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100116_TCF-Product-Costume-Show_JMB_2010_0189_TNThe Texas Citrus Fiesta’s Product Costume Show will be held on Jan. 15 at 2 p.m. The Costume Show, featuring costumes made using citrus and other Valley agricultural products, will be held at the recently-renovated Mission Community Center, located at 1420 E. Kika de la Garza Loop, in Mission.

Minnie Rodgers, co-chairman of the show, said they have 15 entries this year as of press deadline, including costumes and hats in the competition.

“We are excited that we have a lot of new designers this year,” Rodgers said. This has come about through workshops the Fiesta has hosted throughout the summer, and several church groups have volunteered to work on costumes for the show. The designers are of all ages and range from novice to the very experienced designer, such as Virginia Gerlach who has been creating beautiful costumes for the Texas Citrus Fiesta for many years, Rodgers said.

Each of the costumes and hats will be colorfully decorated using citrus and other Valley agricultural products, an art form unique to the Texas Citrus Fiesta, which originated in the 1930s as a marketing tool for the Texas citrus industry.

In keeping with the theme of the 2011 Texas Citrus Fiesta, “The Early Years of the Railroad,” the Costume Show theme will be “All Aboard the Orange Blossom Special.”

In the children’s Primary Division (ages four to seven), the theme selected is “Hobos.”

For the Elementary Division (children ages eight to 12), the “Passengers” theme was selected. For the Teen Division (ages 13-19), the theme is “Clothing Representing RGV Culture.”

And for the Adult Division, the theme is “Famous Characters.”

The Hat Division theme will be “Representing the many cultures of the RGV.” Hats used in any of the costume categories cannot be used again for the hat competition.

Entry deadline for the Product Costume Show is today, Jan. 7.

The Product Costume Show is unique as one of the few handicrafts developed solely in the United States. The costumes are made from base garments and covered with agricultural products from the Rio Grande Valley that have been dried, powdered, and glued to the fabric. Because it is the Texas Citrus Fiesta, each costume must have some citrus on it.

For a pink color, different shades of bougainvillea are always popular. Citrus peels can be used for yellows and oranges. They can also be scorched until brown or black, if needed. Green citrus leaves are often dehydrated to make various shades of green. Onionskins make lacy materials, while grains that have been ground have a thicker texture. Blue Plumbago is one of the few blues available to the costume designers.

Decorative trim can be made from seeds. Citrus seeds can be strung for necklaces along with a variety of other seeds. The ingenuity of the costume is hampered only by the imagination of the designer.

Tickets to the Product Costume Show are now on sale at the Fiesta Office, located at 220 E. 9th Street, or may be purchased at the door for $5 per person.

Other Citrus Fiesta Festivities

Other events making up this year’s Texas Citrus Fiesta celebration include the Royal Coronation of King Citrus and Queen Citrianna on Jan. 27, starting at 7 p.m. at the Mission Neuhaus Center, located on the campus of Mission High School at 1802 Cleo Dawson. Admission is $5 for general admission and $10 reserved seating.

Several Citrus Fiesta events will take place Saturday, Jan. 29, including the famous Parade of Oranges, which begins at 4 p.m. on Conway Ave. Also on Jan. 29 will be the Fiesta Fun Fair, scheduled from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The Vaquero Cook-off will be held at the same location as the Fun Fair—on the corner of FM 495 and Conway Ave., behind the former Carl’s Supermarket building—where cooking teams will compete for prizes and bragging rights. The Citrus Youth Show Exhibit will also be held on the grounds of the Fun Fair, with a fruit sale throughout the day.

The deadline to turn in entry forms for the Parade of Oranges is Friday, Jan. 14. For more information, contact the Texas Citrus Fiesta at 956-585-9724, or stop by the Fiesta’s new office, located at 220 E. 9th Street, Mission. Office hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

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