Stellar costumes embody Space Odyssey Adventure theme for Texas Citrus Fiesta
Three separate competitions kicked off the Texas Citrus Fiesta early, getting youth and adults excited to participate in the annual festivities in January.
The 83rd annual Texas Citrus Fiesta, themed “Space Odyssey Adventure,” inspired several film-themed costumes for this year’s Product Costume Show. The costumes and floats were designed to give upcoming generations a taste of the out-of-this-world activities they can participate in during the TCF.
The first weekend of TCF included the Shoebox Float Competition, sponsored by the Progress Times, the Product Costume Show run by TCF and the Ultimate Grapefruit Pie Baking Contest, sponsored by the Mission Texas Classroom Teachers Association.
The three competitions were held at Krysta’s Event Center on Sat. Dec. 14, 2019.
“We are celebrating 83 years of honoring the citrus industry through a series of events leading up to a coronation of King Citrus, Queen Citrianna the 83rd and Princess Anna the 70th, which will take place in January,” Kelly Ortega, the mistress of ceremonies for the day, said. “Only in the Rio Grande Valley will you see costumes such as these, made from a variety of agricultural products grown locally.”
Shoebox Float Competition
The Shoebox Float Competition is open to fourth and fifth grade students from the Mission Consolidated Independent School District, the La Joya Independent School District and the Sharyland Independent School District. Sponsored by the Progress Times, the competition this year incorporated citrus moons, extraterrestrial creatures and rockets in orbit.
Shoebox floats, made from cardboard shoe boxes and covered completely with Valley product, were presented at the Speer Memorial Library prior to their display. They were judged on design, workmanship, use of RGV products including citrus, and the overall appeal.
Fourth grade winners were Tyra Alvarez in first place, Marina Gonzalez in second and Leah Sotello in third. Fifth place winners included Zachary Gerlach in first place, Kimberly Arguello in second and Guillermo Maldonado in third.
Winners and schools received a monetary prize for their efforts in keeping the TCF tradition going.
Grapefruit Pie Competition
The Ultimate Grapefruit Pie Baking Showdown, sponsored by the Mission CTA chapter of the Texas Classroom Teachers Association, also announced its winners at Krysta’s Event Center. The pie entries were entered and judged that morning.
The pies, judged by appearance, taste and use of Valley grapefruits, featured the familiar bright tones of Star Ruby, Ruby Red and Rio Red grapefruit. Following the judging and announcement of the winners, audience members could buy a slice of award-winning pie by making a donation of $5.
The first place winner of the showdown was Andrew Solis, second place was Benito Garza and third place was Courtney Stewart.
Product Costume Show
The product costume show was broken up into two sections: the costume division and the hat division. The costume division, broken up into three categories (elementary, teen and adult), contained four entries in total, and the hat division contained two entries.
Models emulated characters and people such as Lola Bunny from “Space Jam,” Hela from “Thor Ragnarok,” Marvin the Martian from “Looney Toons,” Benny from “The Lego Movie,” and more in both the costume and hat divisions.
Judges were all chosen based on their qualifications with past costume design and TCF experience. They ranked entries based on the overall design, use of Valley citrus product, creativity, workmanship, fit, construction of the costume, and the runway walk.
Costumes, shoes and accessories are covered in citrus, flowers, leaves and vegetables native to the RGV. Any part of the costume shown must be covered in dried product.
The first place winner in the hat division was a hat designed and modeled by Leana Gonzalez. Her hat, modeled after an alien spacecraft, was titled “The Abduction.”
The hat was inspired by a local “legend,” who watered and tendered her own grove of grapefruit trees admired by otherworldly visitors. A freshman at Mission Collegiate High School, Gonzalez covered the hat with burnt grapefruit peel crushed with glitter, orange and grapefruit peel, pumpkin seeds, ground white onion skin, dehydrated grapefruit and grapefruit leaves.
In the elementary division, first place was awarded to the full-body costume of Lola Bunny from the film “Space Jam” designed by Dalia Vivian and modeled by Tyra Alvarez.
The complete costume included Lola’s recognizable body and head, two-piece ensemble top and shorts for her uniform, and a basketball crafted with powdered, burnt grapefruit and mandarin orange peels. Burnt and powdered mandarin orange, grapefruit peels, leaves from grapefruits, oranges, lemons and limes that were dried, ground and trimmed, mesquite sawdust, powdered pink bougainvillea, purple onion skin, white onion skin, sunflower seeds and blanched pumpkin skins were all utilized to create the total costume.
The Lola Bunny costume also was awarded the People’s Choice Award, voted on by the audience members at the event.
In the teen division, the first place winner was awarded to the Natasi costume, designed by Maria Magdalena Ponce and modeled by Martha Cruz. Natasi is a young lady visiting Earth, contemplating a move to our planet.
The costume included a dress and shoes that showcased a variety of space-themed motifs, like aliens, stars and planets. Overall, her costume was made up up burnt orange peels, bougainvillea petals, orange slices, grapefruit peel, mandarin powder, sunflowers and dehydrated mandarins. and tangerine slices.
The adult division winner was Destiny Gonzalez, who designed and modeled her costume after Hela from “Thor Ragnarok.” Her costume included a Nordic headdress, bodysuit and boots, which were constructed with burnt and pulverized grapefruit peel and dried and blended lemon leaves.
This article originally appeared in the Friday Jan.3, 2020 digital issue of the Progress Times.