San Antonio’s annual Fiesta gathering is more than just an excuse to party…It’s Fiesta’s sense of community that locals cherish as much as the Mexican historical significance behind it. But, last year in 2020, Fiesta was canceled in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Typically full of very joyous announcements and anticipatory preparations, the streets of San Antonio simply weren’t the same. Something was notably absent from the city’s vibrant spirit. Fast forward to 2021, and Americans everywhere are starting to mingle much more freely at social gatherings in the wake of increasing COVID-19 vaccine rates. (And frankly, many folks were tired of canceled events and staying at home for a year.)
Fiesta returned fiercely. Ready to celebrate like old times, excited throngs of San Antonians showed up, breathing life back into their city and traditions. Even a global pandemic couldn’t shut down Fiesta for another year. The best part is that we were able to join in! Our love for San Antonio, the culture, and the community will never waver. So, naturally, we came bearing new pins, wide smiles, and even wider hats for a city we love.
Kayla's Take on Fiesta 2021
Never one to miss Fiesta, here’s what stood out to our city Market Manager and San Antonio native, Kayla Morales, as she served up pins and Good People, Great Movers vibes with the community.
So, what’s the deal with Fiesta?! Sure, 2020’s event was canceled, but why are San Antonians usually so excited about it?
For me, it’s about the food and community coming together to teach different cultures and traditions. There are so many beautiful bright colors and DIY [do-it-yourself] ideas that everyone comes up with that really drive the people to come out and have fun!
Ok, so what’s with those medals and huge DIY hats (er, sombreros)?
Ahh yes… The hats and medals have been a tradition for as long as I can remember and I am 30 years old! People take a lot of pride in their hats and [the] medals they create on their own or buy to wear out during the whole week of fiesta. These medals can represent the businesses around the city, helping out a family fund their families cancer fund, or sharing our love for certain things around the city like the Spurs, Missions, or any other favorite major league, high school, or college sports teams. Same with the hats as well. But, you tend to see more Fiesta-oriented hats with bright colors, flowers, or the famous tagline, ‘Show me your shoe!’
How do you decide what to do each year for the medals?
When you are making your design, the more unique the pins are, the better. That’s how you bring people to the booth or business to buy them.
What’s your favorite thing you look forward to at Fiesta?
The food and parade. This year there was no parade, but during Pin Pandemonium the community did put on a small parade and this was so refreshing since we missed out in 2020.
You never really know how much Fiesta really does help the community and people, but it really does.
As I said, culture is a big part of San Antonio and for people to be able to showcase theirs and educate people on their culture it can make a difference.
How do you and the team prepare for the day of Fiesta?
Ahead of time, the Fiesta Commission will reach out and let us know the dates of the event. Then, we have to make sure we have our medals designed and ready to go. We make sure all the marketing materials are in and that we have food and snacks for the workers and attendees.
What did you notice was different about this year’s Fiesta from previous events?
This year it was smaller than previous years. Not as many vendors were participating and there were a lot of empty tables. Traffic started to pick up toward the end of the night rather than the beginning. Also, this usually takes place in late April which is cooler than June. With the heat, not many people wanted to be out there early. For the people who did show up, including the vendors with their medals, we had some common ground. Everyone who was in attendance was still dealing [with] COVID.
We know how much the demographics of San Antonio are growing from an influx of Americans leaving other states. Do you think Fiesta is still significant as the population changes to include more non-Texans?
Fiesta is a celebration of the Hispanic culture. The city itself comes together to celebrate and participate in Fiesta. There are many different attractions to be a part of such as the Pin Pandemonium, Battle of Flowers Parade, and NIOSA (Night Out in Old San Antonio).
Many different ethnicities and cultures come to celebrate with us. It is a very inviting event for all of San Antonio’s citizens and non-citizens. As the city grows outward and becomes more culturally diverse, I don’t think there will be a decline in Fiesta but rather an increase in events throughout the city rather than just in the downtown area.
Are you excited for Fiesta 2022? We’re definitely looking forward to it! We also can’t wait to implement Kayla’s creative ideas to reach out to the San Antonio community for next year!
Fiesta will take place from March 31-April 10, 2022. Hope to see you there!