadium seating tickets are also available for purchase at the McAllen Convention Center, a free Park & Ride Polar Express Shuttle will be offered by Metro McAllen at South Texas College and volunteers are needed for the event. For more information on the parade and related activities, visit

The holiday fun kicks off on Thursday, November 30 with the Hearts of America Carnival at Christmas in the Park, at Municipal Park, 1921 Bicentennial Boulevard. Take advantage of half-price unlimited carnival rides wristbands, a $20 value, currently on sale for $10 at:

  • City of McAllen Parks & Recreation Department, 1000 S. Ware Road;
  • City of McAllen Parks & Recreation Community Centers, including: : Lark at 2601 Lark Avenue; La Palmas at 1921 N. 25th Street; and Palmview at 3401 Jordan Road West;
  • McAllen Chamber of Commerce, 1200 Ash Avenue; and
  • select Mcallen I.S.D. locations.

Christmas in the Park officially opens on Friday, December 1, 2017 and is a is a prelude to the much-anticipated McAllen Holiday Parade and features free admission, food, fun, vendors and, plenty of attraction and entertainment for the whole family.

There, attendees will get a chance to enter into the much-lauded Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame Museum, being featured for the first time at Christmas in the Park both Friday and Saturday, thanks to the Peña Eye Institue, the Rio Grande Valley’s Official IntraLASIK Surgen of the Dallas Cowboys. The traveling exhibit is a fan favorite among die-hard Dallas Cowboys fans, featuring various memorabilia. Entrance into the museum is free.

Another highlight of Christmas in the Park includes the free concnert with multiple Grammy-award winning artists David Lee Garza y Los Musicales and Jimmy Gonzalez y Super Grupo Mass performing on Friday night. Families will also be able to see the helium balloons that will be a part of the parade the next evening be inflated.


America’s Team, Stars to Shine Bright at Christmas in the Park

Peña Eye Institute to bring out Dallas Cowboys memorabilia

Carnival, Grammy-award winning entertainment will be part of three-day holiday event

(McAllen, TX) Residents looking to kick off the holiday season under the stars can do that by celebrating at Christmas in the Park. Located at Municipal Park, 1921 N. Bicentennial Boulevard, right next door to McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium, Christmas in the Park is a prelude to the much-anticipated McAllen Holiday Parade and features food, fun, vendors and, thanks to sponsor Dr. Raul A. Peña and Peña Eye Institute and media partner R Communications, plenty of attraction and entertainment for the whole family.

While the fun this year will kick off with a carnival winter spectacular on Thursday, November 30, the excitement continues the next evening, Friday, December 1, when the family-friendly event officially opens its doors, starting at 5:00 p.m. There, attendees will get a chance to enter into the much-lauded Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame Museum, being featured for the first time at Christmas in the Park thanks to the Dr. Peña. The traveling exhibit is a fan favorite among die-hard Dallas Cowboys fans, featuring various memorabilia. Entrance into the museum is free.

The Dallas Cowboys On Tour is a mobile program dedicated to bringing the Cowboys experience to the fans. This one-of-a-kind attraction provides an interactive opportunity for all fans to enjoy. The Hall of Fame Museum is filled with exhibits depicting the history of the Dallas Cowboys including: Super Bowl trophies and rings; Super Bowl MVP lockers; historic uniforms; Tom Landry display; seven flat-screen monitors; jumbo screen; life-size statues of Bob Lilly and Emmitt Smith; and much more! During the McAllen Holiday Parade on Saturday night, be on the lookout for the Peña Eye Institute float, which is a replica of the Dallas Cowboys home stadium and will feature America’s Sweethearts, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders and that smiling Cowboy mascot himself, Rowdy. Starting today, fans will get a chance to become entered into a drawing to be one of the lucky few who will get an autograph and photo session with the cheerleaders, thanks to Peña Eye Institute. Listen to any one of the McAllen Holiday Parade media partners for chances to win.

