San Antonio in 1890 was a thriving urban and trade center, 38,000 residents strong. By 1891, a core group of citizens of this booming metropolis decided to create an event that would honor the heroes of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto.
Thus, the San Antonio Fiesta was born.
What did the first parade look like? Horse-drawn carriages, floats carrying kids in flower costumes, and bicycles covered in fresh blooms filled the streets. Participants threw flowers at each other, and the Belknap Rifles symbolized the military.
This first Battle of Flowers soon sparked the much larger San Antonio Fiesta, an 11-day celebration featuring multiple parades as well as food, music, traditions, and lots of family-friendly entertainment.
When is Fiesta in San Antonio and how can you stand out? Read on for a full breakdown of the event and how to get noticed.
The Kick-Off Party
For the kick-off to Fiesta week, look no further than Hemisfair Park. The Fiesta Fiesta at Hemisfair (yes, that’s two “Fiestas” for good measure) represents the first official event.
When is Fiesta 2020? It’s set to kick off on April 16, 2020.
Fiesta Fiesta events abound at this fun inaugural evening including live music on the main stage. You can also barter for Fiesta medals from your favorite events, shop locally made arts and crafts, and taste the best in San Antonio cuisine.
It’s a family-friendly event with plenty of kid-centric activities, so everyone’s guaranteed plenty of fun. What’s more, Fiesta Fiesta benefits local nonprofit organizations. So, you can feel good about reveling in Fiesta’s opening party.
Must-See Fiesta Parades
Another iconic event you don’t want to miss out on is the Fiesta Flambeau Parade, a celebration-themed spectacle where nighttime illumination reigns supreme.
As “America’s Largest Illuminated Night Parade,” the event draws 700,000 people each year. Another 1.5 million viewers tune into the locally broadcast event.
And you won’t want to miss out on the Texas Cavaliers River Parade. Here, you’ll see boats in place of floats that give you the inside scoop on area culture, history, local celebrities, and the organizations driving the event today.
More than 50 extravagantly decorated boats float by the San Antonio River Walk, and some 250,000 spectators line up each year to catch the pomp and circumstance.
And who can forget about the Battle of Flowers? Produced exclusively by female organizers, this event benefits nonprofit organizations. With 45,000 parade seats, it’s an event rivaled in size only by Pasadena’s Rose Bowl Parade.
Music and Great Eats at the Fiesta Oyster Bake
When it comes to Fiesta events, don’t forget about the Fiesta Oyster Bake. Besides delicious eats, it boasts stellar entertainment. Five stages feature diverse musical genres including:
For families, there’s also children’s music that your little ones will adore. This year’s event is scheduled for April 17-18, 2020, and it will showcase 35 bands.
And you won’t go hungry with more than 100,000 oysters served during the two-day event. But remember this event sells out quickly, so make sure you get tickets in advance. Find out more about this year’s lineup.
Other Fiesta Events You Won’t Want to Miss
Besides spectacular parades and the Fiesta Oyster Bake, don’t miss out on the Night in Old San Antonio (NIOSA). This is one of the prime spots for checking out attendees’ custom Fiesta pin collections, hats, and stacks of NIOSA cups.
There’s plenty of live music, great brews, and delectable street food to help get the party started. You’ll find trucks and booths with food from all over the world making this a truly global event.
The Battle of the Bands also proves a dramatic event where the best marching bands in the country come together to compete. Each school gets the chance to show off for the crowds, and it culminates in a fireworks-infused final performance.
These events are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what to do during Fiesta. So, start researching now, purchase your tickets, and then get ready for a rich, vibrant cultural and historic experience.
Hang Out with the Royals
For a chance to see true San Antonio Fiesta royalty, check out the jaw-dropping spectacle of Fiesta’s Order of the Alamo Coronation. The event features a glittery parade of nobility in glitzy dresses with famously long trains.
These dresses reference a variety of themes from cultural traditions to the country’s natural resources. And you’ll have the chance to watch a new Fiesta Queen get crowned with all of the attendant extravagance and drama.
How to Stand Out at San Antonio Fiesta
Now that you know where to go during Fiesta, let’s talk about everybody’s favorite part of the festivities, crowd participation. How do you make sure you stand out at this year’s event?
It all starts with a one-of-a-kind Fiesta hat. From sombreros to baseball caps, cowboy hats and more, people go crazy decorating hats during Fiesta. The bigger, bolder, and brasher, the better.
The most popular hat themes remain spurs and flowers, but you’ll see just about everything at the event. People pile on hat decorations. So, go large or go home.
If you want to make an even bigger splash? Then, it’s time to get your pin collection going.
Fiesta pins come in just about every shape and size. They line parade sashes and adorn vests and hats, creating a spectacle of vibrant colors and commemoration.
And if you don’t have any pins yet? Don’t give up.
There are whole Facebook pages and websites solely for trading. Or better yet, check out our collection of vibrant, eclectic pins now.
You’ll also have plenty of opportunities during Fiesta week San Antonio to add to your collection. So, get those sashes and vests ready!
Nothing Quite Like San Antonio Fiesta
San Antonio Fiesta is an event like none other. Not only does it boast the best in Texas eats and brews, but it also offers live music, myriad parades, and a chance to scope out local royalty.
An event built on fanfare and spectacle, it also relies on spectator participation. If you want to get noticed, take our advice and start working on your parade hats and pin collections now. Then, get ready for the ultimate party Texas-style.
We offer the widest, most eclectic collection of San Antonio Fiesta pins out there. If you want to stand out and maybe even become royalty, then load up on our pins now.
Not sure where to start? Find out more about the artists we work with so that you can select the perfect pins for your sash, vest, or hat.