As America prepares to celebrate Independence Day, the cities of McAllen, Edinburg and Pharr will celebrate freedom with their tribute to America.

Texas Cook’em: High Steaks in Edinburg on Saturday July 3 will be at the Edinburg Municipal Park, McAllen will hold its annual parade downtown and fireworks at McAllen Municipal Park and the Pharr United Methodist Church (PUMC) will have Food Pantry’s 4th of July BBQ on Sunday.

McAllen Parade, Fireworks

McAllen Parks and Recreation will be celebrating their annual Fourth of July festivities on July 3 because Sally Gavlik, director for parks and recreation, felt it would be a perfect time because July 4 falls on Sunday this year.

“We had our events moved to July 3 because the fourth is on a Sunday and we didn’t want to be competing with church activities,” Gavlik said. “So the parade and the activities at Archer Park will be on the third.”

The parade will begin at 9 a.m. at the McAllen Civic Center and run up Main Street and end at Archer Park. Immediately following the parade, there will be activities at Archer Park for people who want to go and participate in them.

“We have some food booths and we have games and activities for the kids, a patriotic ceremony that begins at 8 a.m. and then the parade is at 9 a.m. and we will continue to have things at Archer Park until 2 or 3 o’clock,” Gavlik said. “It usually dies down depending on how hot it gets.”

Following the events in the morning there will be a firework show that evening at Municipal Park.

“That night we’ll have some other activities at Municipal Park,” Gavlik said. “The grand finale will be the fireworks.”

Edinburg’s Cook’em

Texas Cook’em is the Valley’s biggest and only International Bar-B-Que Cookers Association sanctioned steak cook off featuring T-bone steak, chicken, ribs and brisket. Competitors pay only $75 per category or $200 for all categories with over $15,000 in prize money to be awarded to the top winners.

It costs $25 to become sanctioned by the IBCA for the year.

“You’re in compliance with their rules with the sanction,” Evana Vleck, director of marketing for the chamber said. “When you have a certain amount of cooks lined up they receive a certain amount of points and they’re able to compete in larger cook offs.”

Also with the IBCA sanction competitors feel like it’s a fair fight for first. Apparently sometimes results can be left for “friends” to sort out.

“This is why we have that huge judge’s tent,” Vleck said. “It’s blind judging so that’s the thing that attracts people now. People feel that it’s rigged down here but with the sanctioning and blind judging you have no idea whose plate is right in front of you.”

The IBCA establish their own rules and grillers need to be in compliance with those rules because when the person who wins at High Steaks he or she will go on to the national level to compete for more money.

“Our goal is always to get 50 or more cooks because we want our grand champions to be able to compete in the national cook off,” Vleck said. “Those cook offs are by invitation only and so that’s why it’s a big draw.”

Also this year Texas Cook’em will have an Apple Pie Bake Off for $10 an entry. The winners will receive ribbons for first-third place.

There will be a firework show and live music featuring Elida Reyna, Zereno, Texas Heat and La Mafia.


Pharr United Methodist Church (PUMC) Food Pantry will be celebrating the Fourth of July with food and entertainment for the whole family.

“We’re going to be having food for the kids,” Ernest Palma, P.R. Director for PUMC said. “Kids 12 and under eat for free.”

The event starts at 1 p.m. and will run until 6 p.m. PUMC has set up some entertainment as well for the children.

“We’ll have karaoke, chalupa, sing-a-longs and a couple of other little games,” Palma said.

It will take place at PUMC which is located at 119 E. Kelly Ave.

For more information on all the events visit