This Thursday marks the beginning of Fiesta San Antonio, a ten day long party that takes place exclusively in our fair city. People from around the country attend the various events that take place during the annual celebration and generate a whopping amount of money for the local economy, specifically 284 million dollars in 2007. For those of us who live here, Fiesta can be a crazy time. It means tourists galore and navigating downtown will be nothing short of impossible, but don’t let this deter you from partaking in the festivities. Fiesta is one of the things that makes our city uniquely San Antonio, and celebrates the heroes of the battles of the Alamo and San Jacinto. Below is a list of just a few of the notable events that will be happening during this city-wide party, but a full list can be found on the Fiesta Commission’s website here. For many events, tickets will be required, and HEB is selling a bunch of them at their guest services desk. The Fiesta Store is also selling advanced tickets for many events, which can be found on 2611 Broadway.
On Saturday April 23, the Fiesta Flambeau kicks off at 6:30, tickets can be purchased online or in the Fiesta Store. Being the biggest night parade at Fiesta, the Flambeau is likely to be PACKED. Upwards of half a million people usually show up. Your best bet if you really want to see the parade is get there early, really early. Thankfully, the Flambeau is the same day as many other Fiesta events, so you can enjoy those festivities for the first part of the day and then walk to the Flambeau instead of attempting to find a parking space at night when it’s likely going to be extremely difficult.
A Night in Old San Antonio takes place in La Villita from April 19 to April 22, and starts at 5:30 every night. Tickets can be purchased for $12 at HEB or these places listed here, or for $15 at the gate. Expect to eat and drink a lot, and I mean a LOT! Booths line the streets of La Villita, and nearly every one of them is filled with food from the local people. The event is divided up into 15 different heritages where the food originated, a few of the areas names are Froggy Bottom, French Quarter, China Town, etc. Just thinking about this festival is making my mouth water. To avoid the crowds, get there right when it starts because the later it gets the busier it gets. Thursday night will probably be the craziest considering it’s college night, so unless you’re a college student you may want to attend one of the other days.
The River Parade starts at 7 p.m. on Monday April 18; tickets can be purchased online at the Texas Cavaliers website for various sections of the parade, prices will vary depending on the seats you want. Led by the Texas Cavaliers, the River Parade drifts through downtown on the Riverwalk, so you don’t necessarily need to have seats purchased on the route to enjoy the parade. Get dinner at a restaurant that faces the River Walk, especially one where they’re elevated above the walking area so you won’t have to deal with being directly behind all the seating. Be warned, this won’t be an easy task considering how packed the Riverwalk will be that day but will be worth it for the experience.
King William Fair takes place in the King William District of downtown on Saturday April 23 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and tickets can be purchased at the gate or at the Fiesta Store for $10. King William Fair is probably the most family-friendly event with a designated kids area, and continues with the Fiesta trend of being filled to the brim with food. Kids Kingdom boasts many carnival games with the chance for prizes, magic shows and concerts for kids, and rides that people of all ages can enjoy (they’ve even got ponies for the younger ones). Getting to the fair early is a must-do, since there will be a parade to kick it off right at 9:00, featuring dancers, bands, and street performers.
Beginning at 12:20 on Friday April 22, the Battle of Flowers Parade follows the same route as the Flambeau, shown in the map above. Just like the River Parade, ticket prices vary depending on the seats you choose. Everything in Fiesta has been leading up to this parade, and you better believe everyone will be there. Local schools give students this day off for the purpose of seeing the parade and to take in some of the festivities before Fiesta comes to a close. There’s many floats and giant balloons to dazzle the crowds, but there’s also stands of food along the route to keep your stomach full while you watch the parade. Getting a ticket underneath an overpass is ideal, since you won’t have to deal with sitting in the sun for several hours, which generally makes the parade experience infinitely more enjoyable.
This delicious event begins on Friday, April 15 from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and ends on Saturday, April 16 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at the St. Mary’s Campus on Camino Santa Maria. Tickets can be purchased at HEB before the event for a lower price on the two-day admission for $35, and one-day tickets can also be purchased but will cost the same as they would at the gate for $25. Oysters galore can be found at this food-packed event, but entertainment is just as aplenty here. There’s a full schedule of bands that can be found here, playing on stages accompanied by a dance floor; this event isn’t just for eating, but also for partying.
This list definitely doesn’t cover every single event, otherwise this would be a very long article. Some notable events that I personally enjoy attending are the Pooch Parade where you can dress up your dog and walk through Alamo Heights, the Fiesta Carnival has fun and games and is especially good for families, and Fiesta Pops presented by our San Antonio Symphony which showcases songs from Latin America. The relaxed city of San Antonio breaks out into party mode for these ten days, and should be taken full advantage of with the food, fun, and festivals that can be found in abundance here, which truly showcases the unique spirit of San Antonio.