South Padre Island Kite Fest: Let’s Tie One On!

What started out as a mere ‘fun fly’ is now one of the biggest kite
festivals in the country.


On Jan. 31st, Feb. 1st and 2nd , 2019 ~ Thursday Night, Friday & Saturday ~ SPI Kite Fest will descend onto the flats of South Padre Island. The festival kicks off Thursday evening with Indoor Kite Performances held at the South Padre Island Convention Centre from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.


The indoor performance lineup boasts an array of internationally known kitefliers. John Barresi holds thirty-one national championship titles and is the 2018 Open Individual Unlimited Ballet champion. John will be joined by Scott Weider & Phil Burks who both were invited to fly in Saudi Arabia in 2017 and James Fletcher the 2014 AKA National Indoor Champion. Other invited performers are Mario Di Lucca from Victoria, British Columbia, Spence Watson, Paul de Bakker, Paul Lamasters and Brett Marchel. All of these amazing indoor fliers dedicate their cheoreographed
routines with one passion in mind . . . “creating peace thru kiting ~


If you have never been to an Indoor Kite Performance, this is the
event you do not want to miss! Tickets for the Indoor Kite Exhibition are $6 per person and can be purchased or reserved in advance at B&S Kites (956-761-1248). Tickets are not available at the door.  The festival continues on Friday & Saturday (Feb. 1st & 2nd ) when the festival moves outdoors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the flats just north of the Convention Centre.


Several kitefliers from all over the United States are scheduled to bring their magnificent ‘show kites’ that will be on display throughout the day. Just imagine it ~ a huge 3D dragon, a 150 ft. octopus, a 90 ft. gecko or a 24 ft. spinning bol ~ whatever you can imagine, you might see it soaring in the air.


No kite fest is complete without the mesmerizing performances of
individual as well as team performances. Three teams are scheduled to perform at this year’s event ~ John Barresi is returning with Team Kitelife consisting of John (Portland, OR), Scott Benz (Jacksonville, FL), Eli Russell (Portland, OR) and Brett Marchel (Harbor Springs, MI). Next up Team Rev-Riders consisting of Scott Weider (Vancouver, WA), Paul LaMasters (Germantown, MD), James Fletcher (Baltimore, MD) and Drayton Callison (Treasure Island, FL) as well as Team End of the Line from Austin. Completing the performance roster will be Spence ‘Watty’ Watson (Bellevue, WA), Paul de Bakker (Oak Harbor, WA), Mario DiLucca (Victoria, BC) as well as several ‘Winter Texans’ who have found they not only have a passion for kite flying but a talent for performing as well. Admission for the outdoor event is free.


So . . . bring a cooler, bring a lawn chair, come for the day or stay
for the weekend. Just make South Padre Island your destination the
first weekend in February. You’ll be delighted you did. You’ll get
amazing photos to share with your friends and may even start a
new tradition. For more information contact B&S Kites at
(956) 761-1248, by email at , our website, or visit SPI Kite Fest 2019 event page on
We’ll see you there !

Tour Rancho Lomitas with Edinburg Scenic Wetlands

Edinburg, Texas – Take a tour of the beautiful Rancho Lomitas and learn about the historical uses and interesting properties of native plants. This winter, the Edinburg Scenic Wetlands and World Birding Center (EWBC) will escort a field trip to this native oasis north of Rio Grande City on Thursday, Jan. 17 from 7:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.


Ranch owner and ethnobotanist, Benito Treviño, will lead participants on a tour of the ranch and discuss how knowledge of local plants and their practical uses have helped people survive in the Rio Grande Valley for hundreds of years.


The cost for each Rancho Lomitas tour is $20.00 for EWBC members and $25.00 for non-members. Seating is limited, so please call ahead at least two days before the trip to reserve your space. Deadline to register is Monday. Jan. 14. Participants will depart from the EWBC at 7:30 a.m. and arrive back at 3:00 p.m. Participants can bring a sack lunch to eat while out at the ranch.


