Best and brightest events to celebrate Fiesta San Antonio's springtime return
Alamo City's favorite party kicks off Thursday, March 31 with many days of celebrations to follow. After the beloved festival was canceled due to COVID-19 shutdowns in 2020 and delayed in 2021, the colorful cultural tradition returns to its spring runtime with more food, music, and entertainment than ever before.
And while you can hardly walk around San Antonio this time of year without bumping into a Fiesta-related event, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorites to put on your radar.
Opening Ceremony, March 31
Taking place at Hemisfair Park, Fiesta Fiesta celebrates the official Opening Ceremony of Fiesta, where guests can enjoy food and beverage, live entertainment, a parade, military salute, and a fireworks finale. Head to fiestasanantonio.org for a full list of food vendors, event map, parade times, and music lineup.
Taste of the Republic, March 31
The fifth annual Taste of the Republic event helps kick off Fiesta 2022 by highlighting the cuisine of Texas. Located at The Good Kind on 1127 S. St Mary’s St., the culinary event runs from 5-9 pm. More details and tickets are available at tasteoftherepublic.com.
A Day in Old Mexico and Charreada, April 3
Celebrating the customs and family traditions of Mexican horsemanship, this family-friendly event features food vendors, ballet folklorico performances, and live mariachi music during the season opening of our charreada — Mexico’s official sport predating and inspiring the American rodeo. San Antonio boasts the oldest Charro association in the United States: established in 1947, the Asociación de Charros de San Antonios aims to preserve the skill of charreria and educate future generations to come. Tickets are $20 and will be available to purchase on the day of the event, which will take place at Rancho del Charro (6126 Padre Dr.).
Tobin Center, April 4
The Tobin Center will host a Texas Cavaliers Fiesta River Parade Party at 6 pm on Monday, April 4, at the Will Naylor Smith Riverwalk Plaza. Limited $20 parking is available for advance at the tobincenter.org.
Hotel Contessa, April 4
Another hotel with special Fiesta programming, Hotel Contessa is offering river parade tickets and dinner tickets, free live music, specialty cocktails, and more. In addition to tickets for three different viewing areas at the hotel for the Texas Cavaliers River Parade, the hotel will host a special pre-fixe dinner beginning at 7 pm. Featuring a three-course dinner and a carafe of cucumber margarita, tickets for the dinner are $150 per person and include direct access to the parade, plus gratuity, tax, and valet parking. The hotel will also be selling its Fiesta medals for $10 at Ambler Texas Kitchen + Cocktails while inventory is available.
The Ford Mariachi Festival
This free, three-day event takes place along the River Walk and features mariachi bands and folklorico dancers from local schools. The tradition began in 1972 and is one of the best ways to enjoy festival entertainment from the comfort of a patio chair, margarita in hand, at one of the River Walk’s many restaurants. Between 6-9 pm every day, boats carrying performers regularly stop along the route, each wearing traditional mariachi and folklorico costumes. Head to thesanantonioriverwalk.com for more info.
A Night in Old San Antonio (NIOSA), April 5-8
This four-night festival in the heart of downtown celebrates San Antonio’s diverse cultural legacy for more than 85,000 revelers annually. Sponsored by and benefiting The Conservation Society of San Antonio, this year’s event will be the 73rd NIOSA presentation. The event, which started in 1936 as a harvest festival on the grounds of Mission San Jose, is now the top fundraiser for preservation in the country with over 155 booths featuring food, drink, decorations, souvenirs, and live entertainment. Head to niosa.org for tickets and more information on each of the event’s 14 culturally themed areas.
Hotel Havana, April 6
While the official Fiesta 2022 medals are available at venues around San Antonio, Hotel Havana will host its own Fiesta Medal Release Party in the hotel bar from 5-10 pm on Wednesday, April 6. The Havana Bar will have tiki drinks from Denim and Leather, music by DJ Heavy Medals, and its 2022 medal for sale for $12.
The Battle of the Flowers Parade, April 8
Known as the founding event of Fiesta San Antonio, the first Battle of Flowers Parade started it all in 1891. The parade began as a patriotic celebration to honor the heroes of the Alamo, Goliad, and the Battle of San Jacinto, and today attracts crowds of more than 550,000. It's also the only parade in the U.S. produced entirely by women. For a full parade route and tickets, head to battleofflowers.org.
Fiesta Flambeau Parade, April 9
One of the festival highlights every year is the illuminated Fiesta Flambeau Parade, which attracts over 750,000 street spectators. Celebrating its 74th year, this year’s parade features The University of Texas Longhorn Band, followed by spectacular floats, marching units, dance groups, and other attractions for a night to remember. The 2022 Fiesta Flambeau Parade theme is “Celebrating Literary Classics,” and both seating information and tickets can be found at flambeau.org.