McALLEN — The city of McAllen is gearing up for the holiday season with multiple festive events through the end of the month and for the December countdown to Christmas.

At 10 a.m. Tuesday, McAllen city officials will hold a news conference to announce entertainment during the annual Christmas in the Park event, which is on tap Friday.

Then beginning Wednesday through Jan. 2, the South Pole Illuminated Festival will once again transform the McAllen Convention Center campus into an enchanting walking journey of lights, illuminated lanterns, recreated snowfall, festive tunnels and Santa’s castle as well as a holiday fireworks spectacular, holiday carnival, gingerbread house decorating and more.

This year’s display is said to be bigger and brighter.

In keeping with the holiday spirit, a tent with live performers will be set throughout the holiday season.

Among the attractions is the Club Rudolf Laser Show, a musical water projection hologram show, interactive photo ops throughout the McAllen Convention Center grounds, South Pole Ice Skating experiences within the park, photos with Santa, train rides, private South Pole Christmas parties and food from the Holiday Food Park and Hot Chocolate and S’mores Station.

Tickets to the holiday light walking trail are available at www.southpoleoftexas.com or at the McAllen Convention Center Box Office.

Community members also have a chance to win tickets by entering a giveaway contest. To enter, participants must decorate their home or office with Christmas cheer, and post a photo online with #southpoleoftexas.

Ticket winners will be selected daily to win a pair of tickets.

Of the events available to the public is the city’s ninth annual Tree Lighting Ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at the McAllen Convention Center Oval Park.

At the ceremony the community can help kick off the Christmas season by enjoying holiday musical performances before the 64-foot, pre-lit Christmas tree lights at Oval Park.

The tree lights will be among the millions of lights that will be featured in the South Pole Illuminated Festival.

The McAllen Holiday Parade, presented by H-E-B and powered by Bert Ogden & Fiesta Dealerships, is set to take place Dec. 4 at McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium. Organizers are readying for what the city calls its award-winning “Best Parade in the World and Best Parade in Texas.”

Dubbed the largest illuminated holiday and helium balloon parade in Texas, the event will consist of 15 miles of rope light, which generates 1,875,000 lumens of light to illuminate the parade and 44,500 cubic feet of helium to keep the balloons afloat.

The city has also announced that Ximena Cordoba, a model, actress and presenter who was born in Medellin, Colombia, will be in the parade line-up.

According to a news release, Cordoba is known for presenting the weather in Miami. At the beginning of each program, she sang and danced to a song and received thousands of views on YouTube. She was also on “Despierta America” and moved on to join the Univision program “El Gordo y la Flaca.”

Also joining the McAllen Holiday Parade roster of international talent is telenovela star Danilo Carrera from Ecuador.

“Carrera began his acting career in Miami working in the theater, where his first play was ‘Cronicas Desquiciadas,’” the news release stated. “He also starred in a Telemundo telenovela called ‘Relaciones peligrosas’ in which he plays Leonardo Maximo. He’s worked on Univision Network productions and is also a television presenter on Univision’s Republica Deportiva program every Sunday.”

Celebrities Mario Lopez and Julian Gil will serve as co-hosts for the parade.

Parade organizers are also still looking for volunteers for the event. Balloon handler volunteers must be 18 years or over, while banner carriers must be 16 years or over. 

All volunteers must go through a background check and can register through  www.volunteersotx.org or send questions or to sign up at [email protected] 

To watch the parade, you can purchase tickets for VIP stadium seating and various parade route seating along Bicentennial Boulevard.

To purchase VIP stadium tickets, visit www.ticketmaster.com or the McAllen Performing Arts Center Box Office, or at any one of the McAllen community centers, including Lark, Las Palmas and Palm View.

For more information of the city’s event visit www.mcallenholidayparade.com.


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