City of McAllen News

McAllen Holiday Parade, presented by H-E-B, Announces Lead Step-Off

by Office of Communications | Oct 11, 2018


The 2018 McAllen Holiday Parade, presented by H-E-B, is going to kick-off this year’s parade with patriotic element that will honor veterans and current serving military.  The U.S. Air Force Parade Element Honor Guard and Drill Team will be this year’s lead step-off, adding precision from a unit that performs in parades and celebrations around the world.


“McAllen, Texas is a proud American city, and especially proud of our U.S. military who have served and our currently serving,” said City of McAllen Mayor Jim Darling, himself a U.S. Navy veteran.  “I am so excited that the U. S. Air Force Honor Guard will be the step-off element for this year’s McAllen Holiday Parade, because I know the pride and patriotism this will inspire in the entire Rio Grande Valley, South Texas and even our Mexican community.  This should be a moving presentation for all to experience in our award-winning parade.”


Aside from the parade presentation, the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard will be coordinating school visits in the community, hopefully to recruit future airmen to their ranks.  Anyone interested should contact the City of Mcallen at (956) 681-1011 or


Organizers are busy coordinating various elements of this year’s parade, which is celebrating the theme, “Christmas Around the World. ˮ However, once again, the McAllen Holiday Parade is the only parade in the Rio Grande Valley to have twice been the Best Parade in the World by the International Festivals and Events Association at their recent annual gathering announced only earlier this week.  The award-winning parade walked away with 10 Gold awards, including the coveted Best Parade in its budget category, as well as a total of 19 silver and bronze awards.  Awards were handed out in 69 different categories, including Best TV Promotion; Social Media Site; Sponsorship Program; Volunteer Program and of course, the coveted Best Parade nod. Earlier this summer, the Mcallen Holiday Parade was once again named the Best Parade in Texas by another leading industry organization, the Texas Festivals and Events Association, the only parade in South Texas to earn these distinctions two years in a row.


“To earn the awards that the McAllen Holiday Parade has earned in just its four years is truly remarkable,” said Assistant City Manager Joe Vera, the brainchild of the parade.


“The McAllen Holiday Parade competes against parades around the world that have been running for decades and are a fabric of the identity and community of those cities.  The McAllen Holiday Parade helps to not only create a magical experience for the residents of McAllen and the visitors from throughout the region, it puts our city on the map as a tourist destination, a premier shopping mecca and a place to have a one of a kind entertainment experience.  It’s a great parade for everyone involved,” Vera concluded.


In fact, one of the gold awards that the McAllen Holiday Parade earned was the Best Volunteer Program and organizers are currently recruiting volunteers, age 16 and over.  Balloon handlers and banner carriers are needed to help bring the parade to life. 


“Come be a part of the magic and see the parade from behind-the-scenes,” said Carina Jimenez, marketing and special events coordinator for the City of McAllen Parks & Recreation Department, the department responsible for the floats and layout of the parade.  Those interested in volunteering should sign up


The parade will once again feature the magical snow in the McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium. 


“This is another unique aspect of our parade, that makes it one of the most enjoyable experiences for anyone in the Rio Grande Valley,” said City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez, P.E.  “Of course, maybe the magic of the snow at the McAllen Holiday Parade will make it snow in the Rio Grande Valley once again.”


The McAllen Holiday Parade, presented by H-E-B, will be powered by 12,000 horsepower by Bert Ogden and Fiesta Dealerships of the Rio Grande Valley. 


The McAllen Holiday Parade, presented by H-E-B, is the largest illuminated and helium balloon holiday parade in Texas and uses 15 miles of rope light, which generates 1,875,000 lumens of light to properly illuminate the parade and 44,500 cubic feet of helium to keep those giant balloons afloat. 


The McAllen Holiday Parade, presented by H-E-B, will be held on Saturday, December 1, 2018, starting at 6:00 p.m. from McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium at 2001 N. Bicentennial Boulevard and make its way down the 1.5 mile parade route on Bicentennial towards U.S. Business 83. 


Proud sponsors of the McAllen Holiday Parade, presented by H-E-B, include Bert Ogden and Fiesta Dealerships and Budweiser.

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