The Edinburg Scenic Wetlands and World Birding Center is located at 714 South Raul Longoria Road (in the Edinburg Municipal Park) in Edinburg, Texas. For more information on this and other programs, call (956) 381-9922 or visit

Bentsen Palm Village shares the Christmas spirit with a Mission family

Written by Rocio Villalobos 

Photo by Rick Harrington

For Christmas this year, residents at Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort combined their resources to create an unforgettable day for a family of six.


Resort manager Keith Willquette, along with other personnel, decided that nothing could bring more holiday cheer to the park than the gift of giving.


After finding a family in need through a Mission church, the park publicized the need for donations in early December. Residents did not disappoint.


The exclusively winter Texan park currently has about 200 of its sites full. And according to resident Anne Scott, just about everyone chose to give.


“They were exceedingly generous,” she said.


Dozens of toys, gadgets and clothing articles were collected for the children — two boys ages 15, 10, and two girls ages 7 and 4. Crafters put their skills to use by making quilts and knitting hats.


Al Peterson, a first year resident at the resort, served as the translator for the Spanish-speaking family. He helped set up the time and date for the gifts to be delivered and found out the sizes and gift requests for the children.


“They were just really modest people,” he said. “I think actually they were a little overwhelmed by all the stuff.”


The park staff was also able to purchase grocery gift cards and bikes and helmets for each child with more than $500 donated in addition to the toys.


“We’re all grandparents and we don’t have little kids to buy presents for… because we’re not with our families,” said Scott. “So we decided to do something to provide a special Christmas for another family.”


A few days before Christmas, volunteers loaded up a truck and SUV with the items purchased and donated to deliver it to the family.


“They seemed very appreciative,” said Scott. “The kids were bouncing up and down like little kids do at Christmas.”


Given the response from the Bentsen community, said Scott and Peterson, they believe they can make their giving a tradition to share with families in need around the Rio Grande Valley.


“We’re all so blessed to have this lifestyle and to have enough money to reach out and try to help these people,” said Scott. “On the way back (from dropping off the items) we all said, ‘well, that made our Christmas.’”

KAI brings a bit of Hawaii to Winter Texan Expo

Kainoa Kamaka will be entertaining at 11:00 at Winter Texan Expo on Wednesday Jan. 16th


Kainoa Kamaka (aka KAI) is a professional sponsored KoAloha Ukulele Artist, born and raised from the Big Island of Hawaii and now resides in San Antonio, Texas.  Recognized as an “Ambassador of Aloha” by the Lt. Governor of Hawaii and the L&L Hawaiian Grill franchise, Kainoa’s wide repretoire of music from Hawaii to the mainland, combined with his energy and ability to entertain every audience, makes him a well-sought after entertainer for all events!


The Winter Texan Expo is a fun-filled, two day event held each year in January.  This year’s event will be held on January 15-16, 2019 at the McAllen Convention Center. Admission is free, and so is the parking!  For more information visit

The Kody Norris Show to perform at Winter Texan Expo

The Kody Norris Show Performing January 15 at 11:00 a.m.


Always maintaining a sharp professional appearance, complete with colorful rhinestone suits and cowboy hats, The Kody Norris Show gives a bluegrass fan one of the most solid, entertaining, and animated performances he or she will ever experience. The performances of The Kody Norris Show are reminiscent of traditional bluegrass artists, yet Kody brings his own special, distinct flair to the music. The band works regularly on the Cumberland Highlanders Show and The Bluegrass Trail, both weekly bluegrass programs on the nationally acclaimed RFD-TV network. From the first note, The Kody Norris Show will fully captivate your attention and make you laugh, cry, and stomp your feet, all in one performance!


Visit the band’s website at and find them on Facebook.


The Winter Texan Expo is a fun-filled, two day event held each year in January.  This year’s event will be held on January 15-16, 2019 at the McAllen Convention Center. Admission is free, and so is the parking!  For more information visit

Winter Texan Expo: Rusty Rierson

Rusty Rierson Performing January 16 at 1:45 p.m.



