McALLEN — It was another successful Fourth of July parade complete with floats, music, and motorcades as onlookers crowded in shaded areas along Main Street to get a good view of the procession.
The lineup featured approximately 90 elements, including more than 10 floats, marching bands from the McAllen high schools, several veterans groups, McAllen city commissioners riding on a train, multiple color guards, pickup trucks, the United Cities Car Club and the Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas.
Running from Houston Street to Beech Street, the parade commenced shortly after 9 a.m. and lasted about 40 minutes.
It is part of McAllen’s 91st Annual Independence Day celebration that also included a Freedom Festival in Archer Park and the fireworks display at the Municipal Park.
Planning for the day’s events is a yearlong process which includes reaching out to various groups to invite them to participate, according to Carina Jimenez, the marketing and special events coordinator for the city.
“ This is our 91st annual event so we always have new elements that we add and new attractions,” she said. “One thing that we added was our Independence 4K so we worked really closely with traffic, police, public works to add that route to our event.”
Making their debut this year were Junior Miss 4th of July Zarah Zamora, Young Miss Madalyn Arechiga and Little Miss Camila Funk, who were all crowned about two weeks ago.
The three were appeared calm and confident as they rode on a giant carriage that was part of their float, waiting for the parade to begin.
“ Being in this carriage kind of makes me feel like Cinderella or something,” said Funk, 10, adding that she wasn’t nervous at all about being in the parade.
Arechiga, 10, said she had walked in the parade before but this riding on a float was a different experience.
“ Being on a huge float, it makes me feel like I accomplished something super great,” she said. “This might be my only time so I really want to have a good time.”
For Zamora, 14, the parade is part of her goal this summer to take new chances.
“ I’m super excited,” she said. “I’ve never been in a parade or participated in a pageant before so it’s a new thing and I love it.”
As the girls waited for the parade to begin, one of the parade’s musical acts — The Rovers — rehearsed for their first parade performance.
The band, which plays events throughout the Rio Grande Valley, play a mix of classic rock, 80s, country music and some Irish music.
“ We’re looking forward to it, it should be fun,” said Fergus Dowling, the lead singer and Ireland-native who said he’s lived in the Valley for about 20 years.
Asked if they were concerned about playing on a moving stage for the first time, Dowling said they would soon find out.
Regardless, the crowd appeared to enjoy their musical stylings as the group made their way up Main Street on a float that featured the Washington Monument.
While an official count of the number of attendees was not available, a sizable group lined every block of the parade route.
“ It’s a 91-year tradition,” said Jimenez, the marketing and special events coordinator for the city of McAllen. “We have people who have their spot and came out here with their parents and grandparents and now are bringing out their kids so it’s one of those events that’s engraved, its part of everyone’s day and year and so everyone comes out.”