Each year, Fiesta attracts approximately 3.5 million people to the streets of San Antonio, making Fiesta one of the largest festivals in the United States.
If you’re not a San Antonio native, you might be wondering, what is Fiesta in San Antonio? What does the festival represent and why is it an event that everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy at least once in their lifetime?
Fiesta Medal is a proud participant of this city-wide festival, and our goal is to help San Antonio organizations make each Fiesta one for the books. Now, we’ve got the 411 for all Fiesta newcomers.
Read on to learn 7 interesting facts about Fiesta to help you gear up for your trip to San Antonio, Texas.
What Is Fiesta in San Antonio?
Fiesta is an annual celebration of San Antonio’s vibrant history and culture. Fiesta takes place over the course of 10 or more days, typically near the end of April.
During Fiesta, you can enjoy parades, delicious food, exhibits, pageantry, military observances, and more. Fiesta isn’t just a great reason to party! It’s also a way to give back to the San Antonio community and get to know the nonprofits who work hard to strengthen our city all year round.
7 Must-Know Facts About Fiesta
From the history of Fiesta to the modern additions to the Fiesta lineup, the only way to truly understand Fiesta is to attend. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t attend your first Fiesta without knowing the most important information! Let’s take a look at 7 must-know facts about Fiesta that will give you a better sense of what it’s all about.
1. Fiesta Began with the 1891 Battle of the Flowers
In 1891, a group of San Antonio citizens began planning a commemoration of the heroes who fought at the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto. What they came up with was the first-ever Battle of the Flowers, organized and executed entirely by women. The parade participants reenacted military victories by pelting flowers at one another.
Thus began Fiesta and today, the Battle of the Flowers remains the largest parade in all of Fiesta!
2. The First Fiesta River Parade Commemorated the Renewed San Antonio River
In 1941, the San Antonio Works Progress Administration completed updates and improvements on the San Antonio River, an area we now know as the River Walk. This marked the first year that the Fiesta king, King Antonio, made his entrance by boat on the river, rather than in an automobile or plane. Now, the Fiesta River Parade is one of the only parades in the US that takes place entirely on the water!
3. The Fiesta Flambeau Parade Requires Thousands of Lights
The Fiesta Flambeau Parade began in 1948 when four-man brigades carried tall, lit torches to light up the parade’s nighttime floats. Now, you’ll find Boy Scouts carrying safety flares in addition to the thousands of twinkle lights adorning the floats, dancers, and even the horses. Fiesta Flambeau lights up the night and is an event you can’t miss!
4. Seven San Antonio Natives Are Crowned Fiesta Royalty Each Year
You may have noticed that we mentioned the Fiesta king, King Antonio! In addition to King Antonio, the original Fiesta Royalty includes the Queen of the Order of the Alamo and Rey Feo (aka the “Ugly King” or “peasant’s king”).
Over the last century, the total number of Fiesta royalty has fluctuated. Currently, we crown seven individuals who serve as Fiesta Royalty for an entire calendar year. During that time, they attend events, promote San Antonio businesses, and give back to the community.
You will also find Miss Fiesta San Antonio, Miss San Antonio, the Reina de la Feria de las Flores, and the Charro Queen. In order to win these titles, competitors often raise money, participate in a pageant, and walk or ride in parades.
5. Fiesta Medals Have Evolved Since 1946
If you know anyone who has ever attended Fiesta in San Antonio, you may be familiar with Fiesta medals. Fiesta medals are custom medals designed by different businesses and organizations in and around San Antonio. Fiesta-goers seek out these medals to add to their collections!
How did this tradition begin? In 1946, the Texas Cavaliers began handing out special coins to hospitalized children. It would take several decades for Lt. Col. Childers to come along and turn those coins into military-style medals for Fiesta-goers to collect and wear!
6. The Fiesta Pooch Parade Will Make You Wag Your Tail
At Fiesta, there’s truly something for everyone and one of our favorite Fiesta traditions is the Pooch Parade! San Antonio dog owners dress their pooches up in fun, colorful costumes for the audience to enjoy and the Pooch Parade committee to judge. At the end, one special pooch is crowned the winner!
7. It Takes Almost an Entire Year to Make All Those Cascarones
Cascarones are a Mexican craft designed for celebration. These colorful empty eggshells are filled with confetti for you to dump on the heads of fellow Fiesta-goers! You can find cascarones at HEB and at booths throughout the Fiesta grounds–trust us, they’re everywhere!
Believe it or not, all of these cascarones are handmade and hand-painted. It takes almost an entire year to make enough for everyone!
Don’t Miss Fiesta in San Antonio
What is Fiesta in San Antonio? Fiesta is one big cultural party that everyone should take part in at least once in their lives!
Ready to dive in and participate in Fiesta? The best way for a business or organization to take part in the Fiesta festivities is by creating a medal of their own to hand out.
At Fiesta Medal, we can help with everything from design to creation. Our artists are always hard at work making Fiesta medals that are sure to catch the eye of every passerby. To get started, tell us a little bit about your ideas and request a free quote!