Saturday, Texas Citrus Fiesta hosted the Princess Anna 74th Pageant. Inside the Ruby Red Ballroom at the Mission Event Center, 14 six-year-old girls competed for a spot on the Tangerine Court.
The incoming Royal Citrus Court attended, with Queen Citrianna 87th, Riza Renae Hernandez, and her leading ladies awaiting their newly crowned Tangerine Court sisters. Visiting duchesses from all generations were also acknowledged
Before the event, contestants sat down with judges for a personal interview. Bryceidee Leos, Tropic of Texas 2023 and former Queen Citrianna 80th, Alberto Alaniz, of John Albert Talent and Models LLC, and Melissa Garza Enriquez, a former Ms. Rio Grande Valley, Miss Texas Teen USA, Miss Starr County and Miss KGBT judged for that evening. According to the panel, they searched for a young girl with “good communication skills who carries herself with poise and confidence.”
Five girls became part of the Tangerine Court that evening, crowned with tiaras and given colorful bouquets corresponding to the fruit and product they would represent next year. Two alternates, Olivia de los Santos and Natalynn Hernadez, were selected.
Princess Anna 74th, Adeleide De La Cruz
Adeleide de la Cruz, daughter to Mr. and Mrs. Heriberto de la Cruz, is the Tangerine Court’s leading lady. This brown-eyed brunette, attending first grade at Bryan Elementary, is following tradition as the second Princess Anna in her family.
Her cousin, Mia Isabella Ayala, was Princess Anna’s 65th in 2015 and Duchess of Marsh White Grapefruit last year, while her mother was Duchess of Ruby Red Grapefruit.
“My daughter wanted to continue with the family tradition of supporting the city of Mission. So she asked to be [part of] Princess Anna,” said Mother Angela de la Cruz.
The incoming Princess Anna appreciates community involvement and occasionally visits the Mission Historical Museum.
Angela hopes that through this title, her daughter can create lasting memories and connections with her court.
“I want her to obtain the memories, the history, and the tradition, and the importance of preserving the community traditions that we have,” she said. “Texas Citrus Fiesta is very unique to the city of Mission, and I hope that she can continue to support that program and that we can continue to grow.”
She then continued.
“I hope she can pass those traditions on to her family as well.”
Princess of Tangerine Blossom, Juliette Martinez
Juliette, a Sullivan City native and daughter to Sullivan City Fire Chief Jesus Martinez and Brenda Martinez, will take her spot on the Tangerine Court next year.
“It’s something that she really wanted to do. She loves helping, getting involved in the community,” said her mother.
The Martinez family has never before participated in the Texas Citrus Fiesta pageantry, making Juliette’s involvement in the Tangerine Court the start of a new tradition.
“Nobody has done it before in our family,” she said. “She loves to be part of the community. I’m super excited that she’s part of the Texas Citrus Fiesta.”
Princess of Red Grapefruit Blossom, Emilia Sofia de los Santos
Emilia Sofia de los Santos, six-year-old daughter to Liza and Robert de los Santos, is a first grader at the Pharr Oratory of St. Philip Neri. This young lady will be wearing a red dress come January 2024.
Emilia’s win of the princess titles is a continuation of her mother’s involvement, being the former Duchess of Papaya.
“I thought it would be neat for my daughters to be part of that as little girls and maybe later on they’ll be a duchess,” she said.
This blue-eyed brunette shared the stage alongside her twin sister, Olivia Sofia de los Santos, who placed first alternate.
“I’m glad that they both did well,” said her father, Robert. “I know it’s going to be a little bit of a challenge because one of them is on the court and the other is an alternate.”
Their mother believes that both girls will support each other during their journeys.
“They will support each other. I know that for a fact,” Liza said.
Princess of Lemon Blossom, Remi Reyna
Remi Reyna, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ricardo Joel Reyna Jr., is fulfilling family tradition as Princess of Lemon Blossom. This blue-eyed light brunette from Bryan Elementary has the support of a former Citrus Court member and duchess.
“It’s a legacy,” said Dolores Reyna, Lady-in-Waiting 1978 and grandmother to Remi. Remi’s aunt, Sonia Reyna, is also the former Duchess of Ruby Red Grapefruit 2004. “We’re a pioneer family. So Fiesta is big in our family.”
She then continued.
‘We want those roots to continue,” she added. “I think we’re spreading the heritage that the Rio Grande Valley holds.”
“They have been planning and preparing for this moment since we learned I was having a girl,” said Mrs. Ricardo Reyna Jr..
Princess of Lime Blossom
Alessandra Arellano, daughter to Mr. & Mrs. Emerson Arellano, is Princess of Lime Blossom. The brown-eyed blonde kindergartener attending Acellus Academy online is excited for her part in the Tangerine Court.
Her mother, Claudia, entered Alessandra after her friend Eva Guerra recommended it and shared the great experience her daughters experienced.
“It was a last-minute thing,” said Claudia. “She’s like, ‘Yes I want to do it.'”
Following her win, Allesandra was most excited to meet the current reigning princesses and the girls she would share the court with come January 2024.
“She loves to meet new people,” said Claudia, a first-time participant in TCF. “Thank you to everyone here. It made her feel very welcome.”
To view these photos and more visit https://progresstimes.smugmug.com/TCF