Page Graham

In terms of weather, January can be both the cruelest month and the best month. We’re only a few days past an ice storm, and suddenly we’re blessed with excellent weather on Saturday.

And fortunately, there’s no lack of events to choose from, even in the dead of winter. So why not grab the bicycles, bring the camera, and see what we can discover going on in town. Well, there was a parade wasn’t there?

The sight of 110 longhorn cattle with only a flimsy plastic fence between you and the livestock can be somewhat intimidating. Photo by Page Graham.
The sight of 110 longhorn cattle with only a flimsy plastic fence between you and the livestock can be somewhat intimidating. Photo by Page Graham.

To say that San Antonio was once a cowtown is an understatement. In the 1800’s and early 1900’s, it was a common sight to see herds of cattle being driven by cowboys down the streets of our city center to the Westside stockyards. And for the past seven years, homage has been paid to this tradition with the Western Heritage Parade and Cattle Drive.

Riders gather up on Alamo Street waiting to return down Houston Street to the parade staging area. Photo by Page Graham.
Riders gather up on Alamo Street waiting to return down Houston Street to the parade staging area. Photo by Page Graham.

The event has  grown considerably since its inception (and previous incarnations), when it was basically a herd of about 35-40 longhorn cattle driven along Houston Street to a holding pen in Alamo Plaza. This year, there was considerably more to behold. In addition to 110 longhorn cattle, there were mounted posses on horseback, wagons, and all sorts of folks in period garb joining in the parade.

It’s important to be patient, because the parade is loosely marshalled. At one point, it seemed like parade was over, but somehow, the groups had become widely separated.

Just remember…it ain’t over until the street sweeping trucks show up.

Not just a celebration of cowboy heritage, the parade embraces our multicultural heritage. Photo by Page Graham.
Not just a celebration of cowboy heritage, the parade embraces our multicultural heritage. Photo by Page Graham.

One of the best attributes of this parade is that it is a tribute to our multicultural heritage. Buffalo Soldiers, Native American dancers, Charros and more all take part in this parade.

Be sure to take the opportunity next year to check out this event, which is sponsored by the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo. It’s a great spectacle to behold!

But we’re not done yet! Let’s get back on our bicycles and roll a few blocks south to Hemisfair Park. The mission of UTSA’s Institute of Texas Cultures is to educate and celebrate the many cultures that make up this great state.

Traditional Asian cultural dance is a key component of the Asian Festival. Photo by Page Graham.
Traditional Asian cultural dance is a key component of the Asian Festival. Photo by Page Graham.

And the diverse cultures of Asia make up an important part of our melting pot. Immigrants and their descendants from Japan, Korea, China, Thailand, Vietnam, and several other countries gather together on the grounds of the ITC each January at the Asian Festival.

The event is sponsored by the Institute of Texan Cultures, in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution.

Don't let the horse on his head fool you...this gentleman takes his Yakitori very seriously! Photo by Page Graham.
Don’t let the horse on his head fool you…this gentleman takes his Yakitori very seriously! Photo by Page Graham.

What once began as a Chinese New Year family reunion has grown considerably over its 27-year existence. To celebrate 2014, the Chinese Year of the Horse, a variety of entertainment from diverse cultures was presented. An event like this is a sensory feast: music for the ears, dance and crafts for the eyes, not to mention aromatic food for the nose and tongue. Judging from the crowds — and the long lines for food — this event is a smash hit.

If you missed it this year, be sure not to miss this unique event next time.

Okay, our bellies are full and it’s time to go home and get some rest. But wait…there’s plenty of culture to be found in this city after the sun sets. Let’s hop in the car and roll over to the Deco District and see what’s happening:

Segundo do Febrero exhibit at Centro Cultural Aztlan. Photo by Page Graham.
Segundo do Febrero exhibit at Centro Cultural Aztlan. Photo by Page Graham.

Every year, Centro Cultural Aztlan recognizes the Guadalupe-Hidalgo Treaty, also known by the date it was signed, Segundo de Febrero (February 2nd), with an art show commemorating the event.

The works of 20 artists are on display at the Centro’s gallery, located in the Deco District at 1800 Fredericksburg Road.

Segundo do Febrero exhibit at Centro Cultural Aztlan. Photo by Page Graham.
Segundo do Febrero exhibit at Centro Cultural Aztlan. Photo by Page Graham.

The Mexican-American War is perhaps one of the least-remembered conflicts amongst Americans, but is well-known by Mexicans and Tejanos alike. The war culminated in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ceded Alta California and New Mexico to the United States, as well as official recognition of the U.S. annexation of Texas.

The show can be seen through February, Monday to Friday, 10am-5pm. But perhaps the best time to check it out will be during the On and Off Fredericksburg Road Studio Tour, coming up this February 22-23. A number of studios and galleries in the area will be open to the public — it’s a great arts event that’s not to be missed.

San Antonio has become an amazing city in terms of the diversity of events being offered. Hardly a week passes without a full slate of events certain to entertain our diverse population. See you at the next event.

Western Heritage Parade and Cattle Drive 2014. Photo by Page Graham.
Western Heritage Parade and Cattle Drive 2014. Photo by Page Graham.

Page Graham has been a resident of San Antonio – on and off – for over 30 years now. He has moved into the corporate world, making a living developing training materials and Powerpoint presentations and all that stuff we need to do in order to make a living. But now he’s back – aqui en el corazón de San Antonio – enjoying life to its fullest.  The Rivard Report is one place you can follow his trail, as is www.artblogsa.com.

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Page Graham

Page Graham has been a resident of San Antonio – on and off – for over 30 years now. He has moved into the corporate world, making a living developing training materials and Powerpoint presentations...