Party time, excellent

Essential guide to parties, parades, and more during Fiesta San Antonio 2018

Essential guide to parties, parades and more during Fiesta San Antonio

Fiesta San Antonio
Fiesta is back — and it's bigger than ever.  Fiesta San Antonio/Facebook

The year-long Tricentennial celebration may be bringing worldwide attention to Alamo City, but Fiesta San Antonio still feels like the city's best-kept secret. Running April 19-29, Fiesta is once again filled with dozens of official (and unofficial) events ranging from colorful community parades to family-friendly parties to lavish foodie affairs. Whether you're in it for the medals or just the sense of community, here's where to party during the 11 days of Fiesta 2018.

Fiesta Fiesta — April 19
In the midst of Hemisfair's own 50th anniversary celebration, the former World's Fair site hosts Fiesta Fiesta, the kick off to Fiesta (did we mention this is at Fiesta?) on April 19. Enjoy live music, watch a dazzling fireworks display, and purchase Fiesta pins at Pin Pandemonium during this massive celebration. And for the Selena fans out there, her widower, Chris Perez, will take the stage Thursday afternoon to perform a set filled with the Tejano superstar's hits. Admission is free.

Taste of the Republic: A Texas Culinary Experience — April 19
San Antonio's top chefs including Jason Dady, Geronimo Lopez, Rudy Martinez, Damien Watel, and Lisa Watel take over Marriott Plaza downtown for this one-of-a-kind VIP experience. Attendees will embark on a culinary quest through North Texas, East Texas, South Texas, West Texas, Central Texas, and the Gulf Coast, tasting fare inspired by Texas' six "food regions." Tickets range from $75-100 and can be purchased here.

San Antonio Symphony presents Fiesta Pops — April 20-22
Y'all, thank goodness San Antonio Symphony is back. This year, the city's classical ensemble shines a spotlight on local musicians, dancers, and conductors during Fiesta. Over the weekend, enjoy performances by vocalist Sebastian de la Cruz, 12-piece mariachi band Campanas de America, and dance numbers from the Guadalupe Dance Company. Tickets range from a very reasonable $12.50 to $96 and can be purchased here.

Chaparral Music Festival — April 21
While most of Fiesta's activities and events are centered downtown, the first-ever Chaparral Music Festival brings the party to Northwest San Antonio. Enjoy performances from headliner Kyle Park, as well as George Navarro and Chris Saucedo Band. Picnic blankets are highly encouraged at this family-friendly event which also features food and beverages for purchase, lawn games, and more.

Fiesta's Masked Dance Dance Dance! Party — April 21
"Come as you are not" is the theme of this masquerade dance party hosted at Mission Marquee Plaza. Presented by stalwart San Antonio art collective URBAN-15, Dance Dance Dance! features live music by Los de Esta Noche and El Tallercito de Son, as well as a special costume contest. Admission is free.

Fiesta Art Fair — April 21-22
Southwest School of Art's annual fundraiser is back for its 45th year. Peruse contemporary art from more than 100 local and American artists while snacking on festival favorite fare like gorditas and roasted corn. While adults find the next addition to their art collection, youngsters can take part in the Young Artists Garden, which hosts creative activities and art projects throughout the weekend. Tickets for adults is $12 in advance, $15 at the door, and $5 for children. Proceeds go directly to Texas' only independent art college.

Texas Cavaliers River Parade — April 23
Would it be Fiesta San Antonio without the river parade? Sure, but it wouldn't nearly as fun. Since 1941 this celebration of all things Alamo City has taken over the San Antonio River for a day of fun and festivities. Watch as the brightly colored "floating gardens" drift across the water and listen as mariachi fills the air during this can't-miss affair. The parade begins at 7 pm and runs along this route. Tickets range from $14-26 and entry times are staggered to optimize views. 

Fiesta Especial Celebration Day — April 24
Hosted by disABILITYsa at the Alamodome, this Fiesta event is for San Antonians of all ages and abilities. Enjoy accessible rides, take part in a parade, or chow down on delicious fare at this inclusive party. Admission is free. 

Battle of the Flowers Parade — April 27
If only all battles were this beautiful. The oldest and largest Fiesta San Antonio parade, the Battle of the Flowers attracts more than 350,000 attendees and, fun fact, is run entirely by women. In honor of the Tricentennial, the theme for the 127th Battle of the Flowers parade is "300 Timeless Treasures." Like the river parade, entry times are staggered. Tickets range from $15-30, and can be purchased here

Festival De Cascarones — April 29
It's all led up to this. Say adios to Fiesta 2018 with a smashing good time on the Texas A&M University-San Antonio campus. Secondhand Serenade and Blue Water Highway provide the tunes as you celebrate with cascarones, games, and more at this all-ages events. Admission is free.