By FRED RAMOS

Special to The Monitor

EDINBURG — The Fiesta Edinburg Parade on Saturday morning was a trip back in time to TV Land.

This year, each float took on the theme from a popular television comedy show, such as “Friends,” “The Love Boat” and “Big Bang Theory.” On board the local Crimestoppers’ “Gilligan’s Island” float was Gilligan, the Skipper, Mary Ann and several CrimeStoppers workers portraying the rest of the castaways.

Yvonne Garza, president of the local CrimeStoppers, said the entire crew had an important message to pass on.

“We want to promote the fact that people can report a crime by calling the tip line anonymously (956-787-8477). We’ve been a part of Fiesta Edinburg for about 15 years,” Garza said . “Today we won third place in the best float category. It took five people about three weeks to build the float.”

The annual parade downtown Saturday was just one event of the 51st annual Fiesta Edinburg. Other events included a carnival, rodeo, live concerts and a fajita cook-off. But the focus of the festival is the parade which treks from Edinburg Stadium to the Hidalgo County Courthouse. Thousands lined the streets at 10 a.m. to watch the colorful floats and enjoy the many marching bands.

For the city’s high school bands, this is an important annual event.

“These are the community events that we really enjoy,” said Tomas Peña, band director at Edinburg’s Economedes High School. “The kids love it,”

Members of the Edinburg Economedes High School marching band practice before the start of the Fiesta Edinburg parade on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, in Edinburg. (Joel Martinez | jmartinez@themonitor.com)

Angel Soto, 18, a drummer in the 160-member band, agrees. But while it can be exciting performing for thousands of spectators at Fiesta Edinburg, the event can be physically difficult.

“I like playing for a lot of people. It is fun. But you need a lot of good conditioning. And you need to memorize a lot of music. That helps too,” Soto said.” You have to get your legs ready for the march. Or else, if you don’t prep, you will wake up really sore in the morning.”

The celebration is very popular with Winter Texans in the Edinburg area as well. Many recent arrivals to the Rio Grande Valley could be found along the parade route.

Mildred Ripplinger moved to Edinburg from Northern Wisconsin four years ago. She was taking her German shepherd service dog, Bonnie, out for a walk when she happened to come across the parade and decided to enjoy the festivities. She says even Bonnie seemed to enjoy the parade.

“This is really nice because there aren’t any sirens. Sirens make her nervous,” Ripplinger said. “I love seeing the little children and the way they are all dressed up.”

Paul Adam is originally from Ontario, Canada, but now calls the Valley home. He described the parade as “amazing.”

“Look at all the children involved,” Adam said.

His wife, Jo-Anne, added, “I enjoy watching the kids. I can see a lot of parents that are doing a lot of work with these kids, so they can come here today.”

Fiesta Edinburg was originally created to celebrate the city’s naming as the county seat. In addition to the many cultural events, the city hosted two nights of live concerts at the main stage in Municipal Park in downtown Edinburg. Friday, popular Texas country music star Roger Creager took the stage. Saturday, the lineup included Raulito and Little Joe y La Familia.

Fiesta Edinburg is considered the city’s largest celebration.

Participants wave from their “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” themed float during the Fiesta Edinburg parade on Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019, in Edinburg. (Joel Martinez | jmartinez@themonitor.com)