San Antonio has once again proven that there’s no better way to kick off Fiesta than with fireworks and music in front of the Alamo.

Of the thousands that came in droves to Alamo Plaza on Thursday for Fiesta Fiesta, the free official Fiesta kick-off event, nearly all were decked out in colorful apparel with medals pinned to their hearts and confetti in their hair in celebration of the annual, 11-day city-wide event put on by the Fiesta San Antonio Commission each year.

If there was any takeaway from Thursday’s festivities, it was that San Antonio is ready to party.

United States’ Air Force band “Top Flight” took to the main stage with a musical performance, signaling Fiesta’s deep military history that made all of today’s celebrations possible. The original Battle of Flowers – which took place in 1891 – was organized by all-female volunteers to pay tribute to San Antonio’s fallen at the Battles of the Alamo and San Jacinto.

Attendees watched a reenactment of the momentous event showcasing the 94 nonprofit organizations that comprise the Fiesta Commission, with members of participating organizations tossing flower bouquets into the crowd as they passed by parade-style.

More musical performances by local band Finding Friday and Grammy award-winning Tejano performer Little Joe, who debuted his new song, “San Antonio,” kept the crowd upbeat throughout the evening.

With Fiesta royalty in attendance, everyone was reminded that Fiesta is a celebration full of traditions. Aside from the obligatory cascarón-cracking, attendees also took part in another long-established Fiesta tradition: trading Fiesta medals.

Hundreds circulate through tables selling Fiesta medals at Pin Pandemonium. Photo by Scott Ball.
Hundreds circulate through tables selling Fiesta medals at Pin Pandemonium. Photo by Scott Ball.

Members of local businesses and nonprofits at the event took part in “Pin Pandemonium,” where they traded and sold their medals and pins with other participants, some of which sported their large collections on hats and sashes, a sign of a true Fiesta veteran.

At the end of the night, a lively set of Latin American music kept the party going until, finally, elaborate, technicolor fireworks lit up the sky behind the Alamo.

But the start of Fiesta wouldn’t have been official without the unified shout of “Viva Fiesta!” by all, perhaps San Antonio’s favorite phrase rivaled only by “Go Spurs Go,” of course.

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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