If you asked them to name famous events, most people would name things like the Kentucky Derby. They probably wouldn't mention Fiesta San Antonio, although this celebration is over 125 years old.
You might be asking, "What is Fiesta?" It's San Antonio's oldest and largest parade, started in 1891 by a group of local women. Since then, the parade has expanded into a week-long carnival known as Fiesta.
This guide will introduce you to Fiesta week, its history, and how it impacts the city of San Antonio.
Fiesta San Antonio history starts with a one-day event in 1891. The inaugural parade was held to honor the battles of the Alamo and San Jacinto. Local women decorated bicycles and baby buggies, then threw flowers at each other.
This is why it has the name "Battle of Flowers." From the very start, women alone organized the parade. That's still true today.
The festival expanded, adding more events held over the course of a week. In 1895, the Battle of Flowers Parade Association began crowning a carnival queen. In 1909, the Fiesta "royalty" expanded to include a princess and 24 duchesses.
Fiesta is San Antonio's largest and oldest celebration. It celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2016. It's still going strong, attracting millions of visitors annually.
Fiesta San Antonio events are held in San Antonio and neighboring areas. Participating cities include Alamo Heights, Balcones Heights, Windcrest, and Boerne.
There are several parades, including one along the San Antonio River Walk.
A block party takes place over four evenings. There's also a Charreria event, which showcases equestrian talent.
Fiesta week San Antonio occurs during the last two weeks of April every year.
San Antonio Fiesta week is the city's largest festival, so it's easy to see why people make a big deal about it.
UTSA's Center for Community and Business Research reports Fiesta makes more than $340 million. The local government collects over $3 million in sales tax during the festival alone.
There are approximately 100 member organizations that take part in the festival. Volunteers are integral to the festival, but Fiesta has also created almost 3,500 jobs.
Fiesta week has a significant tourist impact. It brings around 3 million people out to celebrate in the streets of San Antonio each year.
If you've ever been in San Antonio during Fiesta week, you know all about the magic of this amazing celebration.
If you haven't gone yet, there's no better time to start planning a trip. Visit during the last two weeks of April, and you can take part in balls, parades, and so much more. You may even have the chance to get a Fiesta medal from the local festival royalty.
What are you waiting for? Start planning your Fiesta trip by checking out our guides to events, food, and fun! And don't forget to get your fiesta medals!