“Being a part of the McAllen Holiday Parade, which is becoming such a special part of the Christmas tradition for families here in the Rio Grande Valley is really exciting for Peña Eye Institute,” said Dr. Peña. “We are proud of the eye care we provide the community and being the Rio Grande Valley’s Official IntraLASIK Surgeon of the Dallas Cowboys. ” “Additionally, we are especially proud to be able to extend the relationship that we have with America’s Team, the Dallas Cowboys, to bring that excitement to the festivities at Christmas in the Park and the magic to this year’s McAllen Holiday Parade,” he concluded.

However, the Dallas Cowboys and Cheerleaders aren’t the only stars that will be shining brightly at Christmas in the Park. R Communications, home of Super Tejano 102.1 FM, Digital 101.5 FM, La Ley 102.5 FM La Lupe 89.1 FM and KURV-710 AM, as well as RTV, PBS and COZI, will be bringing not one, TWO major Grammy-award winning and nominated artists to the stage at Christmas in the Park for Friday night. And the best part? It is free for the whole family.

Starting at 9:00 p.m., the living legend and group that has spawned the careers of several of Tejano’s largest artists, Mr. David Lee Garza y Los Musicales. A multi-Grammy and Tejano Music Award winning artist, Garzy Y Los Musicales are fan favorites throughout the Rio Grande Valley, Texas and Northern Mexico, developing a cult-following with their fans because of their unparalleled musicianship, smooth vocals, catchy tunes and of course, that one-of-a-kind accordion sound that continues to produce hit after hit.

“We are so excited to be coming to McAllen to be a part of the line-up at Christmas in the Park where we have so many great fans from throughout the Rio Grande Valley,” said David Lee Garza. “Christmas is such a special time and it brings joy to our hearts to be able to bring joy to the hearts of kids who are going to have a magical Christmas this year.” Also taking the stage after DLG is Brownsville’s own Jimmy Gonzalez y Grupo Mazz. With a lyrical voice and song-writing skills to match, and a roomful of awards to match, Jimmy continues to prove why, decade after decade, he packs every music hall and concert venue he performs at.

As a special treat, McAllen Holiday Parade organizers will be offering a balloon inflation demonstration of some of the characters that will be featured the next day during Christmas in the Park on Friday evening as well. Come watch the amazing process to turn the flat balloons into the giant characters that wow the crowds as they come lumbering down the parade route. During this year’s parade, 40 balloons using 34,000 cubic square feet of helium will be used to get the balloons floating upright in the air.

Of course, the fun does start Thursday, November 30 with the carnival. Admission to the carnival is free, and for Thursday night only, specially-priced wristbands which allow the wearer to unlimited carnival rides, are currently on sale now. The wristbands will be sold on site for $20; however, the City of McAllen Parks & Recreation Department and a few McAllen I.S.D. school locations are currently selling the wristbands for only $10. Visit the City of McAllen Parks & Recreation Department at 1000 S. Ware Road or any of the three Parks & Recreation community centers: Lark at 2601 Lark Avenue; La Palmas at 1921 N. 25th Street; and Palmview at 3401 Jordan Road West, to get ahold of these half-priced wristbands to takeadvantage of the fun at this year’s carnival. Visit for more information.

This year’s McAllen Holiday Parade will feature a magical winter wonderland of gently falling snowflakes at McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium only. Parade goers who want to experience a white Christmas should make plans to get their tickets to view the parade with the best seats in the house at the McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium, Saturday, December 2, 2017, starting at 6:00 p.m. Tickets for the stadium will be sold starting next week at the McAllen Convention Center Box Office, located at 700 Convention Center Boulevard in McAllen or at Ticketmaster at

For those parade-goers who prefer to see the floats coming down Bicentennial Boulevard, specially-reserved front row seats are also available for sale at the McAllen Parks & Recreation Department. Contact them directly at 681-3333 or visit them at their Ware Road location.

Volunteers also play a critical part of the success of the McAllen Holiday Parade. Anyone wishing to volunteer as a balloon handler or parade marshall should sign up now by visiting the McAllen Holiday Parade website

Press Pass Credentials Required

For media planning purposes: October 27, 2017 Contact: Laura D. Garcia, City of McAllen, 956-681-1208

All media wanting to cover the McAllen Holiday Parade will require a media pass. You can obtain a media pass from Laura D. Garcia, Office of Communications Digital Media Coordinator. There will be a limit of 2 media passes per media outlet. Please fill out and return attached credential application.

