Living history

Popular festival returns to celebrate San Antonio's famous missions

Popular festival returns to celebrate San Antonio's famous missions

Restored by Light San Antonio
Restored by Light recreates colorful frescos lost to time. World Heritage Festival/ Facebook

As San Antonio celebrates its Tricentennial year, locals and tourists alike have gathered to honor the city’s rich culture and heritage at events across the city. On September 5-9, Alamo City will have another chance to celebrate as the World Heritage Festival returns for a third year.

The annual event started in 2016 to commemorate the anniversary of UNESCO’s designation of the San Antonio Missions as a World Heritage Sites. Since then it has become one of San Antonio’s most popular citywide parties.

“The UNESCO designation of our beloved Missions as a World Heritage Site was a momentous occasion,” said Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff in a release. “As the first and only World Heritage site in Texas, it’s great to see this annual celebration continue to grow over the last few years.”

The five days of festivities kick off on September 5 with a morning press conference before kicking into high gear. Some of last year’s most popular events, such as a bike and 10K run, are returning, joining new events like a program devoted to textile traditions of the 18th century.

Other highlights include a moonlight picnic at the Mission San Juan Farm, with baskets provided by Bohanan’s, Clementine, Gwendolyn, Tre Trattoria, and other top San Antonio restaurants, and the ever-popular Mission Pachanga music festival. Restored by Light, which virtually recreates the former frescos on the mission buildings, also promises to dazzle.

Here is the full schedule of events:

  • September 5: World Heritage Festival Press Conference at the Alamo
  • September 6: Sunset Picnic at Mission San Juan Farm
  • September 7: Restored by Light
  • September 8: Tour de las Misiones Bike Ride, Walk, and Run
  • September 8: Mission Pachanga Music Festival 
  • September 8: Threads of Time: Spinning, Weavind, and Dyeing at the Missions
  • September 9: Celebratory Mass at Mission Concepcion

Proceeds from the event go towards local nonprofits and initiatives that help in the preservation, maintenance, and promotion of the historic sites, ensuring San Antonio will have much to celebrate in years to come.