Harlingen parade organizers warned of 'low turnout' Friday with playoff game

As support grows for the Valley's last remaining playoff football team, the Harlingen Cardinals, so does the push to have Harlingen's Christmas parade moved to Saturday to avoid a kickoff time conflict.

"I'm saying do I go to the game or do I go to the parade."

Chris Benavides put a message up on the Falls Motors business sign off Harrison Street to publically call for the parade date to be switched.

The car dealership's general manager is a Harlingen Cardinals football fan who looks forward to attending the evening parade each year.

"Spending time with the family ... Seeing friends you don't normally see," he said.

He's not the only one with a concern over the date.

Diana Bustamante has been fielding calls all day from people asking if it can be changed.

She heads up the RGV Jaycees, the volunteer organization putting on the parade on Jackson Avenue in downtown Harlingen.

"It is going on rain or shine," she said.

The decades-old tradition typically falls on the first Friday in December.

Diana says the event takes months of planning in order to secure a city permit, proper manpower and to disseminate logistical information to downtown businesses impacted by the parade.

Despite the football game conflict, she expects around the same 70 float participants as last year.

"We are definitely supporting the Cardinals... We wish them the best... But we are still encouraging people to be in our parade," Diana said.

Public safety is also a concern with the parade.

The Harlingen P.D. continues to work out final details.

A police spokeswoman says they plan to have about a dozen extra officers manning the streets to ensure parade-goers and participants are safe.

Tickets for the game versus San Antonio Madison go on sale Tuesday morning.

Fred Lopez hopes to score one.

He has a prediction, but not for the outcome of the game, rather on attendance at the parade.

"I'm pretty sure it's going to be slow," he said.

Chris over at the dealership isn't sure yet what he plans to do.

"I just may go to none... And hit the mall."

It's a decision many are faced with as a city becomes divided over the playoffs and the parade.