Monday, April 21, 2008

Fiesta!

It’s that time of year again! Fiesta! This yearly event in San Antonio commemorates the victory of Sam Houston in capturing Mexican dictator Santa Anna on April 21, 1836. During the Battle of San Jacinto (in present day Houston), the Texian army yelled "Remember the Alamo", "Remember Goliad." This victory freed Texas from Mexico. At that time, Texas became a republic, sort of a country of its own. Sam Houston became its first president. We are one of only two states in the union to have ever been a republic. (Do you know the other? Hint: I've lived there too.) That is why we are the Lone Star State. 

Every year during the week of April 21, San Antonio throws a week long party! We have a lot of fun participating as best we can. Here are a few of the highlights during the week. On Monday night, the Texas Caveliers River Parade  floats down the San Antonio River! We got to go to our first one last year! More on that in a bit! On Thursday night the high school bands gather for Battle of the Bands.  On Friday all the public schools take a holiday for the Battle of Flowers held in the afternoon. Over a hundred years ago carriages were bedecked in flowers and everyone threw flowers at each other.  (We learned last year this is a tradition that originated with the Ancient Romans during the triumphal marches.) The Texas A&M band come to play if they don’t have other commitments; one year my college band was featured. Of course all the high school bands and queens and other bands and various guests from around the country come too. We even have the Old Fife and Drum corps visit from Virginia! I have been to this several times, one time viewed from the top of a Victorian house and the other times in front of the Alamo. Then on Saturday night, we have the Fiesta Flambeau Parade which is the largest illuminated parade at night in the country!  It is led by the best college band of them all, The Texas Longhorn Band! Hook ‘em Horns! Here is oa video clip of them at a previous parade.  Here's a memory from when they were the Rose Bowl Champions!   

Last year the Caveliers, who host the river parade, honored the military with free tickets! We could never have afforded these otherwise! We arrived early to be assured of good parking down town and to beat the traffic. I was surprised that there was no traffic! The city offices must close early for the big party! Since we had plenty of time before the parade, we walked down to the Alamo. We were surprised to see a special ceremony there, called Pilgrimage to the Alamo. Various military and civic groups and schools lay flowers in front of the Alamo and have a special ceremony to honor those who died fighting for freedom.



Then we walked back to the part of the river where the Caveliers were honoring the military. We got free dinner, free medals, program, etc. These medals are a big deal. You collect all you can. My children were elated they now have a collection!



Here is the Fiesta stuff I've collected over the years.  The ladies all get decked out in colorful flowers and ribbons.  The top medal was gifted to me from El Rey Feo (he collects the most money for charity).  The bottom two I got from the Caveliers last year.  The one on the left is their parade theme medal, "A Fiesta of Film."  The one on the right is the King Antonio medal.

Then we had free entertainment from one of the military bands playing jazz.



They found a helper in the audience!



Then we got our seats right on the edge of the river! We kept telling the lady in front of us not to worry about falling in, the water is only knee deep. (She kept asking us if she should be worried.)



King Antonio!



Here we are!



US Senator from Texas, Kay Bailey Hutchinson...



Fun float...



One of the queens...



Looks like a sailor?



More queens...



The weathermen floated down individually on innertubes!  Actually they had little motors on them. They could even shoot water at us!



This year we won’t go to the festivities. That’s not something I’d tackle with dh being TDY. So I have lots of Mexican food.  We’ll watch the parades on tv this week!

5 comments:

  1. MayTheyBeMightyMenApril 21, 2008 at 4:00 PM

    Neat! I loved reading a little of the history of the celebration, and your pictures were wonderful. I'm glad you shared. We are doing the states this year, but haven't made it to Texas just yet. It will be fun to get an overview when we get there. :')

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  2. The food is one of my favorite things about Fiesta ~ about San Antonio! I also love all of the color and festivities. Thanks for sharing about this and bringing back some fond memories.


    Hugs, Marsha

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  3. The pictures are lovely! It looks like the celebration was fun.

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  4. Looks so fun! However, I wouldn't have been too excited about Haley what's-her-face. She was not a favorite of mine.

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  5. Looks like a wonderful celebration. Maybe you can go again next year when hubby is home. Hope you are holding up well.

    Blessings.

    Ginny

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