The day after Thanksgiving means many different things to families throughout the country. For some, it’s the best day of the year to save on consumer electronics, for others it’s about leftover helpings of turkey and pumpkin pie and for the city of San Antonio it means holiday lighting festivities.
Despite the heavy dose of downtown rain, I stayed optimistic while I photographed the holiday festivities that lead up to the H-E-B tree lighting at Alamo Plaza, an event that brought hundreds of guests covered head to toe in ponchos. This year’s tree, which stands at 55 feet, was decorated to celebrate our own San Antonio Spurs. The Silver Dancers and the Spurs Coyote were in attendance, along with the Salesian Sisters of St. John Bosco, aka “The Spurs Nuns.” The tree towered over Alamo Plaza, covered in Spurs-themed ornaments and multi-colored lights.
Weather conditions forced the Ford Holiday River Parade and Lighting Ceremony to a slow start before officials cancelled the event for the safety of the riders on floats.
The Paseo del Rio Association made the following statement:
“The decision to cancel the Ford Holiday River Parade was a difficult one to make due to the year-long planning and hard work by sponsors, volunteers and staff. The event organizer, Paseo Del Rio Association, share in the disappointment by everyone. This is the first time in the parade’s 34 years history the parade was cancelled. The decision to cancel by Paseo and the City of San Antonio River Walk operations staff was to ensure the safety of the over 250 people riding on floats. The rapid water flow from street drain-off into the river created an unsafe condition for boat riders.”
Many public officials, including HUD Secretary Julián Castro and his family, participated as riders in the parade. The rain may have cut the festivities short, but the holidays have arrived with the lights shining brightly along the San Antonio River.
*Top Image: San Antonio Police Officer Rendon stands in the street after being handed a novelty light saber to direct traffic. Photo by Scott Ball.