A windy, humid morning turned into a breezy, sunny afternoon in time for Fiesta’s official opening event, Fiesta Fiesta, Thursday at Hemisfair.
Through the crowd of a few tens of thousand and fluttering confetti were local groups and national businesses giving away or selling Fiesta medals; beer stands and paleta carts; meandering kings and queens of Fiesta (official or self-proclaimed); towering flower crowns; and, of course, people eating the much-loved chicken-on-a-stick.
More noticeable than the bass thumping from the stage at Nueva and South Alamo streets were the clanging of Fiesta medals. Some patrons wore more than a hundred on a single sash or Spurs jersey. Though you can never exactly discern whose medals in the crowd were making noise, the 3-foot-high hats some wore were likely a good place to start.
Life-long San Antonio resident Teresa Gonzalez wore a hat adorned with yellow and pink flowers and ribbons.
“I love seeing other people’s creativity,” Gonzalez said. “I think San Antonio has a lot of creative people.”
Gonzalez’s hat was made by Rebecca Medina, artist and owner of Rebecca Medina Dolls.
“There’s all types of culture,” said Medina “All walks of life enjoy Fiesta, whatever Fiesta means.”
Medina’s hat, which she made in six hours, featured a Bud Light can, an avocado, a miniature bottle of Tajin spice, and a papier-mâché doll smoking a thin cigarette whose smoke was made of cotton, while holding a chicken on a stick.
At one point, two Chick-fil-A cows danced defiantly while wearing sandwich board signs that read “Koma Más Poyo.” Earlier in the day, the City Council considered a re-vote on the portion of the San Antonio International Airport concession contract that barred Chick-fil-A. But the council ultimately decided to stick with its original decision.
Mike and Rosario Monreal watched as children and parents played in Yanaguana Garden. The couple volunteered at Fiesta events for nearly 30 years, including many A Night in Old San Antonios. Between the two, they have more than 2,000 medals. These days, they’ve dialed it down a few notches—they come only to enjoy Fiesta events with just a few medals on each of their shirts.
“We’re done volunteering,” Rosario said laughing. “We’ll let the new kids take over.”
Fiesta continues through Sunday, April 29. View the full schedule here.