PalmFest International Folklife Celebration is back in its 11th year with a variety of entertainment to highlight the Valley’s unique history and celebrate its rich cultural heritage. Each year, on the first weekend in October, PalmFest showcases the region’s amazing talent in art and music and puts on a weekend full of family-fun activities with games and rides, historical displays, FFA competitions and so much more! The annual celebration that boasts over 50,000 attendees is held at the McAllen Convention Center.
Over the years, the event has grown to include entertainment such as a classic car show, a carnival, and this year – a Saturday night concert featuring Tracy Lawrence. PalmFest has developed over the years and has become an anticipated event across the region. However, these big events don’t just fall into place on their own. After McAllen’s Centennial Celebration in 2004, the Centennial Committee saw the value in bringing the community together to celebrate our unique history and culture.
The annual folklife festival grew from their idea along with the help of countless hours and many hands of volunteers along the way. On July 22, 2016, Elva Cerda, one of the founding members of the festival, was inducted into the Texas Festivals and Events Association Hall of Honor for her outstanding volunteer service and commitment to the creation of PalmFest. According to Cerda, volunteering was a key to the success of the event. “My father raised us to serve others – to serve others and not expect anything in return.
I really have found that, by and large, that has added a wonderful level of gratification to my life. I would love to see that spark be passed on to younger generations,” Cerda said. The committee’s dedication to preserve the history of the area and share it with the community was instrumental in the success of the event. This dedication from Cerda along with other committee and community members helped the group to realize a goal that otherwise might have never come to be. “Volunteers can do a lot of things that couldn’t possibly be accomplished any other way,” Cerda said. “It’s not about you, it’s not about me, it’s about the goal of what we want to accomplish. That’s why I’m a volunteer.” After many development meetings and continued organization efforts, the wonderful celebration has become a highlight in the community each year. Attendees can expect a variety of live entertainment, including local and regional musicians and dancers, artisan markets, kid’s activities, pig races and the exciting “Rancho El Caballo” horse show.
New to this year’s event will be the Palmfest Classic, the FFA sponsored heifer, lamb and goat competition. Also new to the event is “Into the Wild,” the newest educational exhibit for PalmFest International Folklife Celebration. In addition to all of the exciting ways this event celebrates the rich heritage of Deep South Texas, “Into the Wild” will enhance the attendee’s experience with live animal demonstrations, nature exhibits, arts and culture as well as science and technology However, volunteers and sponsors are still needed to make this year’s PalmFest happen! Volunteer opportunities include something for everyone.
They can greet attendees, work as stage runners for one of the six stages, act as a social media representative, or even take tickets and help with parking. Every job makes a big difference! The charming mascot Palmee is also needed to give high fives and pose for photos, bringing smiles all around. With over 150 volunteer opportunities available, there is something for anyone and everyone who is willing to serve. Mark your calendars for the exciting event taking place on Oct. 1 and 2 at the McAllen Convention Center. If you’d like to help out or just want more information, call the McAllen Convention Center at (956) 681-3800 or visit www. palmfest.com.