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.

2017 Texas Citrus Fiesta Calendar of Events

MISSION-SHARYLAND DUCHESS PAGEANT
September 29,  2016.

PRINCESS ANNA PAGEANT – October 8, 2016, Mission Community Center, 1420 E Kika De La Garza, 2-4 PM. $ 5.00 a person.

SHOE BOX FLOAT COMPETITION– January 2017.

PRODUCT COSTUME SHOW – Saturday – January 14, 2017 –  2 P. M. $5.00 a person – Location: Mission Community Center, 1420 E. Kika de la Garza

ROYAL RECEPTION – Saturday – January 21, 2017 – $50.00 a person Location: Community Center, 1420 E. Kika de la Garza.

ROYAL CORONATION OF KING CITRUS & QUEEN CITRIANNA Thursday- January 26, 2017 – 7 PM – $5.00 General Seating – $10.00 Reserved Location: Mission High School- Neuhaus Center – 1802 W. Cleo Dawson
SATURDAY- JANUARY 28, 2017- 10 AM TO 10 PM.

PARADE OF ORANGES – Saturday – January 28, 2017 – 3 PM Line-Up 11 AM -2 PM at 2 Mile Line and Conway. Parade will run North to South on Conway starting at FM 495- south to 4th Street – JUDGING 1:00PM  Non-Commercial Entry – $40.00 Commercial (Businesses) Entry -$250.00.

CITRUS YOUTH SHOW– Time to be announced.

FUN FAIR – Free Gate Admission- Food Vendors –Arts & Crafts-Entertainment Each 10’ x 10’ space – Non-Commercial -$100 .00   Commercial- $150.00.

PARADE CONCESSIONS– Concession Sales on parade route – 12pm- 6pm -Starting at $ 50.00.

VAQUERO COOK-OFF -$250 per team – Additional $100.00 for advertising (NO political signs)-Location: Leo Pena Veterans Park, 9th Street & Conway.

FUN RUN – Call 956-580-8760 – Call: Mission Parks & Recreation.

While in Mission visit our Mission Historical Museum 900 Doherty – Mission, TX -for more information call: (956) 580-8646.

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

HEART OF AMERICA CARNIVAL – January 2016 – FM 495 & Conway  For Information Call: 956-585-9724 or log on to: info@texascitrusfiesta.org   or   www.texascitrusfiesta.org

PARADE OF ORANGES: January 30, 2017 3 P.M.

Come join us this year for our spectacular Parade of Oranges. This year’s theme is CITRUS CARTOON & COMIC BOOK CHARACTERS. 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 30, 2017 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 14, 2017 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 Filut
Executive 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 http://www.texascitrusfiesta.org/