Mockingbird Fest 2016 flyer. Photo courtesy of Hemisfair.

With Texas Independence Day quickly approaching on Wednesday, March 2, it’s only appropriate to join together for a Texas-sized celebration.

That’s why Hemisfair will host its inaugural Mockingbird Fest on Saturday, March 5 at the Yanaguana Garden from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Organizers are anticipating a turnout of about 7,000-8,000 people.

The free festival – with its name inspired by the Northern Mockingbird, our state bird – will combine food, music, and a little Texas history to celebrate the things that make natives and residents proud to be in the Lone Star State.

The nonprofit reached out to local artists and partners that they’ve worked with in the past to see what kinds of things they’d like to see represented at the event, said Hemisfair Communications Manager Drew Hicks.

“We wanted to include the things that Texans love about Texas – the food we love, the traditions we have, the music that we like – without being cliché about it,” Hicks said.

In its first year Mockingbird Fest will have a more local feel, featuring majority San Antonio artists, food, and sponsors he said. Hemisfair hopes the event grows in the years to come to include participants and residents from all over the state, bringing in a wider perspective of what Texas has to offer.

One of the main goals for the festival is for it to become a tradition, but to offer something new and different every year.

“As our interests and favorite things about Texas change, could there be a festival that could change with that? That’s kind of the idea with Mockingbird Fest,” he said.

The nonprofit also sees the celebration as a way to provide visitors with knowledge of Texas culture and history, which is why they have included fun facts about the state on the festival programs that will be given to attendees.

The event’s programming is divided into three distinct categories: move, discover and taste.

The “move” section is “all about music and dance,” Hicks said. Performers hail mostly from San Antonio and include Elijah Zane and the Experience, a local blues rock band, Ranch/House, a local indie folk rock group, and conjunto musician Eva Ybarra, an accordion prodigy who rivals the Grammy-award winning San Antonio accordionist Flaco Jimenez.

The “discover” aspect of the festival will focus on interactive learning opportunities for festival-goers that are engaging, enjoyable, and informative.

“We wanted to focus on movement and how we can get people up and moving but at the same time learning,” Hicks said.

Discover activities include learning about and interacting with native Texas animals like the screech owl and alligator, storytelling by Texan authors, making your own Monarch butterfly kite, and learning about South Texas heritage from exhibitions and art activities by the Briscoe Western Art Museum, the Institute of Texan Cultures, and the Witte Museum.

But what would a festival be without food? Mockingbird Fest will feature some of the best local eats at affordable prices. Attendees can choose from fajitas from the Fajita Rita’s food truck, pan dulce burgers from Con Safos, tamales and aguas frescas from Cocina Heritage, chips and salsa from Dom’s Chop Salsa, and an assortment of other culinary creations from Kalye Kitchen, Drake’s Fun Foods, Box Street Social, Revolutionary Wings, and Paleteria San Antonio.

Beer will be also provided by Goliad Brewing CompanyRanger Creek Brewing & DistillingIndependence Brewing Company, and Pedernales Brewing Company.

Event T-shirts and commemorative posters will be available upon donation to the Hemisfair Conservancy at the event.

*Top image: Mockingbird Fest 2016 flyer. Photo courtesy of Hemisfair.

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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