San Antonio’s favorite citywide celebration of culture makes its colorful return

San Antonio’s favorite celebration of culture makes a colorful return

San Antonio's favorite annual fest is back! Courtesy of Fiesta San Antonio
Fiesta Pooch Parade
Even local pets are getting into the spirit with the Fiesta Pooch Parade. Courtesy of Fiesta San Antonio
Fiesta River Parade
Parades galore honor San Antonio's culture and heritage during Fiesta. Courtesy of Fiesta San Antonio
Fiesta Pooch Parade
Fiesta River Parade

One of San Antonio’s most beloved — and intensely colorful — cultural traditions is back in all its glory this year, and Austinites have plenty of cause to join the party.

After the pandemic upended its planned citywide celebration in 2020, Fiesta returns to San Antonio Thursday, June 17 through Sunday, June 27, and features a (nearly) complete lineup of festival faves.

Beginning in 1891 as a one-parade event honoring the heroes of the Alamo and the defining Battle of San Jacinto, Fiesta has blossomed into a widely anticipated, jubilant annual city festival that celebrates the diverse heritage, culture, and spirit of the Alamo City — and has an economic impact of more than $340 million.

And this year, though some cherished Fiesta fetes won’t be returning — the King William Fair among them — Fiesta promises a packed schedule of more than 100 events guaranteed to get you in the party spirit.

(Note: Attendees are encouraged to check the Fiesta website for specific COVID-19 safety protocols, as they vary per event. Stay safe out there, folks!)

A full schedule of Fiesta 2021 events is available here and attendees can purchase tickets for specific events online. Following are some highlights of the local festival that are not to be missed.

June 17

  • Fiesta at Fiesta Hemisfair features live music, Fiesta medal bartering, an arts-and-crafts market, and bites from some of San Antonio’s top culinary talents. 4-10 pm at Hemisfair, 434 S. Alamo St. Admission is free.
  • Fiesta Carnival, which runs daily throughout Fiesta, comes to life in a wash of dazzling lights, amusement-park rides, and Fiesta foods in this always thrilling fair. Admission is free. 5-11 pm in Alamodome parking lot C, 100 Montana St. 

June 18

  • Crown the King features the public crowning of 72nd Rey Feo Thomas Aguillon, as well as mariachi music, folklorico dancers, and the chance to hobnob with Fiesta royalty. Admission is free. 5:30-7 pm at the Main Plaza, 115 N. Main Ave.
  • Fiesta de los Reyes at Market Square, running through June 27, is a family-friendly event and one of the largest free Fiesta celebrations. It includes tons of live music, more than 30 food booths, an array of fun activities. Admission is free. 10 am-11:59 pm at Market Square, 514 W. Commerce St.

June 19

  • Juneteenth Festival includes free concerts, a flotilla fish fry, a health fair, kids’ activities, food booths, performances from gospel groups, and more. Admission is free. 11 am-11 pm at Comanche Park, 2600 Rigsby Ave.
  • Investiture of King Antonio includes the ceremonial crowning of the king with a plumed hat. Admission is free. 8-9 pm, Alamo Plaza, 300 Alamo Plaza.

June 21

  • Texas Cavaliers River Parade, a Fiesta tradition since 1941, features the best kind of local parade: one on the river! Tickets range from $14-$26. 7-9 pm at the San Antonio River Walk.

June 22

  • Ford Mariachi Festival features student mariachis from area high schools and local college mariachi programs, as well as folklorico dancers on river floats. Admission is free. 7:30-9:30 pm at the San Antonio River Walk.

June 25

  • 10th Street River Festival, hosted on the historic grounds of the VFW Post 76, includes live music, food nibbles, and cold drinks. Admission is free. Noon-11:59 pm at 10 10th St.

June 26

  • Fiesta Pooch Parade, a virtual parade featuring Therapy Animals of SA and a live costume contest, is about as cute as it gets. The parade starts at 10 am on Facebook live @therapyanimalssa, and the costume contest begins at noon at the North Park Subaru dealership, 9635 San Pedro Ave. 

June 27

  • La Reina de la Feria de las Flores Reception, which takes place on the final day of Fiesta, is a fundraiser for the queen and includes food, music, and the chance to meet the queen in person. GA tickets are $50 and VIP options are also available. 5-7 pm at Paesanos Riverwalk, 11 W. Crockett St.