The 89th Texas Rose Festival will feature a new parade float that will celebrate the Hispanic community of East Texas and the quinceañera tradition.
With a lineup of over 40 East Texas Hispanic girls ready to make their debut and show off their traditional quinceañera dresses, attendees can expect things such as a mariachi band, Aztec dancers, folklorico dancers, and a Tejano band to be part of this year’s parade.
Although the doors have always been open for anyone to take part in the Texas Rose Festival parade, this year the local Hispanic community was formally invited to participate. A customized tribute float has been made possible through a sponsorship by the Flowers Davis law firm and collaboration with local businesses.
The float was initially being sponsored for the Princess of the 2022 Texas Rose Festival, Olivia Bristol Young. That was until her mother and immigration lawyer of the law firm, Ginger Young, had an even better idea.
Young, who conducts Hispanic community outreach and volunteers with the Rose Festival each year, said she saw this year as the perfect opportunity to showcase Hispanic culture, so the firm sponsored the float to pave the way for the community to participate in the parade.
“I’m excited to show off the city and all the diversity that we have for all the people that come out of town. I think the Hispanic community and the Latino community are such an integral part of what Tyler offers, that it’s fun to be able to play a small role in showing that,” she said.
The festival has always been open to the entire community, but Young said over the years there have been some misconceptions about diversity within the festival. Because of the law firm’s sponsorship, other local partners, and Liz Ballard, Texas Rose Festival Association executive director, organizers are taking this time to showcase the city’s diversity and bring it to the limelight.
Ballard, who is also executive director of the Tyler Rose Museum, said the festival is an event for all of Tyler, so she is excited for the Hispanic community to partake in this year’s parade.
“Our whole goal, as it continues today, is to celebrate our city, the mascot of our city — the rose — and we want our parade to be an event for all of the community. We’ve always had an open door invitation for our parade, it’s free to participate and there is an application process, but it’s not too tedious,” she said. “We’re just so delighted that the Hispanic community is going to be a part. I’m so proud to have the Hispanic and Latino community come out and show their civic pride and their heritage and what it means so the rest of the community can take part and enjoy.”
Texas Rose Festival Hispanic float committee members, float
participants in traditional quinceañera dresses and their parents
pose for a photo Tuesday outside the Tyler Rose Garden.
Ballard added that showcasing the city’s diverse population is key.
“I think it’s so important that we’re able to honor each group in our community, and all the cultural traditions that we all hold. It’s very important to educate people of what makes us who we are, culturally, and personally. It’s just a gift that we can all share with the city,” she said.
Pedroza said Oct. 15, the day of the parade, “will be a date that will make history.” She emphasized that the whole goal is to promote unity.
She expressed how proud she is to be part of this process and her gratitude for the Flowers Davis sponsorship, which allowed this idea to come alive. She said this addition to the parade is a chance to highlight the Hispanic community’s special place in Tyler and publicly celebrate their culture with the rest of the community.
“We are Tyler, we are the reason roses blossom and the gardens are the best from all the areas, and every day we work with pride and responsibility. Tyler is very important to us and we’re grateful for the opportunity. It’s very fundamental to keep supporting each other like a whole community. It’s a festival with an 88-year-old history, and for this 89th year, the Hispanic community, with this call to participate in the festival, will make it grow more,” she said.
Hispanic float committee members and quinceañera float
participants speak to Liz Ballard, executive director of Texas Rose
Festival Association and Tyler Rose Museum, and Ginger Young,
initiator of the float, inside the Rose Garden Center on Tuesday.
Young, who is the mother of 2022 TRF Princess Olivia Bristol Young,
had a sponsored float from Flowers Davis law firm, where she works
as an immigration lawyer. Instead of it sponsoring her daughter,
Young thought this would be a perfect opportunity to showcase the
local Hispanic community and celebrate its culture.
The concept of the float will revolve around the quinceañera tradition, which is the transition of a 15-year-old girl into womanhood through a celebration with cultural traditions.
