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A look at the upcoming Texas Citrus Fiesta and their new president
The Texas Citrus Fiesta tradition will continue through the pandemic, with safety in mind.
TCF Director Lisa Rivera and new board President Oscar Martinez are excited to see the festivities for the Mission tradition continue. Starting with the 71st Annual Princess Anna Pageant on Sat., Oct. 24 at 1:30 p.m., the Texas Citrus Fiesta is gearing up for a busy new season.
“For Princess Anna, any young girl who is six years old on or before January 21, 2021 is more than welcome to participate,” Rivera said. “They must be from the Rio Grande Valley.”
TCF is waiting to determine whether the event will go virtual, but as of now it is planned for a limited in-person event. All Centers for Disease Control and local health guidelines will be followed, temperatures will be checked, masks will be worn and six-foot social distancing will be enforced.
“We’re going to see what happens from now to then, if things get worse we might have something virtual,” Rivera said. “But it will probably just be for the family members of the contestants. There is a limited capacity, and we’re selling to parents and close family members first – if we get close to capacity we’ll stop selling tickets.”
The theme for the upcoming Texas Citrus Fiesta is “Let Your Dream Blossom.” Every member of the board gives input on the annual theme, and votes on the final choice.
“It all relates back to what we are going through,” Rivera said. “We want to blossom with our dreams and continue with our goals. Everyone’s coming back to normality, hopefully, so that’s why we selected that theme for next year.”
Martinez has served on the TCF Board for about 20 years, and was voted into the position of president by the other board members this year. Martinez noted every decision is made as a unit along with Lisa, who they look to for direction in all matters.
“When I was elected the first thing I told everybody was that I am still one of the board members,” Martinez said. “In this organization we have a leader, Lisa, and her staff. Our job as a board is to maintain, support, help bring money and help her run all the different events we have planned. I’m going to go above and beyond to do what I can.”
Martinez’s three daughters have all participated in the Texas Citrus Fiesta – it is an event for the whole family. Rivera said the TCF staff was happy to have Martinez on board as the president, and look forward to the new vision he brings to the table.
“With Oscar we have a lot of new things coming,” Rivera said. “He’s very active, very well-known, he has great ideas and he has set goals I believe we will reach as a team.”
Martinez stressed that all Texas Citrus Fiesta events are not exclusive to Mission – rather, the entire region is able to participate and get involved with the festivities.
“Sometimes other communities think it’s just a Mission event – it’s really not,” Martinez said. “When we talk about Texas Citrus Fiesta, we’re talking about the whole Rio Grande Valley. This is not just a local Mission event. The more girls participate, the better and bigger the events become in the future.”
Both Martinez and Rivera spoke on the importance of continuing TCF traditions like the pageants, product costume showcases, Vaquero Cook-Off, duchess orientations, TCF Golf Tournament and royal coronations.
“It’s not just about the talent, we want to make sure people understand what it’s about,” Martinez said. “It’s a dying art, and we don’t want that to be lost: what citrus means to Mission and the RGV.”
It’s also about promoting and educating people across the region on the festivities and meaning behind them.
“We are not here to change any tradition, but over time we have to modify certain things,” Rivera said. “For example, COVID came around, so now we have to make a couple of modifications while continuing and keeping that tradition.”
Martinez added that local male leaders also have the opportunity to participate in the Texas Citrus Fiesta as King Citrus.
“Sometimes we overlook that the kings we elect every year are proud,” Martinez said. “There’s such pride and joy to be elected by your own peers. They help us as much as they can, and they want to continue the tradition and be part of this organization.”
TCF was started in order to celebrate and promote the local citrus industry, which contributes to the local economy in several aspects. Martinez said the success of the event would not be possible without the key assistance from the city of Mission.
“They fund us so much, and they’re always there to help us with whatever we need,” Martinez said. “The city is just as much a part of this organization as well, and we have to take off our hats to them too. That’s the only way we’re going to continue: as a team.”
The Princess Anna Pageant will take place at the Mission Event Center on Sat. Oct. 24, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. Tickets will be sold for the limited capacity seating, and family members of the contestants will be given priority in terms of attendance.
Adults will be charged $5 to attend, and children ages 12 and younger can get a ticket for $3.
“All our schedules are tentative at this time,” Rivera said. “Once COVID gets better, we have to continue what we do and keep it alive. We encourage everyone to come and learn about us, come participate or volunteer if they can.”
The Texas Citrus Fiesta office is located at 220 East 9th Street in Mission. They can also be reached over the phone at (956) 585-9724 and found on their website https://www.texascitrusfiesta.org.