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"Fiesta San Antonio" (or simply "Fiesta") is an annual spring festival held in San Antonio, Texas with origins dating to the late 1800s. The festival begun as a single event to honor the memory of the battles of The Alamo and San Jacinto.

Fiesta is the city's biggest festival, with an economic impact of $284 million for the Alamo City. More than three million people take part in Fiesta. They can choose from more than 100 events that take place all over the city and beyond.[1]



Fiesta dates to 1891, when local women decorated carriages, baby buggies and bicycles with live flowers, met in front of the Alamo, and threw the blossoms at one another[citation needed]. That was the first Battle of Flowers Parade. The event was a success and soon became an annual event. Soon other activities joined the parade—balls, parties and a carnival. The celebration's name changed over the years from Carnival to Spring Carnival to Fiesta San Jacinto and, in 1960, to Fiesta San Antonio[citation needed].

The Battle of Flowers Parade Association began crowning a queen in 1896[citation needed]. In 1909 local businessman John Carrington established The Order of the Alamo with the purpose of crowning a queen, a princess and 24 duchesses, 12 from San Antonio and 12 from out of town. Coronations of local "royalty," a carnival and many other activities became the forerunners of today's Fiesta[citation needed].


Today more than 100 local nonprofit groups, members of the Fiesta San Antonio Commission, stage more than 100 events over 11 days with the help of some 75,000 volunteers.

Fiesta events include three major parades—two along Broadway and past the Alamo, and one on the San Antonio River River Walk, where the floats actually "float."

San Antonians and visitors can watch kings and queens being crowned—King Antonio, el Rey Feo or the Queen of The Order of the Alamo. They can attend receptions, parties, concerts and conferences.

Fiesta fans can try out Louisiana's cuisine at A Taste of New Orleans in Brackenridge Park, sample all kinds of oysters and other foods at St. Mary's University's Fiesta Oyster Bake, a major music (6 stages) and cultural event lasting 2 days, or enjoy the multicultural offerings of A Night in Old San Antonio, or NIOSA, a four-evening block party at La Villita downtown.

Musical options include Tejano, jazz, Mariachi, Rock, Big Band, classical, and traditional radio-friendly pop. History buffs can remember the Alamo at the Pilgrimage to the Alamo or This Hallowed Ground. Sporting events include races, soccer, rugby and lacrosse. Cornyation, a satirical musical review, is another popular event, but for adults only.

Pins and medals in every color of the rainbow have become an established Fiesta tradition. Residents and visitors can get the souvenirs from various dignitaries or members of Fiesta royalty.

Battle of the Flowers Parade and Fiesta Flambeau

The Battle of Flowers Parade is the oldest event and largest parade of Fiesta San Antonio, attracting crowds of more than 350,000 on the second Friday of Fiesta. It is the only parade in the United States produced entirely by women, all of whom are volunteers. These ladies, dressed on parade day in yellow and wearing yellow hats, direct operations with the assistance of the Texas Army National Guard.

The Fiesta Flambeau Parade starts as the sun goes down on the second Saturday of the festival. The parade, dating from 1948, is illuminated by thousands of lights on the floats, dancers, horses, cars and even the band instruments.

Fiesta San Antonio Commission

Overseeing this massive effort is a single nonprofit organization—the Fiesta San Antonio Commission. The sponsoring organizations must meet the commission's criteria before receiving approval and being invited to join.

The commission is governed by an all-volunteer board of community leaders and representatives from its nonprofit participating member organizations. This dedicated group works year 'round, coordinating the thousands of details and day-to-day tasks essential to plan this huge citywide event.

The commission also serves as a liaison between those nonprofit members, local military activities, and the City of San Antonio. City services are essential to the conduct of Fiesta.

The Fiesta Commission returns more than $1 million to the community each year.[citation needed]

  • It gives allocations to Fiesta events that are not financially self-supporting.
  • It provides bleachers for seating sales to the Battle of Flowers and Fiesta Flambeau parade associations.
  • It licenses more than 100 nonprofit groups (church groups, youth groups, civic organizations) to sell street chairs along the parade routes.

The commission receives no government funding. Its income comes from corporate partnerships, sales in The Fiesta Store, membership dues and proceeds from the Fiesta Carnival.


During Fiesta 2003, an event at Sunset Station called "New Semana Alegre" was sponsored by Budweiser beer. The lineup included Blue Öyster Cult, Mark Farner and the reunited Heyoka. Also, Los Lobos played at Gruene Hall. It has been described as the Fourth of July of San Antonio.[citation needed]

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