SPI announces attractions for McAllen Holiday Parade

McAllen and South Padre Island officials pose after announcing new attractions for the McAllen Holiday Parade, Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, in South Padre Island. (Courtesy photo)

The city of McAllen is highlighting its partnership with South Padre Island as part of the upcoming holiday celebrations.

South Padre Island will continue its presence in the McAllen Holiday Parade this year with the return of its giant helium balloon as well as the debut of its own float, the city announced in a joint news conference with McAllen officials.

Ridley the Sea Turtle, SPI’s featured balloon, will return to the McAllen parade this year in tribute to the island’s own tradition.

“Like the McAllen parade, South Padre Island has a winter tradition also,” said Randy Smith, city manager of South Padre Island. “Endangered sea turtles return to the island each year to nest. Sea Turtles Inc. is a huge contributor to the safety and welfare of these sea turtles, especially the endangered Kemp’s ridley.”

McAllen and South Padre Island officials announce new attractions for the McAllen Holiday Parade, Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, in South Padre Island. (Courtesy photo)

The city’s newest addition is its own illuminated float titled “South Padre Island Escape.”

“With a nod from the sand castle days, Ridley the sea turtle, and our iconic tricolor chairs and umbrellas, we’re excited to set sail along the 1.5-mile Padre route,” Smith said, referring to the island’s own Christmas Downtown Street Parade. That will be held the night before McAllen’s parade.

The McAllen parade will also include the SPI Vuelta Zone, a zone along the parade route where the giant helium balloons are twirled as parade goers chant “Vuelta!”

“This Dec. 3, we’re taking the McAllen Holiday Parade, presented by H-E-B, to where it’s never been before when Santa returns to his winter home away from home,” said McAllen City Manager Roel “Roy” Rodriguez. “We are especially proud to be celebrating Christmas, the most wonderful time of the year, South Padre Island-style in McAllen, in the South Pole of Texas.”

The parade is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. on Dec. 3 at the McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium, 2001 N. Bicentennial Blvd.

Tickets can be purchased at ticketmaster.com or at the McAllen Convention Center Box Office.