Everyone who has spent more than a few weeks in San Antonio knows about Fiesta. But how many of us know why we have Fiesta? I didn’t, so here’s a little crash course of the History of San Antonio’s iconic celebration.
The scope of Fiesta San Antonio has grown into a massive and unique city-wide celebration. More than 100 events take place over 17 days, and take around 75,000 volunteers to coordinate.
This year’s fiesta marks the 126th iteration of the event, which began in 1891 when a group of women organized to honor the heroes of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto, two pivotal battles of the Texas Revolution, which secured the addition of the state into the Union.
The event began with the “Battle of the Flowers Parade,” which featured horse drawn carriages, flower-decorated bicycles and baby carriages with infants dressed as flowers. Women met in front of the Alamo and celebrated by throwing flowers at each other. To this day, the parade is the only in the country to be planned and directed entirely by women.
From that point on, the celebration continued to grow, adding days of celebration and events, all of them revolving around revolving April 21, the day of the Battle of San Jacinto and the “Battle of the Flowers Parade.” Initial additions included a carnival, balls, and coronations of Fiesta Royalty.
One notable early addition to the Fiesta is the Charreada, a traditional Mexican horse riding event similar to the Rodeo. The event originally served as a way to prepare riders and horses for war, but now serves as a commemorative competition.
If you’ve never been to Fiesta, make some time for the most iconic nights. Night in Old San Antonio is a four-evening party taking place in the historic La Villita. Another large-scale event is Fiesta in Blue, an annual concert by the US Air Force Band of the West, featuring classical music, jazz and popular songs.
Fiesta is a unique event at the national level, combining the unique flavors of Texan and Mexican cultures.
Sometime next week, take some time to go downtown and connect with this rich San Antonio tradition.