San Antonio Fiesta is the biggest festival in San Antonio and has been going strong ever since its conception in the late 1800s. The only breaks in the action came during WWI and WWII. The year of 1891 was when the first San Antonio Fiesta parade took place, and its inspiration were the battles of the Alamo and San Jacinto. These historic battles helped Texas gain its independence from Mexico in 1836 and are understandably sources of great pride for San Antonians. These days, the San Antonio Fiesta features more than a lavish parade. There are actually three main parades, and that's just the start when it comes to the San Antonio Fiesta week events.
The San Antonio Fiesta events actually span more than a week, with early April being the time when things get under way. The second Friday of the Fiesta is arguably the biggest day, as it is when the Battle of Flowers Parade is held. This parade attracts more than 300,000 people on an annual basis and is produced by the all-woman Battle of Flowers Association. The ladies from the association wear yellow and direct dazzling floats. The Fiesta royalty rides on one of the floats, and you can also expect to see plenty of interesting helium balloons passing by.
Carriages and antique cars that are laden with flowers are also part of the procession when it comes to the original San Antonio Fiesta Parade, and the customary practice of participants leaving floral tributes as they pass by the Alamo is also a big part of it all. The other parades that help to celebrate Texas history and culture during the Fiesta are the Fiesta Flambeau Parade and the Texas Cavaliers River Parade. The former is one of the nation's biggest illuminated parades, while the latter sees floats actually floating down the San Antonio River. Regardless of which San Antonio Fiesta parade you choose to take in, a big show awaits.
The San Antonio Fiesta week events offer something for everyone. In fact, there are more than 100 to choose from. For food fanatics, sampling some Louisiana cuisine during the A Taste of New Orleans in Brackenridge Park festival can be a very rewarding complement to the city's dining scene, and there's also the popular Oyster Bake. For music fans, on the other hand, the Fiesta in Blue event might be more enticing. This two-night concert extravaganza features rock, pop, classical, and jazz acts. If you like music or just cultural events in general, the Fiestas Fantasias festivals that are held at Market Square are also among the premier San Antonio Fiesta week events. These mini festivals of sorts are held on ten different days between the hours of 10 a.m. and noon and feature plenty of traditional Mexican food and music.
Rounding out the most popular San Antonio Fiesta events is the A Night in Old San Antonio festival. Held over the course of five days, this festival aims to celebrate the city's unique heritage. More than 200 food and beverage stands attract tens of thousands of people to the historic area of La Villita during the A Night in Old San Antonio festival, and during festival days, 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. are when everything takes place. It is worth noting that some of the San Antonio Fiesta events, such as the A Night in Old San Antonio, cost money, so you might keep that in mind when planning things out. The Fiestas Fantasias festival in Market Square is among the free events.
Image: Al Rendon/SACVB