Saturday, April 25, 2015

Fiesta Flambeau and University of Texas Longhorns

Tonight was Fiesta Flambeau, the largest illuminated night parade in America! Reynolds Andriks, who had been heavily involved in Fiesta over the years, created this new event in 1948. Torch brigades march between every ten entries to light the way. Bands put flashlights on their instruments as well as their uniforms whereas floats light up in variously creative ways.
Because the military was not actively involved in Fiesta events, Mr. Andriks proposed several ideas to the commanders of Fort Sam, Lackland AFB, Kelly AFB, and Randolph AFB: each base elect a queen that would ride in the parade on a float representing the base. Military bands participated as well.
The annual tradition of the  University of Texas Longhorns opening the Fiesta Flambeau began with a certain alumni by the name of...who else but Reynolds Andriks. This is the favorite part for us since we are huge Longhorns fans! You can see the University of Texas Longhorns in tonight's parade in this video. Advance to the 2:45 marker.
I got to attend Fiesta Flambeau back when I was dating my husband. He took me to the Blue House, which was owned by First Baptist Church. We sat on the balcony with friends overlooking the beginning of the parade near the broadcasters and cameramen.
What a thrill to experience the University of Texas Longhorn band in person! What fun to watch all the lit floats and bands, escorted by torch bearers, parade down Broadway!
Thus ends another year of Fiesta, which began in 1891 to honor the  men who fell at the Alamo. I've blogged about Fiesta all week, and last night I added a link to a video of another favorite band, the Old Guard playing 18th century style at the River Parade. Fast forward to the 27:20 mark.They were so great they set off the fireworks on the stage behind them!
Monday-Fiesta River Parade and the Texas Cavaliers
Tuesday-Pilgrimage to the Alamo and the Daughters of the Republic of Texas
Wednesday-Medals of Fiesta, The Old Guard and El Rey Feo
Thursday- Glittering Gowns of Fiesta
Friday-Battle of Flowers Parade, Cascarones, and Texas A&M
I never found my picture of me in Fiesta costume. When I taught third grade we used to hold our own Battle of Flowers Parade for the school durng Fiesta Week. (Then we had Friday off so we could attend the real parade!) Each of the third graders were assigned a project to build their own float...using a shoebox as the base. It has to do with San Antonio history. It was always fun seeing all the floats arrive and letting them decorate the top of the cubbies. For the parade, we all came to school dressed in our Fiesta festive finest! For me I made a gourgeous white peasant style blouse with eyelet lace, a deep pink skirt, deep pink beads necklace, and hoops earrings that had a few deep pink beads. Then I wore my medals and sombrero pins covered in ribbon and glitter.
We lined up, all six of the third grade classes, with each student carrying his/her own float. Each teacher led her class and we paraded around the bus circle where all the students gathered for the fun break from seatwork. If the weather was bad we paraded down the hallways. Such a simple little tradition but one that all of our students and teachers enjoyed. It was a chance for the students to show off their own creative interpretation of San Antonio/Texas history.
Fiesta is about memories, charities and kids! Viva Fiesta!  

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