El Rey Feo Darren Casey was publicly crowned in Main Plaza during a true Fiesta-style celebration including Mariachi and folklórico dance performances on Friday evening. Casey is the 68th San Antonian to wear the Rey Feo crown.
As with many things in San Antonio, El Rey Feo, or “The Ugly King,” is a time-honored tradition. The first Rey Feo scholarship was established in 1947 and his crowning has been a key aspect of Fiesta since 1980. But the tradition involves much more than the glitz and glamour that comes with being “The Peoples’ King” in San Antonio.
In order to assume the title, candidates must be appointed by the Rey Feo Consejo Educational Foundation to compete in a friendly fundraising campaign to raise least $225,000 for local educational causes. The funds go to the LULAC Council #2 and the Rey Feo Scholarship Foundation which give renewable college scholarships to San Antonio high school students. Since 2011, the Rey Feo tradition has raised $290,000 for the LULAC Council #2 and the scholarship foundation.
Members of the current Rey Feo royal court, former Rey Feos, and members of the Consejo were some of the guests in attendance on Friday to cheer on Casey, a distinguished local real estate developer and businessman, who is known as a “record-breaking Rey Feo” who raised $501,555 for scholarships. The standing fundraising record before Casey was $433,160.
But, since it is Fiesta, it’s only right that El Rey Feo also gets to celebrate his accomplishments with the community.
Each year, aside from underwriting the free Crowning of the King event, as well as the Crown Celebration after-party at the start of Fiesta, the Rey Feo Consejo and its members also host “Fiesta de los Reyes,” one of the largest free Fiesta events. The celebration, which takes place everyday during Fiesta, features a variety of food offerings and live music performances by conjunto, Latin jazz, and country music bands in Market Square.
Top image: El Rey Feo 68 Darren Casey clowns around with a member of the Rey Feo royal court after the crowning ceremony. Photo by Kathryn Boyd-Batstone.