Their seasonal migration to Uvalde is as predictable as the monarchs, and while they may not be quite as colorful, the Winter Texans who call our city home during the cold months add an unmistakeable richness and enthusiasm as they embrace our Southwest Texas lifestyle.
The story on Page 1 of today’s newspaper offers insight into why part-time residents choose to come here and why they continue to return. The prime motivator, of course, is weather. When it’s zero degrees in the Black Hills of South Dakota and 72 in Uvalde, it’s not a difficult choice to steer your life southward. But it’s not as simple as that. Your permanent residence has to be secured, bills forwarded or put on auto pay, family members and friends apprised and dozens of other preparations that represent the exigencies of daily living.
And still they come and report that Uvaldeans are not only exceedingly friendly but that the range of activities – from cuisine to shopping and outdoor activities like the the golf course and birding, as well as the Herby Ham Activity Center – keep them well occupied during their winter sojourns. They also contribute in myriad ways, from volunteering at El Progreso Memorial Library to attending church services and performances by the Uvalde High School band.
Quail Springs RV Park on the east side of the city is ground zero for the annual migration. Today’s story reports that 23 of the 83 pads in the park are occupied by Winter Texans and that some of them have been in the same spot for 15 years. Needless to say, the part-time residents have become close and report that there is a feeling of homecoming when they reunite each winter in their home away from home.
A survey conducted by the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in 2017-18 found that 57 percent of the Winter Texans visiting the Valley were female with an average age of 72; 84 percent were married; 91 percent retired; they had been coming annually for 11 years; and stayed an average of 133 days.
The demographics for our Uvalde visitors are probably similar, as are the activities they enjoy such as visiting historical sites, festivals, music or jam sessions and wildlife/nature refuges.
In summary, we should embrace our winter visitors, as they bask in the physical and emotional warmth that our region has to offer. They come in friendship with a wide assortment of life experiences to share, while adding a meaningful boost to our economy.