In the 1920s John H. Shary, citrus grower and local developer, began plans to promote locally grown citrus crops on a large scale. The first Texas Citrus Fiesta, with the theme "Coronation and Pageant of Citrus" was held in 1932 with the same promotional purpose. Among the events in the one-day celebration were a coronation ceremony for Fiesta royalty, citrus exhibits, fruit packing contests, a flying circus, a football game, and a parade.
Two years later the Fiesta was a four-day event held in Lions Park, and the fiesta style show was introduced. Over the years the Fiesta has grown into a two-week event, with added events such as an outdoor festival, barbeques, and a carnival. The product costume style show, for which costumes are made from local agricultural products, has become one of the most popular annual events.
The Texas Citrus Fiesta has evolved into a notable cultural event in the Rio Grande Valley. Many prominent citizens have served as Fiesta royalty over the years. The purpose of the annual event has remained that of John H. Shary's vision-to promote the area's citrus industry on a large scale.