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Citrus Center Director represents university at Texas Citrus Festival

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Dr. John da Graca, Director of the Citrus Center and appointed Grand Marshall of the Parade of Oranges poses by the royal float.

Dr. John da Graca, Director of the Citrus Center and Grand Marshall of the Parade of Oranges poses by the royal float.

In 1932, the City of Mission held its first Citrus fiesta, an event that has been held annually ever since, apart from the years during World War II. The Texas Citrus Festival celebrates the winter harvest of the grapefruit and oranges grown in the Lower Rio Grand Valley.

Each year, a leading person in the industry is elected as King Citrus, and a Queen Citriana is also selected from a group of “duchesses”, each representing a community and its product or industry. The King and Queen are crowned at an evening gala event where the duchesses display their exquisite costumes made of citrus and other local products. This is followed by the Parade of Oranges, featuring floats and marchers representing various groups from across the Valley.

This past week saw the 83rd Fiesta, with Ted Prukup of Valley Ag Insurance selected as the 2020 King. Dr. John da Graca, Director of the Texas A&M University-Kingsville Citrus Center in Weslaco was invited to serve as Grand Marshall of the Parade of Oranges on Saturday, January 25. The parade was led by the County Sheriff, followed by mounted border patrol agents, the Grand Marshall, the royal float and all the other participants.

About the Citrus Center

The A&M-Kingsville Citrus Center serves the citrus industry of Texas by conducting basic and applied research and delivering innovative solutions which enable the citrus industry to remain competitive in an increasingly global marketplace. The Citrus Center fosters scientific excellence and capacity building by incorporating undergraduate and graduate student training into its research programs to develop highly-skilled professionals.

Since 1948, the Citrus Center has been honored to serve the citrus industry of Texas through research and education. It has established fruitful partnerships with citrus growers, industry leaders, agricultural companies and fellow scientists in The Texas A&M University System, the University of Texas System, State and Federal agencies. 

The Citrus Center is internationally known for developing the Rio Star and Ruby Red grapefruits. A new variety, the Texas Red, is in development.  

Category: Ag/Env & Wildlife Sci , General Univ

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