Your typical “Sunday Funday” – in its broadest pop culture definition – includes a hip brunch spot, pancakes, mimosas, and discussion of what’s going on around town.
On Sunday, San Antonians traded brunch chairs for bike and cart seats during two beloved and beneficial events: Síclovía, now in its sixth year, opened up a 2.5-mile stretch from the entrance of Southtown to Concepción Park for cyclists, pedestrians, and skaters, while The Official Dignowity Hill Pushcart Derby, back by popular demand after a two-year hiatus, put San Antonians’ creative and athletic prowess on display at Lockwood Park.
Síclovía, a biannual event that drew an estimated 75,000 participants Sunday, switched from its fall route, which runs from Parland Place to McCullough Avenue on Broadway Street. In its first of two 2017 installments, the spring route began at the H-E-B South Flores Market, ran down South St. Mary’s Street, and ended at Mission Concepción. Along the way, various Reclovías, or activity stops, offered participants opportunities to explore different forms of group exercise such as yoga and zumba. Various vendors provided water, paletas, and food to keep the many active attendees hydrated and fed.
The free event, aimed at bringing awareness to the importance of physical fitness and healthy living, began at 11 a.m. and ran well into the afternoon of an unusually hot March day. Participants of all ages and their four-legged friends enjoyed car-free streets on bikes, scooters, rollerblades, skateboards, and other wheeled contraptions while DJs provided tunes that matched the sunny weather.
“All the money from this goes to fund future events,” said Brian Sadovsky, accounting manager for the YMCA of Greater San Antonio, the event’s main organizer. “That’s how we keep it going year after year.”
The City of San Antonio’s Metropolitan Health District and H-E-B, among others, contributed grants to make the event possible, Sadovsky added. “Stay tuned for the next one. It should be right around September or October again.”
Also present with a booth in the parking lot of Brackenridge High School was the Mayor’s Fitness Council, an organization that works to promote health and wellness among the city’s next generation of leaders.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people in San Antonio don’t know about the resources – often they are free resources – that the city has, so we really try to [promote] that,” said Rebeca Clay-Flores, special projects manager for the Mayor’s Fitness Council. “[This event] is about getting San Antonio to exercise, and ride bikes, and walk, and run, and get some sunlight. It’s about encouraging people to get out, get healthy.”
Later that afternoon, the Dignowity Hill Pushcart Derby kicked off at Lockwood Park on the city’s Eastside.
Residents played paddle ball, enjoyed cold beer and bites from local vendors, frolicked in the grass with their dogs, and mingled with the likes of District 2 Councilman Alan Warrick and one of his challengers, William “Cruz” Shaw.
One of the most prominent contenders in the pushcart derby was Mayor Ivy Taylor.
“I know I’ve done it at least twice, I think this is my third, if not fourth time [participating],” Taylor said after her first race.
Taylor’s butterfly-themed “Monarch City Champions” pushcart didn’t cross the finish line first in her initial run, but Taylor won her second go-around by a landslide. Some wondered if her performance in the pushcart race was a foreshadowing of the May 6 municipal election.
“I’d like to thank the organizers for continuing this Dignowity Hill tradition, one that I hope will grow into a San Antonio tradition, enjoying an afternoon in the park, showing some creativity, and getting a little exercise too,” Taylor said.
“It’s a great event to pull a mix of community members out,” said Brian Dillard, president of the Dignowity Hill Neighborhood Association. “It’s a very diverse neighborhood, so we always like our neighbors to join together and put something like this on.”
This story was originally published on March 26, 2017.