Donned in their signature blue coats and red pants and standing proudly in front of the Alamo, the Texas Cavaliers Saturday evening celebrated their 2017 King Antonio, Dr. Michael Casillas.

Casillas – a San Antonio native and oral surgeon – is not only the organization’s 95th king, he’s also the first Mexican-American King Antonio ever since the Cavalier’s founding nearly 100 years ago. The distinction is a bit unusual for San Antonio, a majority Latino city with history rooted deeply in indigenous cultures, and later influenced by Mexican and Spanish cultures.

The Texas Cavaliers, made up of more than 600 local business and community leaders who fundraise for children’s charities in the community, have historically had a more aristocratic reputation, with a small portion of Hispanic membership. But electing their first Latino king of Fiesta this year signals the group’s move toward more inclusivity in a city that is more than 60% Latino.

As King Antonio, Casillas is charged with visiting local schools, hospitals, nursing homes, businesses, and community groups over the coming year, and helping with fundraising efforts. His organization has raised more than $5 million, last year raising $500,000 to go toward children’s causes.

At the celebration Saturday, Casillas was joined by Mayor Ivy Taylor to walk under an arch of crossed swords as part of the ceremony as they shivered in the chilly April breeze. He and other Fiesta Royalty, including El Rey Feo, will be seen around other Fiesta events until the festival ends on April 30.

“It was just beautiful tonight,” Casillas told the Rivard Report after the ceremony.

The Cavaliers will host one of Fiesta’s most popular events, the Texas Cavaliers River Parade, on Monday at 7 p.m. For the parade route, click here. 

King Antonio XCV Dr. Michael Casillas waves to the crowd at the Investiture of King Antonio ceremony.
King Antonio XCV Dr. Michael Casillas waves to the crowd at the Investiture of King Antonio ceremony. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Camille Garcia

Camille Garcia is a journalist born and raised in San Antonio. She formerly worked at the San Antonio Report as assistant editor and reporter. Her email is camillenicgarcia@gmail.com