Visitors stroll the grounds of Mission Concepción. Photo by Iris Dimmick.
Visitors stroll the grounds of Mission Concepción. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

Mission Concepción will host a day of free family fun Saturday from 10 a.m. — 2 p.m. at Mission Concepción as part of the Partners in Preservation Open House Weekend taking place in National Parks across the country.

The event will feature kids’ activities such as tile painting and arch building, special tours of the Mission grounds, a lecture on preservation techniques, live music, and food trucks.

“Creative programming and interactive experiences at national parks help protect the future of these places and create lifelong advocates for their preservation,” stated Stephanie K. Meeks, President and CEO of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in a press release. “Partners in Preservation Open House Weekend will give families a chance to experience these diverse parks, take in their rich history and natural beauty, and have a Father’s Day adventure they won’t soon forget.”

Several tours will be offered throughout the afternoon. At 10:15 a.m. and 12:15 a.m., guests will be able to take a 25-minute tour of the Convento and Father President’s office, areas not typically accessible to the public. The San Antonio River Authority will also take guests on a 45-minute tour down to the portal on the river across the street from the Mission at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. A tour of the entire Mission complex will begin at 11:15 a.m. All tours will start at the welcome table.

In between tours, kids have the option of building their own Mission with the Southwest School of Art, building a miniature arch, or painting their own fresco with volunteers from the National Park Service.

The day of activities is to promote San Antonio Missions National Historical Park as one of 20 national parks competing for grant money in the Vote Your Park contest. The contest, which is determined by popular vote, will grant $2 million to the top eight or nine finishers.

(Read more: Mission Concepción in the Running for $236,000 Preservation Grant)

Each park can apply for up to $250,000 and anyone can vote for up to five parks per day until July 5. Registration through Facebook or an email address is required. To vote, click here.

Mission Concepción applied for a $236,000 grant to stabilize the frescoes in the Mission’s convent and fix the cracks in the Father President’s room. Currently, San Antonio is sitting in 13th place — just four or five spots shy of winning the grant money.

“While we’re pleased to be a part of this national contest, we’ve been stuck in 13th place for the last week or so,” said Steve Souter, chairman of Los Compadres de San Antonio Missions National Historic Park. “We need to move up in the voting if we’re going to be able to win that grant. So, we’d love to see our government agency partners, businesses throughout the community, and our friends mobilize their constituencies to vote for the Missions every day through July 5th. We will be highlighting the contest and voting for the Missions at the Picnic in the Park event on Saturday.”

Coming in September, the inaugural World Heritage Festival will host of activities that will encourage locals to get out and explore the Missions in new ways. The festival will be organized through a partnership with the Rivard Report, the City, Bexar County, National Park Service, and the San Antonio River Authority.

*Top image: Visitors stroll the grounds of Mission Concepción.  Photo by Iris Dimmick.


Mission Concepción in the Running for $236,000 Preservation Grant

Returning to the River: People, Plants & Wildlife

The Mission Reach: Bringing Life and Pride Back to the Southside

Viagran: Celebrating and Working Together, a World Heritage Festival

Group Calls for City to Buy Land Around San Antonio Missions

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Katie Walsh

Katie Walsh studies journalism and English at the University of Texas at Austin and will graduate in May 2017.