Jacob and Noel Salazar gathered up snowballs, displaying them for their grandparents who sat happily watching from a nearby haystack.
Ages 9 and 7, respectively, it was the first time the boys ever had experienced snow. Their grandmother, Melinda Salazar, lived in Ohio for five years, but their grandfather, Noel, grew up in the Valley.
The boys were part of one of the last groups of area children to enjoy the snow day at Conway Avenue Baptist Church last weekend. The church also offered hot chocolate, cookies and took the chance to spread the message of Christ. Every few minutes, Santa drove by in a tractor, pulling wagons full of children as others bounced in moon jumps and explored an Army tank.
For two hours Saturday morning, children lined up to wait their turn in the circle of snow, where they’d take pictures, make snow angels and throw snow at one another as church volunteers yelled for them not to do so. As the noon hour approached, the snow began to melt together with temperatures in the 70s.
Looking on, Melinda Salazar said, the Valley’s snow doesn’t compare with Ohio, but it brought back memories of tobogganing and making snow angels herself.
“My knees are bad, otherwise I’d be out there,” she said
It’s the second year the church has hosted the snow day, and organizers said it’s turning into a successful family event.
Church pastor Johnny Mora first started the snow tradition when he was a youth pastor in Edinburg, but he brought it with him when he moved to the Mission church.
“The first year I did this in Edinburg, God showed us what real snow was,” Mora said. “That was the year it snowed during Christmastime, so God had a sense of humor on that.”
Mora grew up in McAllen, so he said he knows how fun the snow must be for the children.
The church’s assistant pastor, Joe Ramey, is from the hills of Virginia. The snow’s great, Ramey said, but it’s not what Christmas is about.
“We’ve had snow on Christmas Eve, snow on Christmas Day, the main thing is to be with your family,” Ramey said. “My daughter is 40 years old, and we’ve never spent Christmas apart.”