City of McAllen News

McAllen Holiday Parade, presented by H-E-B, Goes Vaquero With Grand Marshal, Lead Step-Off Band

by Office of Communications | Nov 27, 2023

Dream Land PR

UTRGV coach, marching band to be part of the annual celebration

Earlier today, organizers for the McAllen Holiday Parade, presented by H-E-B and powered by Bert Ogden Auto Group announced that UTRGV’s first-ever head football coach, Travis Bush, will serve as this year’s parade Grand Marshal and that the UTRGV Marching Band will not only perform in the Holiday Musical Extravaganza, right before the parade, but will also serve as this year’s lead step-off band when the parade kicks off from McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium on Saturday, December 2, 2023 at 6:00 p.m.

“There is no greater joy then giving back to your community and that is what we have achieved together by creating not only the best parade in Texas, but the best parade in the world,” said McAllen City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez, P.E. “ And it’s only fitting that today we are partnering with one of the top universities in Texas – UTRGV – to bring our community together once again and share our culture with the world.”

McAllen District 6 Commissioner Pepe Cabeza de Vaca, who announced Coach Bush as this year’s parade marshal, stating that the parade parade has become a hallmark of McAllen as a tradition that binds the Rio Grande Valley together in the spirit of gratitude and joy, much like the new traditions that UTRGV is instilling throughout the Rio Grande Valley.

Echoing that sentiment was UTRGV President Guy Bailey, stating that the Vaquero spirit keeps getting stronger by the day, and UTRGV's new marching band is playing a big part in that.

"We are all excited about our marching band. The dedication and pride of our students is what UTRGV is all about, and we know the Rio Grande Valley community is eager to jump on the band wagon to support them," Bailey said. "This year, the UTRGV Marching Band makes its first appearance in the McAllen Holiday Parade, and we are especially pleased to be able to participate in this always popular community event," he said. 

Also unveiled was the winning design for the UTRGV holiday card, by UTRGV student Maritza Flores, a junior cybersecurity major.  Her design featured the UTRGV float and famous Vaquero balloon in the McAllen Holiday Parade, celebration, with a colorful representation of the majors offered at the university.  Flores’ design will be the official card for UTRGV and she will also receive a $1,000 scholarship towards her studies.     

Before the McAllen Holiday Parade steps off at 6:00 p.m. from McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium on Saturday, December 1, 2023, the community is invited to enjoy Christmas in the Park which starts its celebration with the carnival on Thursday, November 30, 2023, from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. at Municipal Park, located at 1921 Bicentennial Boulevard.  The full-fledged free, fun, family-friendly Christmas festival kicks off the next day and aside from the carnival, features food, fun, vendors, arts & crafts, concerts and entertainment for all. 

Getting the family to the parade will not be difficult, as the City of McAllen, in partnership with South Texas College, will offer a FREE McAllen Holiday Parade Park & Ride Polar Express Shuttle from the STC campus on Pecan Boulevard and 29th St. to the Quince Avenue and 23rd Street parade Drop-Off/Pick-Up point. 

Starting at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 2, Metro McAllen trolleys and buses will make a continuous loop approximately every 15 minutes, from pick-off point at STC to the parade Drop-Off/Pick-Up point.

Everyone is invited to enter the 2023 McAllen Holiday Parade sweepstakes, where participants have a chance to win a bevy of prizes, by simply texting the word SOUTHPOLE to (956) 474-6767 to get registered to win.

Celebrity hosts of the 2023 presentation of the parade will include Mario Lopez and Linda Tovar for the English-language broadcast and Julian Gil for the Spanish-language broadcast.  Other celebrities already announced include: Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl Legends Tony Hill, Michael Irvin and Drew Pearson and Telemundo celebrities Myrka Dellanos, Giselle Blondet and Veronica Bastos, co-hosts of “La Mesa Caliente” and 2020 Miss Universe Andrea Meza. 

The parade will step off at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 2, 2023 from the McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium, 2001 N. Bicentennial Blvd. Ticket prices start at $10, plus service fees for stadium, SPI Vuelta Zone, and McAllen International Airport Skybox Zone seating for the parade and can be purchased at  There is also plenty of free seating along the parade route, on a first come basis.  For stadium seating, organizers are encouraging attendees to arrive early to enjoy the first-ever Vuelta Spin-Off, a competition between two iconic giant helium balloons and the Holiday Musical Extravaganza, featuring hundreds of McAllen I.S.D. students, fireworks and the UTRGV Marching Band.

For the past five years, the McAllen Holiday Parade has been named the Best Parade in the World, and for the second time, earned the Grand Pinnacle Award from the International Festivals and Events Organization.   The McAllen Holiday Parade has also been named the Best Parade in Texas for the past six years running now by state event industry organizations.

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, Reliant and Lone Star National Bank. 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. Media partners for the parade include Advance News; AIM Media; El Periodico; iHeart Radio; KNVO-Univision; KRGV-ABC; KTLM-Telemundo; Lamar Outdoor; Latino Media Network; Más Music; Nexstar 23&4; Radio United; Revista Expresión.

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