McAllen Holiday Parade Returns in December


McAllen Holiday Parade Returns in December

(photo USAF Honor Guard)
(photo USAF Honor Guard)

McAllen city officials recently announced the return of the McAllen Holiday Parade for Dec. 4. Stepping off the parade at 6 p.m. at McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium is the U.S. Air Force Parade Element Honor Guard and Drill Team.

“A lead step-off sets the tone of the parade and creates excitement for the rest of the floats and bands as they march down the parade route,ˮ said McAllen Mayor Javier Villalobos.  “I believe this lead step-off band will do that and more, as they help to highlight our veterans and current serving military and inspire the youth in McAllen, the Rio Grande Valley and South Texas and everywhere else the parade is broadcast.ˮ

The eight annual parade, presented by H-E-B  and powered by Bert Ogden & Fiesta Dealerships, includes celebrity hosts Mario Lopez and Julián Gil.

The parade is the largest illuminated and helium balloon holiday parade in Texas. It uses 15 miles of rope light which generates 1,875,000 lumens of light to properly illuminate the parade. It also uses 44,500 cubic feet of helium to keep giant balloons afloat. Powering the parade is 12,000 horsepower by over 50 trucks from Bert Ogden and Fiesta Dealerships.

The final float with Santa and his reindeer at the McAllen Holiday Parade.
The final float with Santa and his reindeer at a past McAllen Holiday Parade.

A Community Affair

For parade organizers, the return to McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium is a homecoming for the McAllen Holiday Parade. It first debuted in the stadium just eight years ago and is the best seat in the house. Attendees enjoy the colors, design, animation, sound and experience of the floats, balloons and McAllen I.S.D. school marching bands.

“McAllen I.S.D. has enjoyed a great relationship with the City of McAllen to put together these parades for our community for the past eight years. It is a fantastic event that allows us to showcase many of our hard-working students representing our excellent programs and schools,” said Dr. J. A. Gonzalez, McAllen I.S.D. superintendent.

Echoing the superintendent’s comments were McAllen I.S.D. School Board President Sam Saldivar Jr.

“Events like this have a way of bringing communities together in a manner that is fun, creative, and energetic,” said Saldivar. “It is a great experience for our participating students and provides memories for a lifetime for families who get to watch it unfold.”

Anyone wanting to watch the U.S. Air Force in stadium can buy tickets for the parade at or at the McAllen Convention Center Box Office. Ticket prices start at $10, plus service fees.

U.S. Air Force In the Parade and Community

This is the second time that the U.S. Air Force Parade Element Honor Guard and Drill Team has performed in the McAllen Holiday Parade, first appearing in 2018, to a standing ovation from the 13,000-plus stadium crowd, after performing a one-minute drill routine before continuing their trek along 1.5-mile parade route out of the stadium. Aside from the parade presentation, the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard will also coordinate school visits in the community in the week leading up to the parade. Anyone interested should contact the City of McAllen at 956-681-1001 or via email at