Bring the brightest colors to the front of your closet, pin a Fiesta medal to your heart, and crack a cascarone – if you haven’t already – because Fiesta has officially begun as of Thursday night’s Fiesta Fiesta (see photos above).
It all started as a one-parade event in 1891 to honor the heroes from the battles of the Alamo and San Jacinto, but Fiesta has become a citywide festival with hundreds of events, hordes of people, and strained livers.
If drinking is a main theme for you during Fiesta, driving should not. Parking at most events will be difficult anyway, so why risk it? To curb drinking and driving, San Antonio Yellow Cab is offering free $20 pre-paid taxi cards, and VIA is offering their “Special Event Park and Ride” service, which costs $2.50 each way or $5.00 roundtrip. Click here for details. Regardless of these options, many residents and visitors will be sorely missing rideshare companies Uber and Lyft, which ceased operating in San Antonio city limits on April 1.
There’s a lot happening during this year’s celebration, so plan accordingly to catch the event of your choice. Fiesta San Antonio’s website hosts a relatively easy-to-use schedule of events that can be found here. But don’t stop reading just yet, my list below will take you through some of my recommendations.
WEBB Party – Friday, April 17
This Friday a party is happening at the Lambermont Estate from 7:30 p.m.-midnight, and it’s not just any kind of party. It’s a party of controlled chaos, wild dancing, live DJs, gourmet food, and a variety of drinks. All proceeds from the party benefit the San Antonio AIDS Foundation, going directly into the foundation’s client services. The dress theme is “Fiesta Flourish,” and you can visit their Pinterest board here for ideas. The event is 21 and up and is expected to garner about 1,500 attendees. Tickets are $100 at the door.
Fiesta Pops – Friday and Saturday April 17-19.
The San Antonio Symphony is hosting the Fiesta Pops concert at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts for afternoon and evening shows April 17-19. The concert will bring in a batch of colorful dancers with the Guadalupe Dance Company to step to the quick beat of the mariachi band, Campanas de America, and the heartfelt voice of Sebastien De La Cruz. Adult admission is $25-$85, and child admission is 50% off.
Crown the King! Public Crowning of Rey Feo – Friday, April 17
Come out to the Main Plaza in front of the San Fernando Cathedral to watch the crowning of Jon Gary Herrera, the 67th El Rey Feo, or the “People’s King.” The free event is from 5:30-6:30 p.m., but arrive early to secure a good view for the crowning and folklórico dance performances.
Deco District Arts and Music Festival – Saturday, April 19
Head to the Deco District Arts and Music Festival on April 19. It’s free. There will be music. And of course there will be Art. What more can you ask for? The outdoor celebration is celebrating local and national musicians at three separate stages at the Jonny Gray at Woodlawn Theater. The event is hosted by the The Network for Young Artists (NYA) which is a nonprofit that promotes the arts for teens. The concert is an all-day affair, so arrive early and stay late.
Fiesta Arts Fair – Saturday and Sunday, April 18-19
The Southwest School of Art is hosting it’s 42nd Fiesta Arts Fair on April 18-19. The fair is geared toward art lovers where approximately 125 venders sell contemporary and traditional arts and crafts. The fair also provides activities and crafts for children. Located right along the River Walk, the fair sits under a canopy of trees, making it a great place to beat the sun and find shade. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children.
Awesome SA Fiesta Bus – Saturday, April 18
Hop on the Awesome SA Fiesta bus on Saturday to hit up some local scenes in San Antonio. The bus will pick-up patrons at the Pearl Brewery at 5:30 p.m. and head straight for The Friendly Spot, and then continue on to the Alamo Ice House at 8 p.m. Essentially, the event is a downtown tour for locals. A $10 donation gets you on board.
AwesomeSA is a chapter of The Awesome Foundation, which gives monthly grants to projects within the San Antonio Community.
Fiesta Cornyation – Tuesday-Thursday, April 21-23
It’s no surprise that Cornyation is one of the most popular events during Fiesta. It’s over-the-top, humorous, and sometimes crude nature is what draws a hearty crowd. The name “Cornyation” pokes fun at Coronation, the crowning of the Queen ceremony. Although Cornyation is a light-hearted event, they take fundraising seriously. Since becoming a non-profit organization, Cornyation has donated almost $2 million to local charities.
Don’t miss out on this one. Tickets are still available for the Tuesday and Wednesday late night shows at the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre, ranging from $15 to $40.
*Featured/top image: Fiesta vendor Adela Ramos ties down her merchandise during Fiesta Fiesta 2015 at Alamo Plaza. Photo by Scott Ball.