History of the Citrus Fiesta

The citrus industry in the Rio Grande Valley was still young when Paul Ord and the Young Men’s Business League introduced the first Texas Citrus Fiesta in Mission in December 1932. They saw the celebration as a way to spread the word about the bountiful winter harvest of grapefruits and oranges from the lush, subtropical Rio Grande Valley. The theme of that first fiesta, held outdoors against the background of the citrus-bearing trees, was “Coronation and Pageant of Citrus.” John H. Shary, considered the father of the Texas citrus industry, reigned over the one-day celebration. It started with a half-hour concert and ended with the coronation of King Citrus and Queen Citrianna. This became a tradition of “royalty,” with a citrus industry leader chosen as king and a queen chosen from Rio Grande Valley “duchesses,” each representing a community and its product or industry.

The second fiesta did not take place until 1934 because of damage caused by a hurricane in 1933. Other than during World War II, the fiesta has been held annually. In the 1930s, Fox Movietone News enjoyed showing the Valley’s lovely ladies in bathing suits in a swimming pool full of floating grapefruits while the rest of the nation was in a deep freeze. The fiesta still takes delight in showing off the lovely ladies and handsome lads at the coronation of King Citrus and Queen Citrianna. Coronation is now held indoors amidst the flourish of herald trumpets during the last week of January. Since 1932, the fiesta has presented its Product Costume Style Show where exquisite costumes made of citrus and other local Valley products are exhibited. Through the years, and with modern technology, the costumes have become intricate works of fold art using Valley citrus, fruits, vegetables and foliage that have been pulverized, dehydrated, blended and microwaved. These costumes have been featured in National Geographic, Southern Living and Texas Monthly magazines, and at shows from Kansas City to Washington, D.C.

2014 Texas Citrus Fiesta Calendar of Events

January 17, 2015Saturday 2 P.M. PRODUCT COSTUME: Community Center, 1420 E. Kika de la Garza $5.00 a person
 January 24, 2015Saturday 7 P.M.  ROYAL RECEPTION BALL: Community Center, 1420 E. Kika de la Garza  $50.00 a person
JAN. 29, 2015,
7 PM
ROYAL CORONATION OF KING CITRUS AND QUEEN CITRIANNA: Mission High School, Neuhaus Center, 1802 W. Cleo Dawson $5 General Seating
$10 Reserved Seating
January 31, 2015
Saturday 3 P.M.
PARADE OF ORANGES Non-Commercial Entry – $40.00. Commercial Entry – $250.00
January 31, 2015
VAQUERO COOK-OFF $225 per team  – Additional $100.00  for advertising  (NO political signs). Location: Leo Pena Veterans Park, 9th Street & Conway
January 31, 2015
10 AM to 10 PM.
 January 2015  HEART OF AMERICA CARNIVAL  FM 495 & Conway. For information: (956)-585-9724
JAN. 31, 2015 PARADE CONCESSIONS Start at $50.00 and up
January 31, 2015Saturday, 7:30AM FUN RUN Mission Hike and Bike Trails 1414 S. Conway. To register: 956-580-8760 – Mission Parks & Recreation

GREATER MISSION CHAMBER OF COMMERCE- 202 W. Tom Landry Call 956-585-2727

HEART OF AMERICA CARNIVAL – January 2015 – FM 495 & Conway  For Information Call: 956-585-9724 or log on to: info@texascitrusfiesta.org   or   www.texascitrusfiesta.org

PARADE OF ORANGES: January 31, 2015 3 P.M.

Come join us this year for our spectacular Parade of Oranges. This year’s theme is Western Glitz and Glamour. Our unique Parade of Oranges features floats covered with citrus and Valley products. The parade route becomes lined with more than 100,000 spectators from the United States, Canada and Mexico who come to watch the colorful floats built by civic clubs, churches, businesses and schools. The parade route will be begin on Conway and 495 to 4th Street. Bring some snacks and park your vehicle by the road (along Conway) and enjoy the beautiful floats. For tickets, call 580-8646.

FIESTA FUN FAIR: January 31, 2015 Saturday 10 AM to 10 PM

Fiesta activities have grown over the years and now include an arts and crafts show; Fiesta Fun Fair, with folk dancers, music, food, and entertainment for every age group; and a Vaquero (cowboy) Cook-Off, in which contestants cook over their campfires in front of their own antique covered wagons.  Fiesta Kiddie Activities include a moon walk, ferris wheel, giant slide, pony rides. Come join us for fun for the whole family!

PRODUCT COSTUME SHOW: January 17, 2015 Saturday 2 P.M.

Every year, a selective group of women get together to plan and design beautiful costumes made of dried, powdered, and crystallized fruits and vegetables grown in the Rio Grande Valley. These are beautiful costumes that are truly a work of art. Each year they are modeled at the Product Costume Style Show at the Queen Citrianna Pageant. For ticket information, contact the office at 956-585-9724.

Texas Citrus Fiesta Board
President: Bill FilutExecutive Director: Betra H. Pena
1st. Vice President: Oscar Martinez
2nd Vice President: Buster Brown
Secretary: Norma Sanchez
Parliamentarian: Minnie Rodgers
Texas Citrus Fiesta Board
Member: Ric Brown
Member: Brian Gerlach
Member: Scott Gerlach
Member: Nancy Chapa
Member: Keith Gerlach
Member: Norma Hinojosa

For Texas Citrus Fiesta ticket and time information, call 956-585-9724 or visit www.texascitrusfiesta.net.