While there may not be snow and forests of Christmas trees, South Texas is full of holiday spirit. The following list offers many places to visit for a little Christmas spirit – South Texas style.
By: Chinyere Okoro
Nov. 29 Port Isabel will hold it’s fifth annual City of Port Isabel lighting of the Community Christmas Tree in Beulah Park next to the library. There will be food booths, Santa Claus, entertainment and caroling. For more information call (956) 943-2682.
The Valley Symphony Orchestra’s Christmas concert, “A Touch of Frost,” will be held Nov. 29 at the McAllen Civic Center with the Valley Symphony Chorale and Mariachi Azatlan at 8 p.m. The concert will feature the music of Rutter, Bass, Moncayo, Anderson, Tchaikovsky, Handel and Williams/Bricusse.
Harlingen residents will want to make plans to attend the annual Arroyo Holiday Lighting Ceremony in McKelvey Park, located at 1325 S. 77 Sunshine Strip, at 6 p.m. Bring lawn chairs. For information call (956) 216-5951.
Don’t miss the Vintage Christmas Post Card display at Mission Historical Museum. The event runs from Nov. 29-Dec. 30. On Nov. 29 the museum will host its annual Christmas Luncheon at from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the annex building, 200 Tom Landry Blvd. Our Lady of Guadalupe Band & Choir will perform. Tickets are $14 and can be purchased in the museum office at 900 Doherty. Call (956) 580-8646 for information.
South Texas College in McAllen will be presenting “A Tuna Christmas” Nov. 29 through Dec. 2 at the Pecan campus in McAllen. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for seniors. Call (956) 872-2693 for more information. The residents of Texas’ smallest town report on Christmas events taking place in their town of Tuna with hilarious results.
Looking for a special gift for that hard-to-please relative? Or do you need a special holiday decoration to complete holiday decorations? Try shopping at the annual Dias Festivas, sponsored by the McAllen Junior Service League, which features all sorts of unique Christmas holiday decorations and gifts. It will be held Nov. 30 through Dec. 2 at the McAllen Civic Center. Admission is $7. The show will be open Friday, Nov. 30 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 1, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 2, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $7.
Edinburg’s annual Night of Lights will take place Saturday, Dec. 1, at 6:30 p.m. The parade will begin at the corner of University Drive and Sugar Road and proceed down SH 107 to the Hidalgo County Courthouse parking lot. This lighted Christmas parade will feature decorated floats and Santa Claus.
One of the most popular Valley Christmas events, the Hidalgo Festival of Lights featuring over a half million lights in Christmas displays, starts in Hidalgo on Dec. 1 and runs through Dec. 31. Follow the signs to see the lights or make reservations for a dinner and entertainment (Dec. 2-18) along with a trolley ride. This year’s theme is “A Victorian Christmas.” Call (956) 843-2286 or (956) 878-4688 for reservations. The programs and dinners are at the Hidalgo City Hall, 704 E. Texano Dr.
The Magic Valley Chorus of Sweet Adelines will perform their Christmas concert in Weslaco at the Tower Theater from Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 at 3 p.m. daily. Tickets are $5 but seating is limited so call (956) 969-2386 for reservations.
On Dec. 1 San Benito will celebrate the holidays with a Community Christmas at the Amphitheater, 705 N. Travis Street at 6 p.m.
Brownsville will have a “Heralding the Holidays” Concert at 80 Fort Brown, at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. It will feature the Master Chorale, Symphony Orchestra, Rio Bravo Wind Ensemble, Guitar Ensemble and One O’Clock Jazz Band. Music ranges from traditional carols to lively favorites. Tickets are $15 for orchestra and $10 for balcony seating. Proceeds go to scholarships for the UTPA-Brownsville Music Department. Guests are encouraged to arrive early for the tree lighting ceremony and pre-concert that begins at 6:30 p.m.
