Winter Texan expo welcomes thousands to convention center

HARLINGEN — Live mariachi and folklorico dancers in bright hues and braided hairdos were the main attraction as spectators walked around the Harlingen Convention Center.

The 13th Annual Winter Texan Appreciation Day welcomed around 3,000 attendees from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday, according to Cassandra Consiglio, Harlingen Convention and Visitors Bureau Director.

Visitors were able to enjoy entertainment while they looked around at vendor booths.

H-E-B, hospitals, tour guides and RV parks were present to give information on their activities and services.

In addition, one of the main attractions was the antique car show happening outside the convention center.

The show was hosted by the Antique Automobile Club of America Rio Grande Valley Chapter.

According to club official Arnold Rodriguez, the nonprofit organization has been active since 1987 and its participation with the Winter Texan expo has been ongoing for several years.

Tooky Roberts, from San Benito, visited the expo for the first time. She is originally from Central Texas but has been living in the Rio Grande Valley for the past few years.

“I think it is very big and active event. I liked the music. It was very nice. The RV park told us about it,” Roberts said.

“I love it down in this part of the country, and I love the people,” she said.

This is the first time the expo is hosted at the Harlingen Convention Center.

“I do believe some of the commissioners suggested over 13 years ago to do a celebration for the winter Texans coming into Harlingen. We have expanded to have a lot of fun experiences for them,” Consiglio said.

“We are at a new location, but the core of the expo remains the same. We want to encourage businesses to come and showcase what they offer in an all-in-one-stop show,” she said.

According to Consiglio, the response this year was higher than last year.

Carol Bates, from Denver, Colorado, has been living in Harlingen for 15 years. This was her second time attending, as well as her husband.

“It’s good. You find out about events close by that are free and having a great time,” she said.

“My children’s great-grandfather used to live here, and he was a mailman on horseback. We like it very much,” Bates said.