Please RSVP no later than Wednesday Nov. 15, 2017. Laura can be reached at or 956-681-1208. We will send out a follow up email with pickup time and location.

Please fill out Press Credential application

City of McAllen brings home 13 gold Pinnacles

McAllen Holiday Parade, Planta Nativa and McAllen Marathon amongst winners

Boise, Idaho- The International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA) paid tribute to the City of McAllen on September 14 during the Pinnacle awards ceremony held at IFEA’s 62nd Annual Convention in Tucson, Arizona held Sept 13-17. McAllen was presented with 35 awards in the prestigious IFEA/Haas & Wilkerson Pinnacle Awards competition.

“McAllen was up against the Tournament of Roses, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the Kentucky Derby festivals- major players that are very good at what they do and so to be competitive in that market says a lot about McAllen,” said IFEA President & CEO, Steven Wood Schmader, CFEE. “ Congratulations to your city and its leadership for supporting these events and saying it’s important to our community, it’s a big deal.”

The Office of Communications, Parks and Recreation, Quinta Mazatlan and the McAllen Convention Center submitted entries. McAllen won awards in the following categories:


  • Best Parade- McAllen Holiday Parade
  • Best Full Length TV Program (National Promotion/Syndication)- Office of Communications
  • Best Full Length TV Program (Local Programming)- Office of Communications
  • Best Give-Away Item- McAllen Marathon coffee mug
  • Best Sponsor Partner- McAllen Holiday Parade
  • Best Sponsorship Program for Individual Sponsor- McAllen Holiday Parade
  • Best Educational Program- Monarch Celebration
  • Best Children's Programming- Quinta Mazatlan & the Valley Land Fund
  • Best Event (Within an Existing Festival)- Into the Wild at PALMFEST
  • Best New Event- Monarch Celebration
  • Best Single Newspaper Display Ad- Office of Communications
  • Best Single Magazine Display Ad- Office of Communications
  • Best Outdoor Billboard- Office of Communications
  • Best Event Promotional Photograph- Moon Over Mazatlans
  • Best Miscellaneous On-Site Décor - Monarch Celebrations
  • Best Targeted Sponsor Solicitation- McAllen Holiday Parades
  • Best Overall Sponsorship Program- McAllen Holiday Parades
  • Best Green Program- Planta Nativas
  • Best Event/Program within an Event to Benefit a Cause- Into the Wild at PALMFESTs
  • Best Miscellaneous Printed Materials (Single Page)- Office of Communicationss
  • Best T-Shirt Design- Office of Communicationss
  • Best Press/Media Kit- Office of Communicationss
  • Most Creative/Effective News Stunt- Office of Communicationss
    • BRONZE
      • Best Pin or Button - Mayor's Monarch Pledges
      • Best Pin or Button- Games of Texass
      • Best Sponsor Gift- coasterss
      • Best Individual Sponsor Follow-up Report- McAllen Holiday Parades
      • Best TV Promotion (Ad spot or PSA)- Office of Communicationss
      • Best Event Video Promotion- Office of Communicationss
      • Best Newspaper Insert/Supplement- Office of Communicationss
      • Best Miscellaneous Printed Materials (Single Page)- Office of Communicationss
      • Best Ad Series- Office of Communicationss
      • Best Event Promotional Photograph- Office of Communicationss
      • Best Event (Within an Existing Festival)- Office of Communicationss
      • Best New Promotion Activity- Office of Communications
        • “To be recognized as the Best Parade in the World makes us proud of what we do in the City of McAllen,” said City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez, P.E. “We have a great team in McAllen that has worked diligently to make this a signature event. Everyone works very hard to make this a spectacular event; from employees to sponsors and volunteers.”

