The San Antonio Report’s 2022 CityFest promises to be newsier than ever, featuring two highly anticipated county events: a Bexar County judge candidates debate and an exit interview with outgoing County Judge Nelson Wolff.

In 2018, the San Antonio Report debuted the annual “ideas festival” focused on innovative approaches to public policy and culture. That tradition continues Oct. 4-7 with San Antonio CityFest 2022.

This year’s theme is Live Local, with a slate of panel discussions, presentations and parties focused on life in one of the fastest-growing cities in the United States.

“Our readers can expect really thoughtful questions and discussions that don’t shy away from the high stakes issues our city is facing,” said San Antonio Report Publisher Angie Mock.

Civic engagement is at the core of the Report’s mission, Mock said, and it can combine serious discussion with fun. “We’ve book-ended this year’s CityFest with two fun social events which allow our readers to connect with each other and our staff. We hope our readers will come out and have some fun,” she said.

CityFest kicks off Tuesday at 8:30 a.m., with an hourlong online panel discussion on the future of downtown development. Moderator A.J. Rodriguez, chair of the San Antonio Report board of directors, will lead a conversation on how remote work will shape the urban core and the emergent downtown tech district.

Panelists Jenna Saucedo-Herrera, president and CEO of Greater: SATX Regional Economic Partnership; Randy Smith, co-founder and CEO of Weston Urban; Matt Brown, president and CEO of Centro San Antonio; Tommie Gonzalez, owner of Puro Handsome Barbershop in the Majestic Theatre building; and Assistant City Manager Lori Houston will share their views on what the next stage of downtown growth will look like.

Tickets for virtual attendance are free with registration.

Tuesday evening, popular Westside social spot Jaime’s Place will host a CityFest kickoff happy hour from 6-8 p.m. Attendees can mix and mingle with San Antonio Report staffers to meet the personalities behind the bylines, donor drives and membership events.

Wednesday’s feature event is “The Exit Interview: A Look Back at Nelson Wolff’s Five Decades in Public Service.” San Antonio Report co-founder, columnist and board secretary Robert Rivard will interview the outgoing Bexar County judge live onstage at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts for the festival’s keynote luncheon.

Wolff promises a wide-ranging, no-holds-barred conversation about his time in elected office — as a former state legislator, San Antonio mayor from 1991 to 1995, and county judge since 2001 — and his views on the future of the city and county.

Tickets for this in-person event are available for $250.

CityFest moves back online at 6 p.m. for an hourlong panel discussion, “Across Cultures: A conversation about the immigrant experience in San Antonio,” moderated by Breaking News Reporter Raquel Torres.

A group of immigrants and immigration advocates including Yuliana Martinez, a Colombian entrepreneur; Nadia Mavrakis of Arab and South Asian advocacy group Culturingua; an Afghan refugee named Hamid; and Jessica Azua of grassroots progressive group Texas Organizing Project will discuss the experience and prospects of migrants in San Antonio.

Free registration for this virtual event is available here.

Oct. 6 features two events, a virtual panel discussion at noon and the 6 p.m. debate between Bexar County judge candidates Peter Sakai and Trish DeBerry, held at San Antonio College’s 1,000-seat McAllister Fine Arts Center in front of a live audience. San Antonio Report Editor-in-Chief Leigh Munsil will serve as moderator.

Tickets to the debate are free with registration.

The noon online discussion will explore “The Future of Housing in San Antonio” with panelists Antonio Petrov, the founder of Urban Future Lab; Chief Housing Officer Mark Carmona; Rich Acosta, president of My City is My Home; Debra Guerrero, vice president of government affairs for NRP Group; and Kim Jefferies, president and CEO of Haven for Hope.

Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick will lead the discussion on how equity, affordability and infill can help avoid sprawl in an urban area expected to nearly double in population by 2050.

Free registration for this virtual event is available here.

On Friday at noon, a panel of emerging changemakers shaping San Antonio’s business, philanthropic, development and public policy landscapes will discuss the future of Texas’ second largest city.

Senior Reporter Nicholas Frank will moderate the virtual conversation with state Rep. Ina Minjarez (House Dist. 124); Sarah Carabias Rush, chief economic development officer of Greater: SATX; Jordan Ghawi, director of strategic initiatives for the South Texas Regional Advisory Council; Will Garrett, vice president of talent and technology development and integration for Port San Antonio; and Kimiya Denise Factory, executive director of Black Freedom Factory.

Registration is required for this free virtual event.

CityFest 2022 will wrap up Friday at Legacy Park with a free downtown block party from 6-8 p.m. featuring live entertainment, food trucks and the launch of “Live Like a Local,” the San Antonio Report’s new lifestyle section for residents and newcomers to learn more about the community.

Senior Reporter Nicholas Frank moved from Milwaukee to San Antonio following a 2017 Artpace residency. Prior to that he taught college fine arts, curated a university contemporary art program, toured with...