“As I learn more about the quinceañera and what it stands for within a family and with the community, it’s very similar to what we’re doing for our girls as part of the Rose Festival,” Young said. “I just thought it would be fun to be able to celebrate quinceañeras, Hispanic Heritage Month, and the Rose Festival because they’re all part of this community.”
This new tradition is being brought to life with the help of an established committee, including Paulina Pedroza, Lilia Aparicio and Cesar Angeles, alongside Young.
Young said the idea began with looking for six girls to fill the float. She reached out to Pedroza in August, and since then, weekly meetings have been held to blend ideas and move the idea forward into reality as deadlines for the festival approach.
Along with the girls on the float, there will also be more girls in dresses who will walk alongside the float.
Hispanic float committee members speak to some of the float
participants wearing their traditional quinceañera dresses outside
the Tyler Rose Garden on Tuesday. The event is set to bring
together more than 40 girls with quinceañera dresses to the Texas
Rose Festival parade along with other items tied to Hispanic
culture such as music and dances.
Girls invited to participate; deadline approaching
Pedroza is eager to see the girls participating in the parade and share that with attendees.
“We’re going to show off our princesses and queens of our homes, which are our daughters. Hispanic households save up a lifetime for a 15 celebration where our daughters become a woman,” she said.
So far, there are 40 participants in this year’s parade and more are invited to take part.
“The process of picking out the girls was a collaborative action in social media platforms, radio stations and through leaders in the community like services of 15’s, hall services, boutique owners, etc.” she said. “It has been something open for everyone and not selective. We have girls with single mothers, girls with disabilities, and girls with the economic capacity of being able to have two dresses for their quinceaneras, which has been very beautiful because they have offered to lend and let another girl borrow their dresses for girls needing one.”
Pedroza said there is an open invitation to East Texas girls who have recently had or will have a quinceañera. Those interested must contact Pedroza by Sept. 12. Contact her via social media and include information such as date of the 15, a picture of the 15 dress, willingness to walk the parade route of the Texas Rose Festival while wearing a dress and if they wish to include chambelanes, or the boys who accompany them.
Participants will also receive the opportunity to attend the coronation event through the sponsorship of Young, who wants the girls to know more about the historic yearly event that brings revenue to the city and is filled with traditions.
Fifteen-year-old Tyler resident Fabiola Carballo, who moved to Tyler at age 5, will be one of the girls on the float. Carbello said this event means a lot to her and she is looking forward to representing Venezuela, where she was born.
Hispanic float committee members, from left, Cesar Angeles,
Paulina Pedroza Lilia Aparicio, and Ginger Young look through
images of girls wanting to participate in the Texas Rose Festival
Hispanic float during their weekly meeting on Tuesday.
“I will be honored to be up there and represent my people. I just hope I’m a reminder to all people that had to leave their countries and be able to represent up there and everything they love in their country,” she said. “I always heard about the parade and how beautiful it is, and it’s a staple element of this town. I think it’s great that they’re recognizing a community that does so much and is a huge part of this city.”
She added that it’s a “beautiful thing” to see the city come together. She loves how the event is bringing different Hispanic cultures together, and is excited to feel powerful as she stands on top of the float.
Businesses invited to contribute
Young also hopes this will bring a spotlight to the true goal of the Texas Rose Festival, which is “more than the dresses.” She said it is to unite the community through its traditional events. She also hopes this will provide networking opportunities for local businesses.
If any additional local businesses are interested in helping out with the float, the committee is accepting contributions, including offering their services or providing anything needed for the event.
The Texas Rose Festival Parade will be Saturday, Oct. 15 from 9 to 11 a.m. and will feature a variety of custom floats, the 2022 Rose Queen and her court, and local organizations. It is free for the public to attend.
The committee is already talking about next year’s float, Young said, and they hope to start planning in January.
For more information about this year’s festivities, visit www.texasrosefestival.com.