Spring is upon us, and with it come decorative flags, parades, concerts and the smell of mouth watering food wafting down the streets. Yes, it’s time again for Fiesta, arguably the most famous festival on the San Antonio calendar. Starting in 1891 as a way of honoring the fallen heroes of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto, Fiesta has returned to San Antonio every year, with the exception of just a couple years during the first and second World Wars.
During this impressive lifespan, some events have become traditions, while others have evolved and incorporated new forms of cultural celebration. Today, Fiesta activities range from parades and military marches to fashion shows and rugby matches. Its event list is so long and varied, filling each day from April 18 to the festival’s end on the 28, that it would take an article several times this length to summarize them all. For the complete list and more information, visit fiesta-sa.org.
Lackland Military Parade
JBSA-Lackland Parade Grounds
The day begins with a Military Parade, where over 1,000 members of the military and the 323rd Training Squadron Drum and Bugle Corps march the JBSA-Lackland Parade Grounds, east of SW Military Drive.
Incognito: Fiesta’s Masked Ball
Villita Assembly Building
It’s time to don a mask and attend Incognito, a carnival-style event featuring music from Brazil, the Caribbean and South America. Taking place at the Villita Assembly building, this masquerade adventure includes a floor show by Carnaval de San Antonio dancers and drummers, as well as a costume contest where the winner gets $100 cash. The entry fee is $30 a person.
April 19 – April 21
Taste of New Orleans
Sunken Garden Theater
5 p.m. (19) & noon (20 & 21)
This food event serves the most popular Creole and Cajun dishes, including gumbo, crawfish, shrimp etouffee, red beans and rice and boudin along with the sounds of New Orleans jazz. Admission costs vary from $6 -$10.
Battle of Flowers Parade
Downtown San Antonio
This parade traces its roots back to the first Fiesta celebration in 1891. The parade marches nine flower-covered floats from the intersection of Broadway and Josephine to downtown San Antonio at the intersection of Martin and Santa Rosa. Ladies wearing yellow costumes and yellow hats direct the parade with the assistance of the National Guard, and honor fallen heroes by placing flowers on the lawn in front of the Alamo.
Fiesta Flambeau Night Parade
Downtown San Antonio
This parade marches a 2.6 mile stretch in downtown, illuminated by a dazzling display of festive lights. It features floats, horseback riders and a variety of marching bands and musicians, and is one of the largest night parades in the United States.
April 18 – April 28
Though the hours vary from noon-5 p.m. to 5 p.m.-midnight, this carnival, full of fun rides and unhealthy foods like funnel cake, is open every day during Fiesta. Perhaps the best day to go is April 24, known as “Dollar Night,” when all of the rides cost just one dollar. It is located in the Alamodome Parking Lot C.
5:30 p.m. – 2:30 a.m.
For 11 days, Cattleman’s Square hosts a variety of unique bands, playing such music as oldies, polka, conjunto, cumbias, boleros, country and rhythm “˜n’ blues. Along with plenty of seating, it contains a variety of Mexican foods and finger-licking Fiesta favorites like sopapillas.