Fiesta! San Antonio
. Fiesta San Antonio is just around the corner! For over one hundred years, San Antonio has been celebrating the heroes of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto with the fresh flowers, floats, carnivals, balls, music, food, and parades that make up Fiesta.
Even since a group of San Antonio’s citizens decided to honor these historic events with the Battle of Flowers in 1891, Fiesta has been an integral part of the life and culture of, not only San Antonio, but of all Texas and the U.S. as well. Second only to the Rose Bowl Parade in California, Fiesta draws around 3.5 million attendees, and around $ 260 million each year. Although Fiesta is a spectacular festival for having fun, it also serves a purpose to raise money for many community organizations and benefits, and to raise cultural awareness and celebrate south Texas’ diversity.
Over the ten days of Fiesta, Mariachi bands serenade passers by, Tejano music can be heard in the streets, and art shows are available for aficionados and amateur appreciators alike. For history buffs, there are seminars, conferences, tours, exhibitions and talks ranging from the history of the battles, to the architecture of many of San Antonio?s finest homes.
Fiesta San Antonio also features the crowning of the city’s ‘royalty’ into The Order of the Alamo. This event, started in 1909, is one of the oldest elements of Fiesta and features the crowning of the Queen of Fiesta, her princess, and 24 duchesses. The queens serve for one year, and are celebrated in the large parades. El Rey Feo is the other royalty crowned during Fiesta. Following the ancient tradition of peasants crowning a fellow peasant king for a day, the Rey Feo, although having an unfortunate moniker, does manage to rise above his title and rank to become a noble ruler, as he raises money for charities throughout San Antonio.
· Night in Old San Antonio (NIOSA) – night dedicated to raising awareness and save San Antonio’s historic buildings.
· St. Mary’s Oyster Bake – 100,000 oysters and two days of fun at St. Mary’s University
· Women’s Fiesta Soccer Tournament-featuring top teams in an invitation tournament
· Pilgrimage to the Alamo – sponsored and organized by the Daughters of the Republic of Texas as a tribute to the heroes of the Alamo. A quiet parade bearing wreaths walks to the Alamo and a memorial service is held.
· Texas Cavaliers River Parade – one of the few parades in the nation actually held on a river. 250,000 line the banks of the San Antonio river to watch the festivities.
Fiesta begins April 20 with the opening ceremony at 9 AM at the Alamo Plaza. The close of the festival occurs with the crowning of Miss San Antonio at the scholarship pageant.