By Brian Jewell
Culinaria may be the most delicious special event to take place each year in San Antonio, but it is hardly the only significant one. Groups that enjoy festivals, parades and other celebrations can experience various elements of the city’s culture and history during special events that take place at various times throughout the year.
In January, San Antonio hosts the largest Martin Luther King Jr. Day march in the country, accompanied by a weeklong series of celebrations, speeches and events. February brings the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, a 20-day extravaganza of western traditions and activities. In addition to rodeo, the event features a carnival and headlining country music performers.
In March, Luminaria is San Antonio’s citywide celebration of arts and artists. San Antonio’s most iconic event, though, is Fiesta. This April celebration brings the city’s cultural heritage into the spotlight.
“It follows the anniversary of the battle of Alamo, and rolls into an 11-day celebration with over 100 events,” said Ronnie Price, associate executive director of the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It has history, and culinary experiences for all of the different heritages. The celebration has parades, carnivals, art fairs and concerts, and over 3.5 million people attend it.”
Fiesta’s festivities include Night in Old San Antonio, a four-night event in La Villita that highlights the area’s diversity with food and entertainment from 15 distinct ethnic groups. Groups that come to Fiesta should also plan to attend the River Parade. This nighttime event takes place downtown on the Riverwalk, the most beautiful part of San Antonio, and features music, food and elaborately decorated river floats.
“More than 30 floats come down the river, and people line the Riverwalk downtown to see them,” Price said. “It’s a major parade, like you would usually have on the street, but it takes place on the water. It’s the signature event of Fiesta.”