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The 65th Annual IFEA Convention, Expo & Retreat
presented by Haas & Wilkerson Insurance
is heading to McAllen, Texas, U.S.A.!


Known to the locals as the “city of palms,’ for the 40 varieties of palm trees that line its streets, the southern plains city of McAllen, Texas is nestled between the Rio Grande River and the Mexican border.

Celebrating a blend of cultures in its food, arts and entertainment, shoppers can browse the nearby Palms Crossing Shopping Center or La Plaza Mall, and find deals at Rio Grande Valley Premium Outlets; nature lovers should set aside some time to take a walk-through Quinta Mazatlán, an estate that houses a Nature and world Birding Center; while Arts aficionados will appreciate exhibits at the International Museum of Art & Science and the collaborative work at the organization that fuels the city’s creative sector, the McAllen Creative Incubator. Add to that, many IFEA/Haas & Wilkerson Pinnacle Award Winning annual festivals and a community that embraces its culture, its people and its visitors, you’ll have options galore when you visit McAllen, Texas!

Have Some Time On Your Hands Before or After the Convention? Check Out Some of the Area Attractions.

FOOD AND CULTURE

Much of McAllen’s food and music are inspired by its friends and neighbors across the border—the city’s a short jaunt from the McAllen-Hidalgo International Bridge, which connects the city with Reynosa, Mexico.

No trip here is complete without tamales from Delia’s, where you can find 18 mouth-watering varieties of the authentic Mexican favorite. For delectable fajitas, enchiladas and caldo tlalpeño (a well-seasoned soup dish with chicken and vegetables), you can’t go wrong with a visit to Costa Messa, Palenque Grill or Koko’s.

You’re likely to hear live mariachi musicians while dining; mariachi music is a cultural community highlight. In fact, McAllen High School’s Mariachi Oro band has been named state champion multiple times. Sweet Temptations is credited with starting the community’s appetite for locally sourced dining, and the restaurant serves a great classic breakfast. SALT—New American Table has followed in its footsteps. Foodies also flock to the Patio on Guerra and for casual dining with lots of choices, the McAllen Food Park.

BRING YOUR BINOCULARS

McAllen is along a busy bird migration route, and draws birdwatchers from all over the U.S. and the world. Quinta Mazatlan is one wing of the World Birding Center, which has nine locations across the Rio Grande Valley. The architecture of Quinta Mazatlan—built in 1935 by composer and writer Jason Chilton Matthews and his wife, Marcia—was inspired by the couple’s frequent trips to Mazatlan, Mexico. McAllen purchased the property in 1998 and expanded the grounds to 20 acres. Since 2006, 230 bird species have been spotted along the nature trails here.

FALL FESTIVALS

It’s summer year-round in the City of Palms, so there’s no need to bundle up for the city’s annual festivals. The PalmFest International Folklife Celebration—which boasts history exhibitions, a car show, entertainment, shopping and food—is held the first weekend in October. The McAllen Holiday Parade, named the best parade in Texas by the Texas Festivals and Events Association, features 50 illuminated floats and more than 30 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade-style helium balloons.

BE READY TO MOVE IT

There are more than 13 miles of trails weaving through the city, perfect for biking, jogging or walking year-round. No need to worry if you left your bike at home—McAllen has a convenient bike-share program. Additionally, Town Lake at Fireman’s Park puts out pedal boats, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards for water sports enthusiasts every weekend. Plus, runners can hit their stride every January at the McAllen Marathon.

SHOPPING AND THE ARTS

After eating, bird watching and working out, you’ll be ready for an evening of shopping and entertainment. Opened on the campus of the McAllen Convention Center in November 2016, the McAllen Performing Arts Center hosts entertainers of all genres. La Plaza Mall, an upscale Simon mall with more than a million square feet of shopping, is just two miles away. If you enjoy the flavor of local shops, you won’t want to miss Vida, Barn White, Leona and Maripoza.

Presenting Sponsor of the IFEA Convention & Expo. 
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