McAllen Holiday Parade organizers want you to be part of the show

Holiday Parade organizers in McAllen say they need one important ingredient to make this year’s event successful: the public.

The city of McAllen held a news conference Tuesday inviting the community to be a part of this year’s McAllen Holiday Parade, which is presented by H-E-B and powered by Bert Ogden & Fiesta Dealerships.

Mario Lopez of “Saved by the Bell” fame is returning to host, and will be joined by Julian Gil.

This year presents many opportunities for the community to participate in the holiday event through the return of the McAllen Holiday Parade Sweepstakes, selling tickets as a fundraiser by nonprofit or other organizations and volunteering to help carry balloons during the event.

“Today, I am thrilled to say that not only is watching the parade an amazing experience, but now, it pays to watch and win.” McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos said in a news release Tuesday.

Since last Tuesday, anyone can join the sweepstakes simply by texting “MCALLEN” to 474747 for a chance to win prizes like H-E-B gift cards, $1,000 in holiday cash, an iPhone 13, a Playstation 5, an Xbox Series X and more.

One of the top prizes is sponsored by Bert Ogden & Fiesta Dealerships which is a VIP experience that includes stadium seats, McAllen Holiday Parade swag and Meet & Greet tickets for the celebrities.

Participants can expect prize giveaways to begin on Monday, Nov. 1, with the possibility of winning big each week and can continue to play live during the parade on Saturday, Dec. 4.

“We at Bert Ogden & Fiesta Dealerships are so proud to help bring this parade to the streets of McAllen,” said Marsha Green, Vice-President of Marketing for Bert Ogden & Fiesta Dealerships, in a press release. “We are bringing Christmas magic and holiday traditions to the children of the Rio Grande Valley and that is a wonderful reason to celebrate.”

One of the ways to watch the parade includes parade route seating along Bicentennial Boulevard. Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased at any one of McAllen’s community centers starting Monday.

These seats are so popular they are available for fundraising only for nonprofit and other organizations.

Those interested in the fundraising activity can contact the Lark Community Center for more details and to sign up.

The gold-award winning volunteer program is one of the reasons the McAllen Holiday Parade has earned the title of Best Parade in Texas and the World.

Volunteers get to walk in front of the floats, balloons or bands while holding one of the parade’s lighted banners and light up the parade along the way or have the opportunity to be a balloon handler and participate in the phenomenon known as “Vuelta.”

“This is something that only happens in the city of McAllen,” Carina Jimenez, administrator of marketing and special events, said. “It was created organically by attendants along the parade chanting ‘Vuelta! Vuelta! Vuelta!’ and our balloon handlers responded accordingly from year one and it hasn’t changed.”

Balloon handler volunteers must be 18-years-old or over while banner handlers must be 16-years-old or over.

All volunteers must go through a background check in order to receive a badge, which must be worn at the scheduled event, as well as gloves, a T-shirt and snacks.

For more information on volunteering, you can visit, or to send questions, sign up or contact [email protected].

The parade is set to step off at 6 p.m. on Dec. 4, from McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium and anyone wanting to watch the U.S. Air Force in the stadium can buy tickets from the McAllen Convention Center Box Office or, which start at $10 and include service fees.