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The Texas Citrus Fiesta and Rio Grande Valley Citrus Industries (1956)

Brazoria County Historical Museum

Silent | 1956

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  •  A bubbly young woman stands by a citrus tree, speaking to the camera 
  •  A skyline of palm trees 
  •  At the citrus orchard of C. B. Curtis, men demonstrate fruit picking 
  •  After the fruit is picked, it’s brought to a plant for processing and packing 
  •  The Citrus Fiesta coronation ceremony begins, overseen by the Citrus King in his citrus-decorated robes 
  •  Women in beautiful gowns are escorted to the stage by their dates 
  •  Queen Citrianna is crowned 
  •  The fashion and costume show commences 
  •  Children participate in a costume show, too! 
  •  A queen spends some time with a citrus tree 
  •  Entering Santa Anita Ranch No. 1, “Breeders of Charolaise and Charbray Cattle” 
  •  A rancher waters his fields 
  •  Picturesque scenes of cattle grazing in the sun, hay in the fields, a farmer inspecting his lands 
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This footage captures scenes of the citrus industry in the Rio Grande Valley, followed by a recording of the 1956 Texas Citrus Fiesta coronation ceremony and fashion show. Later, in Hidalgo County, a rancher at Santa Anita Ranch No. 1 tends his fields as his cattle graze in the sun. The producer of this film, Jim W. Keeland, was a photographer and videographer in the Houston area for sixty years. He took photographs and films for Houston's NBC affiliate, KPRC-TV, from 1948 until 1961, worked for the Houston Post from 1951 to 1982 as a printer, and was a freelance photographer of agricultural subjects.
The Texas Citrus Fiesta is celebrated annually in Mission, Texas. The region’s agricultural industry produces Texas ruby red grapefruits, oranges, lemons, limes, and tangerines. The Fiesta celebrates the culture and farming traditions of the region with a festival, a parade, and the crowning of King Citrus and Queen Citrianna. After being crowned, the King and Queen ride on elaborate floats during a parade that celebrates the citrus fruits that are the livelihood of citizens of the region. The Texas Citrus Fiesta began in 1932 and remains an integral part of the community’s culture today.