Rusty Rierson is a native of South-Central, Kansas. Growing up on the family farm he fell in love with agriculture earning a bachelor’s in agricultural economics and a master’s in animal science. Rusty got into music when he was 14 years old. He started singing in church and soon it became a passion. He learned guitar when his father, Roger, suggested they take lessons together.


Rusty has played all over the U.S., including Alaska. He has toured abroad in Canada, Mexico, Central America, Scotland, and London. He often travels with the Better Horses Radio Show and has played rodeos, barrel races, and horse events all over the Midwest. Rusty has opened for, and shared the stage and worked with, artists such as Sawyer Brown, John Berry, Doug Stone, Michael Martin Murphy, Dustin Lynch, T. G. Sheppard, Moe Bandy, David Frizzell, R.W. Hampton, Johnny Lee, Bill Gentry, Leroy Van Dyke, Helen Cornelius, Billy Dean, Johnny Western, Love and Theft, Collin Raye, Suzy Bogguss, Radney Foster, Logan Mize, Jimmy Fortune, Craig Campbell, John Anderson, Walker Montgomery, Ronnie McDowell, Cassadee Pope, Joe Diffie, Maddie & Tae, Don Williams, and many others.  He always plays tribute to George Strait, Don Williams, and some of his other heroes, as well as delighting crowds with his own music.


Rusty said he hopes people will see his music as “a breath of fresh air.”  He has produced eight albums and one DVD. There are now more than 100,000 copies of his albums in print.


If you are interested in having Rusty perform at one of your shows, please call his manager, L. Rice at 956-564- 1923 or send an email to  Be sure to visit his Facebook page!


The Winter Texan Expo is a fun-filled, two day event held each year in January.  This year’s event will be held on January 15-16, 2019 at the McAllen Convention Center. Admission is free, and so is the parking!  For more information visit

Rick McEwen to perform at Winter Texan Expo

Rick McEwen Performing January 15 at 1:45 p.m.


A 35-year veteran of Branson Entertainment, Rick McEwen has performed with some of the biggest entertainers in show business.  He has a passion for performing classic rock, classic country, rhythm and blues, and soul music.  Rick is a member of the Traditional Country Hall of Fame and has been nominated for Male Vocalist of the Year in Branson, Missouri.


Rick spent eight years honing his skills in Nashville before moving to the live-music capitol of the world, Branson, in 1984. He performed with such greats as Earl Scruggs, Webb Pierce, The Dillards (They were the Darling family on the Andy Griffith Show).  Randy opened many shows for Waylon, George Jones, Loretta Lynn, Dottie West, and other country-music legends.


After moving to Branson, Rick was the featured singer with the great Jim Stafford for 14 years.  He has produced eight musical shows, 10 albums, and music for a Walt-Disney production. Rick is currently the executive producer of the Branson Terry Music Awards and a full-time performer.


Rick said, “Music has been my life and my joy.”  Learn more about Rick on his Facebook page.


The Winter Texan Expo is a fun-filled, two day event held each year in January.  This year’s event will be held on January 15-16, 2019 at the McAllen Convention Center. Admission is free, and so is the parking!  For more information visit

Winter Texan Expo: Ralph Kuster Jan 16

Ralph Kuster Performing January 16 at 9:30 a.m.


Ralph Kuster’s lifelong passion for music became a reality with the production of his first three CDs from 2003 to 2005. In 2006, he was thrilled and honored to perform I May Never Get to Heaven by Conway Twitty and Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers before over 2200 people at the annual COSAP Variety Show at the renowned Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto, Canada.


In 2008, Ralph opened his one-man variety show in Branson, Missouri, and continued shows there at the God and Country Theater through December of 2013.  In 2012, he began to perform in the Rio Grande Valley. With over 600 songs now in his repertoire, Ralph produces, directs, and performs a series of shows.  Ralph now includes a visual presentation for every song in every show to add to the enjoyment of his performances.


