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McALLEN — Dallas Cowboys legend Michael Irvin will be back in the Rio Grande Valley this December to attend the 10th annual McAllen Holiday Parade.
The announcement of Irvin’s parade appearance, as well as selling of Sky Box tickets, came Tuesday during a short visit to the McAllen International Airport with fellow Cowboys legend Tony Hill, who has attended the McAllen Holiday Parade many times prior.
Dozens of Cowboys fans in white and navy blue jerseys gathered in the lobby of the airport, nicknamed “The South Texas Airport of the Dallas Cowboys,” awaiting their chance to see the former wide receivers in person.
The news conference for the announcement was prefaced with some trivia. Fans won authentic Dallas Cowboys jerseys for answering questions such as who were the Dallas Cowboys triplets, what university did Irvin play for, and which other three Cowboys players are also known for wearing the number 88.
“They’re here to celebrate, of course, the naming of the McAllen International Airport as the South Texas Airport of the Dallas Cowboys, but also the fact that they will be joining us on December 2nd for the 10th anniversary of the McAllen Holiday Parade presented by HEB and powered by Bert Ogden Auto Group,” McAllen Parks and Recreation Deputy Director of Programs Carina Jimenez said.
They were also on-hand to help announce the sale of Sky Box tickets, which will provide a prime view of the parade along with a few amenities.
“It’s a full experience,” Jimenez said. “There’s music, last year we had the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders onstage. You get a front row seat to our amazing parade with giant helium balloons and beautiful floats, including swag items — shirts, light up toys, noise makers.”
Hill, who played for the Cowboys from 1977 to 1986, addressed the excited crowd first.
“I feel like I’m about ready to play,” Hill, who earned the nicknames “Thrill” and “Dial 80” during his football career, joked in response to the crowd’s cheers. “Well, I might not feel that good. It’s always a pleasure coming to McAllen. I can tell you that without question.”
Hill, who wore number 80, is a three-time Pro Bowl selectee and was a part of the winning Super Bowl XII Dallas Cowboys team.
“Every year I’m invited back to visit with this wonderful city, and I’m thankful for every Dallas Cowboys fan here in Cowboy country,” Hill continued. “We know it’s Cowboy country, let me tell you that right now. The McAllen Holiday Parade holds a special place in my heart, and that’s why not only the people but the city, the airport and everything that surrounds it is why I keep coming back.”
Following Hill’s short speech, Irvin, The Playmaker, made his way to the podium to a resounding ovation from the crowd.
“I’m going to speak from the heart because I’ve always loved this city, for real,” the three-time Super Bowl champion said. “I am seriously, seriously excited to be here. I know this is now the official South Texas Airport of the Dallas Cowboys.”
“Trust me when I tell you this, I’ve spent many days down here early on,” Irvin continued. “I know what Cowboys fans look like and walk like, talk like, smell like, and here, it smells like Cowboys fans.”
Irvin talked about his many visits to the Rio Grande Valley prior to Tuesday’s visit and his love for the area. He spoke with intense fervor, his voice crescendoing as he neared his announcement and the end of his speech.
“Right here, right now, I am officially announcing that I will be coming back this December second for the (Holiday) Parade right here in McAllen,” Irvin said. “We will have fun, so make sure that you be there.”
Holiday music began to play from speakers and blue and silver confetti flowed as Irvin stood in front of the crowd with his arms emphatically outstretched. He made his way into the crowd and gave out a few high fives before returning to the podium for a few more words.
“I really am looking forward to having fun, and I am dead serious — I’ve had so much fun (here) and I love this city. You guys are really, really — all jokes aside — the best fans in the world,” Irvin said at the conclusion of his speech.
“How ‘bout them Cowboys?”
Tickets for the McAllen Holiday Parade McAllen Holiday Parade, including the Sky Box experience, are already available for purchase by visiting www.mcallenholidayparade.com.
To see more, view Monitor photojournalist Joel Martinez’s full photo gallery here: