Fiesta medal culture is a colorful and exciting history that is rooted in San Antonio. Discover more about this exciting tradition with these incredible facts.
How many fiesta medals do you own? A couple? A hundred? Thousands?
San Antonio's Fiesta started in 1891 as a way to honor the heroes of the Alamo. Rivaled only by New Orleans Mardi Gras, Fiesta is one of the largest celebrations in the South. Fiesta will take place during a week to two week period at the end of April.
Where New Orleans has beads, San Antonio has fiesta medals.
Fiesta medal culture has evolved over decades to become what it is today. We have five unique facts you may have not known about your long-standing tradition.
Years after the Battle of San Jacinto in 1836, a group of women took it upon themselves to hold a parade of flowers celebrating Texas's Independence and the people who fought for it.
Residents enjoyed the ceremony so much they started the Battle of Flowers Parade. In 1946, King Antonio of the Texas Cavaliers began distributing coins to the local children.
Fast-forward to 1971 and Charles Orsinger, who was the reigning King Antonio at the time, continued this tradition but with his own flair. He began punching holes in the coins, enabling the children to wear them around their necks.
As time went on the coins became medals and medals became unique and a work of art.
After 1971, the patrons of Fiesta took the idea of medallions and transformed them into what we see today.
Medals increased in popularity during the 90's where medallions were made to look like figures, characters, or logos from pop culture.
Now, people make their own unique medals to showcase their interests, personality, and businesses.
Medals became so popular, Fiesta organizers created the Pin Pandemonium.
This event takes place on the first night of Fiesta and is set-up by area organizations, businesses, or medal collectors as a way to buy, trade, or sell medals.
Thousands of medals are made for the event in preparation for the large crowds that come through. All searching for the perfect medal.
Oh, you bet there is a contest. Dozens of them!
Every year, organizations like the San Antonio Express-News, Business Journal and more hold contests to see who can create the best fiesta medal.
Medal competitions have grown more competitive as additions such as spinners, sliding or dangling pieces, or glow-in-the dark paint have been added on.
The more elaborate a medal the more likely it is to take home the crown.
You have dozens of medals but how do you wear them?
Traditionally, they are worn on a sash or necklace, but there are no set rules stating you have to follow tradition. Fiesta-goers get creative and are seen wearing them on sombreros or as other forms of jewelry.
The greatest part of fiesta medal culture is that it is open to your own interpretation.
Getting involved in Fiesta medal culture means one day trying to create your own!