San Antonio is a great city.
So great, in fact, that every April the entire city - a city of 1.7 million people - has a party. And not just a party, but a party with a purpose! This is Fiesta San Antonio.
No matter where you are in San Antonio, or even if you live close by, you won’t have to go far to find an event connected to Fiesta. With 113 events over eleven days there are plenty of opportunities to participate.
Earn Some Cred
A common tradition during Fiesta is Fiesta Medals! What first started as a small promotion for the local military presence to get involved in Fiesta has become a way for all businesses to promote fun and enthusiasm. These medals are custom made by businesses all over the city. They typically go on sale early in the year and sell out quickly.
Don’t worry if you miss out on a chance to buy a Fiesta Medal from your favorite business, you can go to Pin Pandemonium during Fiesta at Hemisfair where you can buy medals or trade with Fiesta Medal hoarders. Then get ready to wear these with pride around the city, denoting you as a legit Fiesta participant.
Spread Good Luck
Another key part of Fiesta San Antonio is the cascarón. These hollowed out eggs are colored and filled with confetti. Buy them by the dozen, or two dozen, at your local grocery, convenience, or roadside stand so you can be prepared for a Cascarónes Party. It’s common to see these parties happening everywhere during Fiesta. As a sign of good luck, cascarónes are cracked over the head of a loved one or friend. You can see who has the most luck by the amount of confetti in their hair. So don’t shy away when a friend approaches you, cascarón in hand and a smile on their face.
The cascarónes party is integral to all Fiesta events. Especially at the very first event, Fiesta Fiesta. During this party you’ll meet your King Antonio and El Rey Feo. These are the Fiesta Royalty who reign over Fiesta and San Antonio for the following year. These, and about fifty more kings, queens, princesses, and princes, are all part of the Fiesta experience. Most of the Fiesta Royalty earn their titles by raising the most money for their organizations during the previous year.
As part of the grand spectacle of Fiesta Fiesta, King Antonio and El Rey Feo have their neckties cut. This is to emphasize the comfort of Fiesta and really, who’s comfortable wearing a tie to an eleven-day long party? After the ties are severed comes the most important part- El Rey Feo and King Antonio have cascarónes cracked on their heads. From then on they’ll have good luck for Fiesta.
Stick around Fiesta Fiesta as traditions are introduced, entertainment is provided, and of course, there’s food too!
Which Event to Go To?
Given that there are 113 events planned for this year alone, it’s easy to be overwhelmed. The more popular events are…
NIOSA (Night in Old San Antonio). This event is held in La Villita and put on by the San Antonio Conservation Society. A four night event, welcomes more than 17,000 participants who enjoy music, food, and of course, drinks. For such a small village, NIOSA will have 200+ booths and 15 culturally themed areas. Though there will be a large crowd, it is a lot of fun to visit, so make sure you get your tickets for this event.
Fiesta Gartenfest celebrates San Antonio’s German heritage. This means plenty of beer and German food. Well worth the ticket for a taste of authentic German food. There’s also a concert of the Beethoven Maennerchor, the oldest active singing society in Texas. If you’re late to this event, you may miss out on meeting Fiesta Royalty. And I’ve heard there’s a chicken dance as well.
Fiesta Arts Fair is put on by the Southwest School of Art. Here you’ll see art pieces from artists all over the country. There’s also the Youth Art Garden where kids have the opportunity to work with professionals to create their own masterpieces.
Battle of the Flowers Parade. The event that started the whole thing, this parade has been going since 1891. Kids and adults alike can enjoy the various floats that highlight San Antonio’s history and culture. Just make sure you find a good spot along the parade route to watch the spectacle. Some businesses sell premium seats, so check out The Battle of the Flowers to view the parade route and plan where you want to catch the show.
UTSA Spring Football. The University of Texas at San Antonio is hosting a special spring football game at Dub Farris Stadium. This FREE football game gives you a chance to see tomorrow’s NFL talent play at one of the best stadiums in the city.
Growing Up Female is a workshop for teenage girls in grades 6 through 12, presented by the San Antonio Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. This event is packed with speakers, engaging activities, and a chance for girls of all ages to talk about the issues faced by all!
Fiesta Mariachi Mass. Come down and see the Fiesta Royalty in person! For 22 years Fiesta Mariachi Mass provides a blessing for all Fiesta Royalty, Fiesta Commissioners, and even the participants. Open to everyone, regardless of faith, this event precedes the official start of Fiesta, tying in the long history of the Catholic Church and the cultural heritage of San Antonio.
This is just a sampling as there is also Fiesta Carnival, Senior Fiesta, Taste of the Republic, Pop Up Fiesta in the Galleries Exhibition at Witte Museum, and so much more.
The real question is, where do you start?
Party with a Purpose
Fiesta San Antonio isn’t just a yearly celebration of our city’s culture and heritage, or an excuse to party, or an excuse for local schools to take a day off--Fiesta helps San Antonio’s economy.
After the 2017 Fiesta, the University of Texas at San Antonio conducted an economic impact study and revealed that Fiesta contributed over $340 million to the local economy! This means all the tickets, medals, cascarones, food, drinks, and other souvenirs you purchase are helping a business, a non-profit organization, or a community initiative throughout the following year. So don’t wait to join in on the party.
Mark your calendars; this year Fiesta starts on April 19th and ends April 29th.
Go Party with a Purpose!