The McAllen Holiday Parade continues to be recognized as “The Best Overall” in the state of Texas walking away with 14 awards – 7 of which were gold – as well as the coveted Best Overall award for the second year in a row for the McAllen Holiday Parade at this past weekend’s Texas Association of Fairs and Events annual conference held in Galveston.

When speaking to the more than 700 attendees at the conference in the award presentation, Jerry Huffman, President of TAF&E and Executive Director of the George H. Henderson Jr. Exposition Center said, “I think it’s an awesome, awesome thing for McAllen to win this. What McAllen has done in just the last few years in creating this project [McAllen Holiday Parade] is absolutely incredible. This is how good McAllen is. You are better than anybody else in the state.”

The McAllen Holiday Parade competed in the attendance category of 250,001 - 500,000 of the TAF&E Ray Cammack Shows Awards of Excellence for Marketing and Communications, competing against such events as the East Texas State Fair from Tyler, Texas and Grapefest in Grapevine, Texas. Other big winners included the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, the San Antonio Livestock Show & Rodeo, and the State Fair of Texas, as well as the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show & Rodeo, winning several awards and competing in the same category as the McAllen Holiday Parade.

The McAllen Holiday Parade that was awarded Best Overall in its category, which judges events based on their purpose and mission, the quality of marketing and communication elements, as well as activities included with the event, such as the volunteer program; merchandising and other special programs including community outreach programs. The McAllen Holiday Parade highlights the number of volunteers, and age of those volunteers to participate and the green program, which provides recycle bags to parade attendees who sit along Bicentennials Boulevard for their recyclables or trash. The private Celebrity Meet & Greet with the Capable Kids Foundation is also a highlight of the entry.

“This award just confirms what we in McAllen and the entire Rio Grande Valley already know about the McAllen Holiday Parade; it is indeed the Best!” said McAllen Mayor Jim Darling. “I can’t wait to see what we do this year to make it another magical night.”

The McAllen Holiday Parade also received the following Gold awards:


Best Newspaper Ad - Color

Best Magazine Ad

Best Outdoor Promotion

Best Newspaper Insert/Supplement

Best Media Press Kit

Best Photograph Series

Best Social Media Campaign



The McAllen Holiday Parade also received the following Silver awards:


Best Pin or Medal

Best Miscellaneous Single-Page Materials

Best Specialty Video

Best T.V. News Segment

Best Viral Marketing Blitz


The McAllen Holiday Parade also received a Bronze award for the Best Pin or Medal.

“The McAllen Holiday Parade is competing against established events that have been in the industry for decades, including the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show & Rodeo” said Assistant City Manager Joe Vera. “The fact that the parade has been recognized at such a high level, in only four short years is important for the event sponsors as this means that they are associating with a quality entertainment event. However, I would like to congratulate the RGV Livestock Show for their awards including Sam Morrow, 2nd vice president of the of organization, who was recognized as the Volunteer of the Year by the Texas Association of Fairs & Events. That is a huge honor and events such as these, that have been around for decades serve as inspiration.”

In fact, McAllen is well-represented within the TAF&E organization, with City of McAllen Parks & Recreation Director Mike Hernandez currently serving on the Board of Directors and Assistant City Manager having served as president of the organization in years past.

The McAllen Holiday Parade, the largest illuminated holiday and helium balloon parade in Texas, was awarded for the 2017 presentation of the event. The MHP, presented by H-E-B, just celebrated its fifth anniversary in 2018. Make plans to attend this year’s celebrity-studded, high-powered event on Saturday, December 7, 2019.

TAF&E exists to help promote the value and importance of fairs, festivals and special events by being an advocate and supporter to our members, who have the same desire to improve their event. The membership of TAF&E is made up of events and organizations from across the state and from neighboring states as well. It includes fairs and festivals of all sizes, including community, county, district, regional and state-wide events.