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McAllen
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McAllen Holiday Parade Kicks Off with Christmas in July

10-year anniversary to be highlight of festivities leading up to parade

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 This year, the largest illuminated holiday and helium balloon parade in Texas will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary in a “South Pole Dream Land.”  Courtesy image for illustration purposes
This year, the largest illuminated holiday and helium balloon parade in Texas will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary in a “South Pole Dream Land.”  Courtesy image for illustration purposes

Texas Border Business

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The City of McAllen jumpstarted the holiday festivities with Christmas in July, unveiling the 2023 theme of the McAllen Holiday Parade, presented by H-E-B and powered by Bert Ogden Auto Group.  This year, the largest illuminated holiday and helium balloon parade in Texas will be celebrating its 10-year anniversary in a “South Pole Dream Land.”  

Courtesy Image

Additionally, the winners of the 2022 McAllen Holiday Shoebox Parade were announced, with the winning shoebox float entry revealed and, as part of the 10-year anniversary celebration, will be made into a 30-foot life-size float that will be featured when the parade steps off  at 6:00 p.m. from McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium on Saturday, December 2, 2023.

“The McAllen Holiday Parade began with a dream – a Texas holiday tradition of our very own. Now, we are celebrating 10 years of magic at the South Pole Dream Land,” said City of McAllen District 5 Commissioner Victor “Seby” Haddad.   “As proud as we are to bring joy and holiday cheer to South Texas, we are even prouder of our community for helping shape our parade into the world-class event it is today.”

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Proudly returning once again as the presenting sponsor for the five-times named Best Parade in the World, is H-E-B. Jessica Garza, Border Marketing & Sales Manager for H-E-B stated, “Just as Texas and H-E-B are interconnected, H-E-B has grown closer to our South Texas community through our longtime support of the McAllen Holiday Parade. H-E-B and the McAllen Holiday Parade have come a long way together over the past ten years, working side-by-side to brighten the holidays for the people here in the RGV. We invite you, and all of Texas, to experience our best holiday season yet at the 2023 McAllen Holiday Parade as your title sponsor.”

Last year, the City of McAllen invited the entire Rio Grande Valley to submit entries for the McAllen Holiday Shoebox Parade, a pint-sized version of the big parade, encouraging the community to be as creative and festive as possible, creating a parade float – on a shoebox.  Aside from tickets to the 2022 event and MHP swag, the grand prize for the competition was the winning entry would be made into a life-size float for the 10-year anniversary parade.  The winning entry, “Let It Snow,” was created by Ana Laura Muñoz, a 12-year old student from Hendricks Elementary, the winning entry in the child’s category and the grand prize winner.  Judges were all in agreement that the traditional green and red entry perfectly captured the holiday spirit of the parade. 

Other winners included: Business – Kindermusik, Marisa Echavarria, “Holiday Music to Your Ears;” Non-Profit-“Mykah’s Autism & Mommy’s Journey,” Mykah & Maria Villarreal, “Christmas Around the World;” School – McHi Art Society, “South Pole Fiesta;” and Adult – Sabrina Diaz, “Christmas at the City Park.”

According to McAllen City Manager Roel “Roy Rodriguez, P.E., the McAllen Holiday Parade is a gift that gives South Texas families a one-of-a-kind holiday experience to look forward to year-after-year, and a destination event that has generated millions of dollars in economic impact over the years.

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“We’ve grown closer as a community over ten years of transforming our city into the official South Pole of Texas as declared by Texas Governor Greg Abbott in year 2019,” concluded Rodriguez.

Attendees to this year’s event can catch the parade with ticketed and free seating anywhere along the 1.5-mile parade route, enjoying the over 50 illuminated and animated floats designed by City of McAllen employees at the McAllen Float Studio. The floats are powered by 12,000 horsepower by over 50 trucks from the Bert Ogden Auto Group  and boast 15 miles of rope light and generate 1 million, 875,000 lumens of light to properly illuminate the parade  Over 30 giant, Macy’s Parade-style helium balloons use approximately 44,500 cubic feet of helium that turn when the audience yells “Vuelta,”, a featured element unique to the McAllen Holiday Parade.

Future announcements will include international celebrities of TV, film, radio, music and of course, everyone’s favorites from Dallas, Texas,  that delight fans of every age. The best local high school marching bands from throughout the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas will be invited to join in bringing the sounds of the holidays to all MHP attendees.  Also returning again in 2023 is the MHP Sweepstakes, which will offer amazing prizes; a free Park & Ride for everyone attending the parade; and of course, some of the best seats in the house at the South Padre Island Vuelta Zone and the McAllen International Airport Skybox Experience, festive areas that have proven to be parties within the party for everyone in attendance.

Other features will include the free, family-friendly festival, Christmas in the Park, that features food, games, a carnival, local community performances and free concerts with the best in Tejano, Norteño, Regional, and Country, just to name a few and the South Pole Illuminated Festival, which features the largest digital Christmas tree in America.  Stay tuned for more announcements including ticket sales and celebrity appearances.

The McAllen Holiday Parade is presented by H-E-B and powered by Bert Ogden Auto Group and proudly sponsored by McAllen International Airport, South Padre Island CVB and Reliant. Other sponsors for the 2023 presentation of the McAllen Holiday Parade include Budweiser-L&F Distributors, McAllen International Bridge System; McAllen Public Utility; Metro McAllen; South Texas Vo-Tech; University of Texas-RGV;  Matt’s Building Materials; PepsiCo.; Valley Aids Council; South Texas College; McDonald’s; Driscoll Children’s Hospital; Chick-fil-A Rio Grande Valley; American Electric Power Foundation; McAllen Public Works; IBC; Lacks; McAllen Chamber of Commerce; Hermes; Peña Eye Institute;  McAllen I.S.D.; Linebarger Attorneys at Law; General Mills; PNC Bank; O’Reilly Auto  Parts; McAllen Economic Development Corp.; Doña Lula; Tres Lagos Master Planned Community; Pollux Castor Creative; Explore McAllen; KSA Engineers; Cigna; Plains Capital Bank; Taco Palenque; Halff Associates; B2Z Engineering; Raba Kistner Consultants, Inc.

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