The last remaining vestige of Fiesta 2020 has been canceled.

The Conservation Society of San Antonio’s Fall Heritage Festival in downtown’s historic La Villita will not take place on Nov. 6 as planned, the society’s president Patti Zaiontz and Mayor Ron Nirenberg announced Tuesday in a joint press release.

The cancellation comes just one day after the City of San Antonio’s Metropolitan Health District increased the local coronavirus risk level from low to moderate. The coronavirus positivity rate had climbed from 5.8 percent last week to 6.9 percent, the highest the positivity rate has been since Sept. 1. 

The one-night festival was designed to recreate the society’s signature Fiesta event, A Night in Old San Antonio (NIOSA), on a smaller scale with safety precautions employed to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus, including symptom screening, Plexiglas between booth workers and attendees, and social distancing.

The festival was an attempt to regain at least a fraction of the funds that would have been raised by NIOSA, which brought in $1.4 million for the society in 2019.

The City reviews permits for large gatherings every week to determine if several warning indicators related to the pandemic warrant cancellations.

“The careful planning that went into the Fall Heritage Festival has taught us a lot about how to improve our events and festivals and make them even better,” Zaiontz said. The festival was slated to host a maximum of 1,000 people. “We are looking forward to future events that will benefit from our 2020 planning.”    

Ticketholders can receive a $125 refund, convert their ticket into a donation to the Conservation Society, or apply the funds to a future event.

“Despite the strict safety measures the City and Conservation Society adopted to ensure a healthy event, the continued presence of COVID-19 in our community makes canceling this event the right call,” Nirenberg said. “I want to thank the Conservation Society for putting together an extensive safety plan ahead of this event, and I am glad they have agreed to cancel it in light of our current COVID-19 progress and warning indicators.”     

Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick covers public policy pertaining to social issues, ranging from affordable housing and economic disparity to policing reform and mental health. She was the San Antonio Report's...