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San Antonio; 300 years of Heritage and Counting

04/12/2018 7:42am     Kyle Weckerly
Photo by Bexar County

Birthdays are a big deal. Birthdays ending in zero are a bigger deal. And this year San Antonio has a birthday ending in double zeroes, so it is a very- very big deal!

2018 marks San Antonio 300th birthday. If any city knows how to party, it’s San Antonio, and we’ll be celebrating our birthday all year!

This year-long party gives you plenty of time to participate in the various events planned for San Antonio’s Tricentennial. The biggest celebration is Commemorative Week, from May 1st through May 6th. Each day will highlight a unique aspect of San Antonio, its history, and where we’re going for the future. Although it’s only one week, there are still plenty activities planned for the entire year!

Where Did it Begin?

Many historians agree that San Pedro Springs Park was the site of the first settlement in San Antonio. This park is the oldest in Texas, the second-oldest in the nation, and is getting a new look this year. On May 5th, the new look (pictured above) will be unveiled for San Pedro Springs Park.

For those who truly want to know about San Antonio’s history, head over to the Witte Museum. On March 3rd they opened Confluence and Culture: 300 Years of San Antonio History. This exhibit provides in depth history of San Antonio, starting all the way at the beginning when Mission San Antonio de Valero was established. Visitors to the Witte Museum can travel through San Antonio’s history with more than 300,000 artifacts on display. That’s 300 x 1000! Confluence and Culture is open until January 6th, 2019.

Don’t forget about Witte 300. A downloadable app, Witte 300 enables you to interact with history as you move through the exhibit.

The San Antonio River Authority is also presenting an exhibit at the Witte—Gathering Waters: 12,000 Years of People. This exhibit will highlight the 12,000 years of the San Antonio River, the indigenous people and the cultures it has helped sustain. That’s 300 x 400 years! Visit The Witte Museum or San Antonio 300 for more information.

After you’ve learned all about the history of San Antonio, what else is there to do? Why not volunteer? What better way to experience San Antonio than volunteering your time and skills to the local community?

Serve 300

Throughout the Tricentennial, San Antonio is hosting various community service projects. These are a great way to get involved with local initiatives, meet energetic people, and make a better San Antonio directly!

Starting in May, the Tree-Centennial Program launches. To enhance San Antonio’s tree canopy, your help is needed to plant nearly 300 trees this year on higher education campuses around the city. This is part of a much larger initiative by the Parks and Rec Department to plant 450,000 trees! Click here: San Antonio Parks and Recreation to find out when and where you can get involved.

Days of service have also been planned in honor of the Tricentennial, with the first one completed on February 17th. Energetic volunteers from all over the city showed up to help clean up key areas of San Antonio through trash pickups, painting houses and beautifying the San Antonio River. Two more are planned, one during Commemorative Week and another on October 18th, so mark your calendars!

These aren’t the only ways to volunteer around San Antonio. The Office of Historic Preservation, San Antonio Food Bank, Haven for Hope, and many others have partnered with the Tricentennial Commission to provide various volunteer opportunities throughout the year. Other partner events have been planned so you can generously participate this week, the next week, and the rest of the month!

Perhaps you want to do more than volunteer? With all that extra energy, why not go for a run?

Military City USA

The Combat Medic 5k Run and Walk kicks off Military Day. Participants can run or walk alongside those who serve our country in uniform. Mark your calendars for May 6th, Military Day of Commemorative Week.

You’ll also get a chance to visit and tour Joint Base Fort Sam Houston which will be open to the public for the first time since 9/11. This will give you a chance to see this vital military installation up close and personal. There’ll be aerial demonstrations by the Golden Knights, the Army’s Parachute Competition Team, see Hangar 11, experience flyovers, and much more!

Celebrate 300

San Antonio has an extensive list of events planned for their Tricentennial from art shows and music festivals to the Founders Ball on Founder’s Day. Don’t miss out on this chance to celebrate San Antonio’s 300th Birthday, and contribute to San Antonio’s success in the next 300 years!

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