PHARR — The weather outside was not too frightful.

Thousands gathered in downtown Pharr on Saturday evening to enjoy the much welcomed 64-degree weather and the city’s annual Christmas Posada.

The persistent wind did little to diminish the overwhelming smell of tacos, spiropapas, burgers, funnel cakes, and other assorted foods and treats from booths that lined either side of Cage Boulevard.

Mayor Ambrosio Hernandez was among those who could do little to resist the sweet, fluffy funnel cakes.

“I gotta have it,” Hernandez said. “It was good. I gotta watch the weight.”

Saturday marked the return of the annual Christmas event following a year off in 2020 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The community made its return as well — in force — a sight the mayor was happy to see.

“I’m excited to be here,” Hernandez said. “I wanted to get out. It’s about time. I felt like a hermit for a while there. I knew we needed to do it because of the pandemic, but it’s good to see people out and about with their families, enjoying themselves, having holiday spirit. It’s very nice.”

He said that Saturday’s crowd was larger than he’d anticipated, but he said it’s a good sign for his city.

“I’m glad people know that they can get entertainment here,” he said. “It’s a family event. They’ve come out. We’re about to listen to some music. It’s all good.”

A short walk from Cage Boulevard toward Aster Street, past the large four-story Christmas tree and the numerous vendors in the Hub Food Truck Park, led to an array of carnival rides filled with children. Their jubilant screams all but drowned out the Christmas music from local bands and choirs performing on the stage erected at the intersection of Cage and Caffery Avenue.

Attendees take pictures and listen to live Christmas music from the stage during Pharr’s Christmas Posada on Saturday in Pharr (Joel Martinez | [email protected])

Christmas lights illuminated the entire area, creating numerous photo opportunities for visitors, including Abigail Morales of Edinburg. She had just finished posing with her niece, Jaylen, for a picture with the Pharr Police Department Blue Santa.

Morales, who grew up in Pharr, said that it was her first time attending the Pharr Christmas Posada. She said that she was enjoying her time out with the community.

“It’s nice to be together and spend time together with other people rather than just being at home,” Morales said. “The event is very nice. Very nice volunteers. The policemen are here, and it makes me feel safe. The area is secured. The music’s good. The lighting is good. It’s just a good time with family.”

Amanda Villegas of Pharr was also attending the posada for the first time. She was attending the event with her father, her grandfather, and other family members.

“I think it’s awesome to see people come together again for the holidays after going through so much unfortunate events,” Villegas said. “It’s good to be able to celebrate these holidays and bring people together and celebrate the joy and happiness of life itself.”

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To see more of the city’s annual Christmas Posada, view Monitor photojournalist Joel Martinez’s full photo gallery below:

Photo Gallery: Pharr welcomes thousands back to annual Christmas Posada