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An evening of blossoming dreams

By Jamie Treviño

Glittering ball gowns were accompanied by matching face masks at this year’s Royal Reception for the Texas Citrus Fiesta.

The Royal Reception took place at Balli’s Terrace Event Center on Sat. Jan. 23, 2021. The guest list was kept strictly to the participants, their immediate family, Texas Citrus Fiesta board members and employees and local leaders.

The Texas Citrus Fiesta Royal Court, Tangerine Court and 2021 Duchesses dance with their fathers at the Royal Reception at Balli’s Terrace Event Center. Photo courtesy of Rio Creative Portrait & Design Studio Facebook.

During the event this year’s Royal Court, consisting of Queen Citrianna, the Princess of Grapefruit Blossom, the Princess of Orange Blossom, the Lady in Waiting, Princess Anna and the Tangerine Court were introduced to the public in their new, extravagant ball gowns. The Duchesses set to compete for the crown at the Royal Coronation on Thurs. Jan. 28, 2021 were also presented, wearing creations that highlight their product.

Ted Prukop, King Citrus the 84th, gave the invocation for the evening before dinner was served.

“Bless these beautiful young ladies and their families as they venture into the 2021 Citrus Fiesta year,” Prukop said. “May they be protected and guarded as they enjoy the year, so they can create memories that will last a lifetime.”

Lisa Rivera, the executive director of the Texas Citrus Fiesta, introduced the board, royal court and 2021 duchesses. Oscar Martinez, the Board President for TCF, thanked attendees for being present for the evening.

“It is because of you all, the parents and grandparents that support this event year after year, that we keep moving forward with this,” Martinez said.

Some of the notable dignitaries present included State Representative Oscar Longoria, Mission Mayor Dr. Armando O’caña, Hidalgo County Treasurer Lita Leo, Palmview City Council Member Joel Garcia, Rio Grande City’s Flor Flores and State Senator Eddie Lucio.

Kaylee Ann Silva, Queen Citrianna the 84th, was introduced wearing a white ball gown trimmed with golden embroidery, Swarovski crystals and a dramatic collar. She first thanked her mother.

“I would like to start off by thanking my best friend, my mom – thank you for being my number one supporter in anything and everything, and thank you for always being there for me,” Silva said. “Thank you Dad and Monica for making it out tonight from Hebbronville and for always supporting me from afar.”

Silva also thanked her friend Roxy for joining them that evening, and her grandfather for escorting her on that very special day. Silva mentioned the city of Palmview and Palmview Chamber of Commerce being very encouraging, and thanked them for the opportunity to represent the city as the Duchess of Royal Palms last year.

Silva ended her introduction with a reminder that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and they will all get out of the pandemic “bigger, better and stronger.”

“Tonight, I would like to leave everybody with some food for thought,” Silva said. “An arrow can only be shot by pulling it backwards. When life keeps driving you back, remember that that only means it’s going to launch you into something absolutely beautiful. So stay focused and keep aiming, but most importantly, be you.”

Natalia Alegria Jilpas-Limas, Princess Anna the 71st, wore a white and gold multi-layered dress, complete with Swarovski crystal and pearl accents and a bow in the back. She spoke with conviction, glad to be part of the Texas Citrus Fiesta tradition.

“I am honored and humbled to represent Texas Citrus Fiesta,” Jilpas-Limas said. “Thank you very much, have a wonderful evening.”

The 2021 Duchesses wore gowns based on the color of their product, often featuring product replicas accenting the back. This year, a trend seemed to be unique sleeve designs and face masks made from the same fabric of their dress.

The evening concluded with a father and daughter dance. All masked, the participants enjoyed a dance with their fathers, who twirled them around the ballroom as music played and onlookers ate dessert.


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