What started as a group of San Antonio ladies parading in front of the Alamo and throwing flower blossoms from bedazzled horse-drawn carriages has become one of the nation’s premier cultural festivals.
Fiesta San Antonio first began as a parade in 1891 to honor the memory of the Alamo heroes and the Battle of San Jacinto. Since then, it has evolved into a celebration of San Antonio’s rich and diverse cultural heritage. This year’s celebrations, that start April 14 at 5 p.m., will mark the 125th anniversary of the first parade.
It has also grown to become one of the biggest festivals in the country. Some 3.5 million people enjoy Fiesta each year, with 20 percent of festival-goers traveling from outside of Texas. In 2007, Fiesta generated an economic impact of around $284 million for the local economy. The San Antonio itself receives about $4 million in city sales tax alone thanks to the event.
Some of the most popular events at Fiesta are the opening ceremonies at the Alamo to kick off the weekend, the Texas Cavaliers river parade, the oyster bake at St. Mary’s University and the Flambeau parade.
While official events are coordinated by the Fiesta San Antonio Commission, an all-volunteer board of local residents, the number of unofficial but exciting happenings grows with each year that passes. Any Bobcat looking for a weekend of Texas-Mex fun can take the trip down I-35 for what will surely be a good time.
–compiled by Carlie Porterfield