Fiesta is one of those things that gets in your blood and stays there forever. I have only ever missed three Fiesta season in my entire life, and those were some pretty weird years anyway, so I'll just pretend those didn't happen.
But aside from my crabbiness of missing made up Texas holidays, Fiesta is consistently in the final throws of April, and always coincides with my moms birthday and a pretty popular soccer tournament that's been going for 39 years now. Because of this soccer tournament (and my mother's need to play soccer until her legs give out), I've been going to Fiesta long before I can actually remember - there are photos, no they're not getting posted due to my toddler mullet phase, nobody needs to see that.
Fiesta extends out to events ranging from NIOSA (Night in Old San Antonio), to the Fiesta de los Reyes at the Market Square, the parade through downtown, and everything in between. A full-ish list of events throughout the entire event season can be found here.
Fiesta isn't just about the amazing food (although let's be real, the food is a major contributing factor*), it's also about getting into the culture of things via music, dancing, the clothing (during parades, demonstrations, etc, definitely not the clothing of party-goers. Nobody's trying to see your Budweiser crop-top at NIOSA, Gina. Put some clothes on), and traditions going back to 1891. Here's the abridged version of how we got to where we are now with our crazy tradition of traveling en-mass every April:
In 1891 a group of San Antonio women formed the Battle of Flowers Association, decorated horse-drawn carriages, paraded in front of the Alamo, and pelted each other with flower blossoms. The parade was organized to honor the heroes from the battles of the Alamo and San Jacinto.*
So see, there's an actual reason we wear paper flower crowns, wave at the parades, gorge ourselves on elotes and pan dulce, and knock each other out with cascarones!
* Pro tip: go to the gordita stall in The Market right next to the sound stage outside of the marketplace shops, order about three, grab a buttload of napkins, and stuff your face. You're welcome.)
This is by far a mini showing of all the things Fiesta has to offer, but I'd kick myself if I didn't talk about one of my favorite places to go while I'm in San Antonio. It's a tourist trap these days since it's open 24/7, located right in the heart of the Market Square, and has been on numerous travel shows, but I'll be damned if I ever miss getting my cookie fix from this place.
Welcome to Mi Tierras.
This photo is from 2012 and terrible, cut me some slack
This photo is by far a mini showing of everything the bakery case has to offer. And they literally never run out, despite the ticket system in place because the place in PACKED with people looking to get their mitts on some delicious smelling cookies/pastries/cupcakes/unicorn dreams. This is one of those weird times it's perfectly acceptable to drop $20-$30 on baked goods and not bat an eye. My order alone is usually 5 cookies, two of which will be eaten before I even leave the restaurant.
Their food has had it's ups and downs over the years, but I know for sure one thing that has remained consistent over the years and is pretty dang near impossible to eff up: Caldo de Mercado aka Chicken tortilla soup. Granted, I could walk across the street to Pico De Gallo and get the exact same thing for potentially cheaper with a less of a wait time (they're owned by the same family/company), but Mi Tierras is another one of those weird places where if you didn't go, did you even really go to Fiesta?
Another Pro-tip: if you are a fan at all of Big Red and over 21, go into the Mariachi Bar and get yourself a Big Red Margarita (They pretty much give you a regular margarita and stick a Big Red and some magic in there and voila, Big Red Margarita!
I 100% commandeered this photo off the internet. Thank you random citizen of the Earth who took this photo originally.
Overall, go to Fiesta for the party, stay for the food, Tejano music concerts in the underpass venue (odd, I know), and the weirdly awesome people watching. And the soccer tournament if you're down to play 3-6 games in one day and have your body hate you for a week after (this year was my first year playing...my body figuratively pooped its pants after game 2 of 3, so there's that).
See you next April! I'll be the one with the gordita grease stains on my shirt and confetti in my hair :)