Anticipation swelled, as did the crowds, while kids, parents and participants gathered Saturday morning for Fiesta Edinburg’s “Safari Celebration” Parade.
Eyes kept a wary watch as black clouds loomed overhead in the north. Over 100 floats, made by local clubs, organizations, businesses, along with Edinburg’s junior high and high school marching bands, paused for judging while exposed to the elements as the cold front abruptly blew in around 9 a.m.
“The cooler air and mist felt pretty good at first,” said Mari Garza, a parent standing nearby. “But then it started getting stronger and colder. It’s too much for the kids now.”
One float participant held a papier maché pillar to the bed of the truck as gusty winds toppled plants and blew the rest of the decorations across the parking lot.
On another float, students struggled to keep their soaked costumes from blowing off. One teacher, marching in front of the Safari exhibit, finally removed her face mask, her expression evidence of the letdown most felt.
Even though the students could not open their eyes completely because of the stinging rain blowing toward them, Edinburg South Junior High band members marched anyway to help keep everyone’s spirits up.
The colors of the brightly-decorated floats began to literally fade onto the pavement in puddles as rainwater saturated the paper and cloth garlands.
“It hasn’t rained in months,” one angry parent, who asked to remain anonymous, said. “Now we’ve worked so hard to get this? It makes me mad!”
By 9:45 a.m., most had given up on keeping their costumes and floats intact. Parents began pulling their kids out of the parade, and teachers awaited the news as to whether the parade would be stopped. And by 10 a.m., the designated time for the parade to begin, the news spread that the festivities were indeed cancelled.
Waterlogged and toppled floats were witnessed being dragged away from the parade route via Closner and University Boulevard as disappointed spectators made their way back to their vehicles.
One small child, wearing a Native American Indian costume, ran to keep up with his parents, who were also dressed in Indian costumes. “Aren’t we going to be in the parade, Daddy?” he asked when they got to their car.
“Not today,” his dad replied. “It’s too damn cold!”