With a week left to file applications to participate in the 80th Annual Texas Citrus Festival parade the festival’s director said the organization has received only about a third of the number of entrants as participated last year.
Texas Citrus Fiesta Director Bibi Peña is urging entrants to file their applications as soon as possible to avoid a mad rush of entrants before the Jan. 13 filing deadline. Peña said last year about 200 entrants participated including a record 75 floats. Peña said she and her staff have been working 12 to 16 hour shifts nearly seven days a week preparing for the festival events that begin next weekend with the Product Costume Style Show and shoe box float competition for children.
The Mission High School FFA ride atop their Rock & Roll themed float for the 78th Texas Citrus Fiesta. Photo by Doug Young.
In this year’s parade themed, “Cheers to 80 Years,” there are nine non-competitive categories and a dozen competitive categories. Competitive entrants are eligible for up to a $1,000 prize for first place. All types of floats are eligible to enter the non-competitive categories that also include vehicles, bicycles, churches, golf carts, military units, marching units, Go Carts and Winter Texans. Motorcycle or Horse Groups and political and religious campaigning are prohibited.
The competitive categories include golf carts, marching bands from junior through senior high schools, as well as military and civilian bands. Float categories are general division, church, commercial, elementary, Valley products and Winter Texans I and II. The Winter Texan II category comprises RV parks with 200 or more residents.
The entry fee for non-commercial entries is $40 and $250 for commercial and governmental entities.
The Parade of Oranges begins at 3 p.m. starting at Griffith Parkway and Conway drive and will terminate at First Street. All participants must check in with fiesta organizers between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. at 2 Mile Line and Conway Avenue. Government and commercial entries must be in line by 1 p.m.
Peña said entrants are rotated each year so participants who may have been at the front of the parade last year would be rotated toward the back this year.
Applications must be submitted in person at the fiesta’s office at 220 E. Ninth St., Mission. Entry passes must be picked up from the fiesta offices on Tuesday, Jan. 24 or Wed., Jan. 25 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Entries without a pass will not be allowed in the parade line up area.
The first events of the annual fiesta begin next week with the shoe box float competition for fourth and fifth graders of Mission Consolidated Independent school District. Peña said students from the La Joya and Sharyland school districts were also invited but as of publication had not confirmed with festival officials.
Interested students can obtain applications from their school librarians. Entrants will be judged Saturday, Jan. 14 at 3 p.m. at the Speer Memorial Library, 801 E. 12th St.
Also Jan. 14 judging will occur for the annual Product Costume Style Show. Entrants are comprised of either full costumes made mostly of citrus plant materials or hats of similar materials.
Judging will occur at 2 p.m. at the Mission Community Center, 1420 E. Kika de la Garza Loop, Mission.
For more information one can visit the organization’s website at www.texascitrusfiesta.org or by calling 956-585-9724.