          Sponsored by industry leader Haas & Wilkerson Insurance, the professional competition draws entries from among the world’s top festivals and events. Winning entries came from organizations as diverse as the 500 Festival in Indianapolis, IN; the Des Moines Arts Festival, Des Moines, IA; Riverbend Festival in Chattanooga, TN; Rutgers University in Piscataway, NJ; the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City, MI; the Philadelphia Flower Show, Philadelphia, PA; the Fiesta Bowl, Scottsdale, AZ; the Sausalito Art Festival, Sausalito, CA; the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Mount Vernon, WA and Celebrations Ottawa in Ottawa, ON, Canada.

          International contenders included such diverse event organizations as the Singapore Garden Festival in Singapore; RedFilo Events, Abu Dhabi, UAE; Destination NSW, Sydney, Australia; The Third China International Circus Festival, Guangzhou, China; Feria Estatal de Leon, Leon, Mexico; Ludwig Van Beethoven Easter Festival, Krakow, Poland; Cuckoo Events, Dublin, Ireland; Rotterdam Festivals, Rotterdam, Netherlands; Festival Lent, Maribor, Slovenia and the Ansan Street Arts Festival, Ansan, South Korea.

          Awards were handed out in 71 different categories in total including Best TV Promotion; Social Media Site; Commemorative Poster; Sponsorship Program; Green Program; Parade; Educational Program, Children’s Program; Social Media Campaign; Merchandising Program and Festival & Event Management Degree Programs in addition to the highest award given by the IFEA in recognition of those Festivals and events who have a balance of all the elements necessary to ensure a successful event – the Grand Pinnacle.

          For a complete list of winners and more information on the IFEA, go to

          Parade Theme Unveil

          Learn about this year's parade theme "The Magic of Christmas"

          McAllen Holiday Parade to Help Light Up San Antonio Fiesta Night Sky


          (McAllen, TX) This Saturday, the McAllen Holiday Parade will help to light up San Antonio’s Fiesta night sky as the parade will feature a float in the 2017 Fiesta Flambeau Parade. With an estimated 700,000 attendees and 1.5 million ABC-network television viewers, the 2.6 mile long Fiesta Flambeau Parade is the largest illuminated parade in the world. As the parade travels through the streets of downtown San Antonio and in front of the historic Alamo, it is the spectacular culmination of the 11-day Fiesta San Antonio celebration.

          “This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase McAllen and the beautiful celebration that is the McAllen Holiday Parade,” said City of McAllen Mayor Jim Darling. “Just recently, the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley released a survey that highlighted that approximately 20% of our Holiday Parade-attendees are from out of town. If we can encourage folks from San Antonio and beyond to head down to McAllen for our amazing parade, they would remember how great it is to spend time in the Rio Grande Valley in December, as well as the rest of the year.”

          Echoing Mayor Darling’s enthusiasm about the McAllen Holiday Parade float appearance in this year’s San Antonio night parade was Fiesta Flambeau President, Trina Guevara, stating, “We are so excited to have our sister city McAllen represented in our parade; we love lights and so does McAllen!”

          The float that will be showcased is the one that closes the McAllen Holiday Parade and brings Santa Claus to town. The float is 12 feet wide by 34 feet long and 14 feet high and feature’s Santa’s sleigh being pulled by reindeer flying over the newly renovated La Plaza Mall, a subtle nod to the great shopping found here in McAllen, thanks to parade sponsor, La Plaza Mall. Aside from the presence of the jolly man in red on the float and local models from Missy’s Modeling, City of McAllen Parks & Recreation staff will walk alongside the float throughout the entire parade route. Christmas music will be played from the float, with a message from St. Nick, inviting everyone to “come experience the magic of Christmas in McAllen.”

          The float will come out in the first vanguard section of the parade, #A-35 sandwiched in between the San Antonio Fiesta Commission Royalty float and San Antonio’s Southwest High School Mighty Dragon Band in front and the Kerrville Tivy High School Mighty Antler Band and the City of Floresville Peanut Festival Float immediately behind.

          The McAllen Holiday Parade is the largest illuminated holiday and helium-balloon parade in Texas and will be held on Saturday, December 2, 2017. Over 255,000 attendees enjoyed the McAllen Holiday Parade last year.