Iowan Lights Up Harlingen Resort with Help from Park Family
by Rocio Villalobos
The Christmas lights at Harlingen’s Paradise Park RV Resort can be spotted from nearly a mile away, thanks to the efforts of Don Robertson. Robertson and his wife have been wintering at the resort for nearly two decades. They say it has become their second home, and they love to spend the holidays enjoying warm weather, along with their neighbors. But the Robertsons found just one thing to be lacking, compared to Iowa.
“When I got here the first couple of years, I really missed the lights they have up north,” Robertson said.
So he decorated his RV site, and his efforts caught the attention of the Park managers. Before he knew it, he was put in charge of lighting up the park with 25,000 to 30,000 lights.
“It just got bigger and bigger and bigger,” he said.
Anyone driving along U.S. Route 77 in Harlingen after sunset can catch a glimpse of the lights. Robertson said he is proud of how the lights have come along over the years, adding it’s all made possible with the help of volunteers.
“It’s about a four-week task, and I’m thankful to have such a supportive community who is always ready to help,” Robertson said. “I never could have imagined how much this would grow, based off this idea I had just a few years ago. It’s amazing to see.”
In addition to ensuring everyone enjoys the holidays with the festivity of lights, Robertson is involved in other Park efforts. He launched and chairs the Veterans Project Committee, which honors all Park vets, with a plaque baring their name, visible to all in the community center.
“Our Park vets get their names featured, and it’s at no cost to them,” he said. “I maintain and take care of it, and it makes my stay here feel very rewarding.”
Robertson encourages Winter Texans and RGV natives alike to make a trip to visit or drive by Paradise Park to see the lights for themselves.
“While much of last year’s festivities didn’t get to happen, our lights still brought cheer,” he said. “Everyone enjoys it, and it’s something we all look forward to when we come down. We try to add something every year.”