On Dec. 1 Edinburg will host the Night of Lights Parade and Festival. The festival will be held at 415 W. University Dr. from 4 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The parade starts at the corner of University Drive and Sugar Road at 6:30 p.m. so Winter Texans will want to arrive a little early to stake out a spot to watch the parade.
For those wishing to see a different kind of parade don’t miss a chance to see the Port Isabel Boat Parade that goes across the Laguna Madre to South Padre Island and ends at Louie’s Backyard. All kinds and sizes of boats dressed in Christmas lights will leave the marine and sail along the coastline before crossing the water. Take lawn chairs and line up along the coastline to see this unique parade.
The Stillman House Museum in Brownsville, 1325 E. Washington, will celebrate the holidays by presenting “Happy Christmas! A Victorian Holiday Celebration” Dec. 1 through Dec. 31. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Call (956) 541-5560 for information. Admission for the entire Brownsville Historic Complex is $5 for adults and $4 for seniors over 55.
On Dec. 3 Brownsville will hold its annual Christmas parade on Elizabeth Street starting at 6:45. Admission is free.
The Harlingen Arts and Heritage Museum, 2425 Boxwood, will hold its annual Christmas Extravaganza Dec. 4 though 21. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Call (956) 216-4901 for information.
Brownsville will have its traditional Washington Park Lighting Ceremony at 6 p.m. on Dec. 6. The park is located at 1338 E 8th Street.
One Dec. 6 the McAllen Chamber of Commerce, 1200 Ash, will sponsor “A Christmas Affair,” a shopping event for women only, with a marketplace of Christmas gift items from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, door prizes and a mini style show will be part of the fun. Items for sale include Christmas décor, arts and crafts, gourmet goodies and more. For tickets call Gerry Garcia at 682-2871.
Zapata will have its annual Christmas Parade and Lighting of the County Plaza on Dec. 6 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Call (956) 765-4871.
The annual Harlingen RGV Jaycees Christmas Parade with theme “Famous Christmas Songs,” will be held Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. downtown Harlingen.
Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, will present its annual Zoo Nights & Lights Dec. 7-9 from 6 to 9 p.m. Admission is $2.50 or a toy to be donated to the Toys for Tots campaign for needy children.
Handel’s Messiah will be presented on Dec. 8 at The Arts Center, 80 Fort Brown on the campus of The University of Texas- Brownsville. It is a collaboration between the Brownsville Independent School District, the UTB music program and the Brownsville Society for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $12. Call (956) 882-8587 to reserve a ticket.
McAllen will host its traditional Candlelight Posada from noon to 10 p.m. on Dec. 8 in Archer Park. Instead of the traditional two-day affair, events will be compacted into a one-day event beginning at noon. It will feature entertainment, food booths, and the Posada processional at 5:30 p.m. The McAllen Illuminated Christmas parade will follow at 7 p.m.
On Dec. 8 the City of San Benito will sponsor its lighted Christmas parade, billed as the longest lighted parade in South Texas. This year’s theme is “Neon Christmas”. The parade will be held in downtown San Benito. Call (956) 399-5321 for information.
The Rio Grande Valley Ballet will perform its annual presentation of “The Nutcracker,” Dec. 8 and 9 at the McAllen Civic Center, 1300 S. 10th Street. The Saturday performance is at 7 p.m. while the Sunday performance is at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20-$25; call (956) 681-3800.
On Dec. 15 Valley Metro will sponsor a “Stuff the Bus” 5K race at Harlon Park, 1020 W. 18th Street, Weslaco from 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. Admission is a child’s toy of $10 or more value. Participants are encouraged to dress in holiday costumes. Register at www.rgvevents or wwwraceit.com.
Join the fun on New Year’s Day by joining the hearty crowd of beach lovers as they participate in the 15th Annual Polar Dip, which will take place on the beach in front of Boomerang Billy’s Beach and Surf Motel at 12 p.m. Call 1-800-767- 2373 for information.