Ralph loves to interact with his audiences, and his musical diversity has resulted in various return engagements in the Rio Grande Valley. He can tailor a show to meet specific musical and time-restricted preferences. Ralph enjoys performing gospel music and has been a guest soloist at various churches and gospel functions.


See Ralph’s Rio Grande Valley Schedule or hear him perform a few songs on this site,


To arrange a performance at your facility, feel free to contact Ralph Kuster Entertainment at or by phone at 417-230-8198 or 613-922-1941.


The Winter Texan Expo is a fun-filled, two day event held each year in January.  This year’s event will be held on January 15-16, 2019 at the McAllen Convention Center. Admission is free, and so is the parking!  For more information visit

Winter Texan Expo: Patsy Cline Tribute with Rainy

Rainy Mandziuk Performing January 15 at 12:15 p.m.

Rainy returns to the RGV with her special tribute to the Legendary Patsy Cline. With a voice that is distinctly “Patsy,” she presents a convincing performance as she celebrates the songs and spirit of this country-music legend.


During her high-energy show, Rainy slips in a few memorable hits from 60’s pop artists Connie Francis, Karen Carpenter, and Anne Murray. Mix this with a little trivia and some hilarious (not-so-true) stories, and you’re in for an entertaining and fun-filled evening.


When not in the Rio Grande Valley, Rainy is part of a group of tribute artists who travel and perform in casinos and at corporate events and and festivals in both Canada and the Upper Midwest.


Rainy and hubby, Hank, welcome you to come out and join them as they take you on a musical journey down memory lane. For all Patsy Cline fans, this is a must-see show!


Contact Rainy at 956-702-6819 or by email at


The Winter Texan Expo is a fun-filled, two day event held each year in January.  This year’s event will be held on January 15-16, 2019 at the McAllen Convention Center. Admission is free, and so is the parking!  For more information visit

Pickpocket Gene to perform at Winter Texan Expo

Gene Turner

Performing January 15 at 9:30 a.m.


Gene Turner began his career as a pickpocket entertainer almost by accident. As an insurance salesman, Gene would perform magic tricks for his clients.  But soon, they wanted him to perform at parties more than they wanted to talk insurance. By 1985, Gene found he was successful enough with his comedy, magic, and pickpocket demonstrations to leave the world of actuarial tables behind and dedicate himself to his real love–performing.


Since that time, the demand for Gene’s talents as a corporate magician, pickpocket infotainer (someone who uses entertainment to inform or educate), and speaker has grown to over 150 events each year and includes performances and speaking engagements for many Fortune 500 companies. He wows audiences at seminars, conferences, stockholder meetings, trade shows, awards banquets, and celebrity receptions. He is an incredible keynote speaker and master of ceremonies, using his skills to motivate, inform and entertain.


Gene is a Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist and makes numerous presentations weekly on the subjects of identity theft risk reduction, travel safety and security, and pickpocket prevention. He speaks to small and large audiences alike and recently presented to a crowd of over 1,500 people. Using his skills as a pickpocket infotainer, Gene has addressed law enforcement personnel and has presented numerous fraud and identity-theft-prevention seminars for the banking and education communities and the military.  He travels coast to coast yearly, displaying his own special brand of magic and humor. Gene’s incredible sleight-of-hand skills, combined with his memorable presentation style, make his keynotes and seminars on identity theft protection a one-of-a-kind experience. His ability to create “Magic with a Message” has enabled him to perform for groups of all sizes and backgrounds, delivering topics in a memorable, fun way. Throughout his professional career, Gene has appeared on countless television and radio programs to demonstrate his magic skills and humor while conveying his message. Additionally, he served as a coach for the pickpocket scenes in the movie Bulletproof Monk and performed at a birthday party for the world-famous actress/singer/performer Bette Midler.


Visit Gene’s website at or his Facebook page, Pickpocket Gene.


The Winter Texan Expo is a fun-filled, two day event held each year in January.  This year’s event will be held on January 15-16, 2019 at the McAllen Convention Center. Admission is free, and so is the parking!  For more information visit