Let’s take another journey into the past.
Part of the reason I decided to visit San Antonio in April was because of Fiesta.
It’s an annual ten day event celebrating all things puro San Antonio through parades, parties, pin badges, bright colours and of course, food.
San Antonio is party city already, but it really comes to life during Fiesta. I couldn’t possibly do the history of Fiesta justice, so to find out more about it have a look on their website: Fiesta!
What I can do is share a little of my experience of the celebration. Let’s go!
First up: Fiesta Carnival! Full of rickety rides and almost anything you want deep fried. It’s located in the Alamodome’s parking lot and lasts the entirety of Fiesta. I love funfairs, even though I tend to get a little nauseous (scared) on rides. For me it’s all about the funnel-cake air and bright colors.
It’s quite a small carnival, but it has all the essentials… including the chance to win a goldfish or a Scottish Smurf!
The main event of Fiesta is a Night in Old San Antonio (NIOSA) which lasts three days and is an absolute food frenzy. Downtown on the Riverwalk, La Villita is transformed into a little international food market. Booths are set up to serve everything from tacos to escargot and loads more in between. The idea is just to stroll around and spend the whole night snacking, picking up drinks as and when. It’s always crowded, but everyone is in such high spirits that it’s never a drama.
NIOSA is such a big event we decided to stay in Hotel Havana for the night. I am a massive fan of this hotel and will one day write a review. I love it so much I got married there!
The family and I spent the day downtown at Market Square. Full of fun. So much good food. I’m a little sad about the watered down margaritas but that’s ok because you can get the biggest Michelada ever. There’s Live music and plenty of dancing in hot Texan sunshine.
Homemade gorditas, corn cups and salt-rimmed beer for the win.
A short rest at Havana (and their amazing Hemingway Daiquiri) later and it was time to hit up NIOSA. A feast for the eyes and belly.
There is such a positive atmosphere at Fiesta that the crowds, toilet lines, or overpriced drinks never get you down. Everyone is there to party and it’s smiles all around.
One of the more interesting traditions of Fiesta is the ‘medals’ or pin badges which local business sell (usually at a tenner a pop!). People buy as many as they can and wear sashes full of them. Click here for more insight into the habit. As well as that, people go all out in giant hats, but the less crafty (yours truly) just purchase paper flower veils.
Paper Picado is in full swing and there’s confetti everywhere. Mainly due to cascarones. Its a hollowed out egg filled with confetti usually brought out for Easter, but can be used in other celebrations. You would normally crack in egg on someone’s head for good luck… or just to make a mess!
Usually we use Sauerkraut Bend as a base, which features a live Oompah Band and all snacks German. Mainly Sausage on a Stick. It’s the only indoor (air conditioned) area of NIOSA, so get in and grab a seat early. Also, I feel like you have to do the chicken dance in Sauerkraut Bend at least once, but there’s plenty of opportunities if you want to bawk all night.
You’ll likely make the rounds a few times to see what is on offer. It’s hard to choose a favourite, but really… you can’t beat food on a stick.
Avoid this snack at all costs… Soggy pickle juice Cheetos.
Cutest little bowl for Crawfish Étouffée.
So much grilled meat. The air is filled with charcoally goodness.
And that’s it. Fiesta brings everyone together and spreads the love in the best way possible… through snacking, obviously.
Such a lovely city. Miss you SA.