San Antonio’s 301st year is nearly upon us and to celebrate, the Tricentennial Commission has handed the official New Year’s Eve downtown celebration back to the San Antonio Parks Foundation – the two entities will co-host the event – and this year’s celebration promises to have more of a local feel.

“It’s a testament to where the city’s headed and what’s happening with our arts and culture scene overall,” said Adam Fleming, the parks foundation’s director of marketing and outreach.

Monday’s festivities, called “Celebrate SA,” will focus on local music as the city’s biggest block party features Soulstairs, Adam Madrigal, and the San Antonio chapter of all-female DJ collective Chulita Vinyl Club all performing at the new DJ lounge in Maverick Plaza.

The main stage at Hemisfair will showcase Eddie and the Valiants, the Texases, and The Satisfactions, the light-hearted Rolling Stones tribute act of local notables Garrett T. Capps and D. T. Buffkin.

Credit: Courtesy / San Antonio Parks Foundation

DJ Red Mamba, also known as former Spurs forward Matt Bonner, will handle sets between main stage acts at Hemisfair.

Fleming noted the all-local music lineup was not a response to last year’s much-criticized Tricentennial celebration, which included REO Speedwagon and Pat Benatar, but instead was how the parks foundation preferred to approach the event.

“It was decided pretty early on that we wanted to bring that back in-house, and to feature artists and acts that live here in San Antonio,” he said. “We wanted to create a fun time, and simplify things a little bit in terms of the programming, and make a big downtown block party.”

Celebrate SA also will serve as the official closing event for the Tricentennial year. Hemisfair’s main stage will be flanked by video screens showing four “highlight reel” videos prepared by the Tricentennial Commission, with help from the parks foundation, of the city’s 300th birthday celebrations from the past year, Fleming said.

Each video will focus on one aspect of the year, including the many events of Commemorative Week, the visit of the King and Queen of Spain, a general highlight reel, and a special thank-you to the volunteers and staff that helped make the Tricentennial happen.

The videos will run continuously throughout the evening, in between the main stage acts.

Other evening events include programming hosted by Spurs Sports & Entertainment at the Arneson River Theater, an H-E-B “Celebrate Family” zone on Villita Street, and fireworks at the Tower of the Americas. The popular Yanaguana Garden also will be open during the evening. 

Celebrate SA will look and feel different from last year’s big party, Fleming said, with better weather – temperatures about 15 degrees warmer than last year are forecast – and a different location. Also, Fleming stressed that while security would not be “wanding” event goers like a year ago, security still will be tight with clear bag policies in effect, bag searches at the entrance, and plenty of security patrolling the grounds. An estimated 75,000 people are expected to attend.

A full schedule and map of the grounds are available here, along with a useful “Frequently Asked Questions” section with details on security, scooters, and parking.

“This is a city-sanctioned free event for the community, with no entrance fee,” Fleming said. “All of San Antonio is invited, and we hope they come.”

Nicholas Frank

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 an indie rock...