Saturday, April 2, 2011

Passport to Fiesta ...

Eleven days, over 100 events, more than 3.5 million people, one really BIG party. I'm talking about the Fiesta celebration held in San Antonio, Texas each April since 1891. This year it all gets underway April 7-17.

America's seventh largest city annually commemorates its heroes and cultural diversity with parades, balls, coronations, carnivals, parties, concerts and arts' fairs, all hosted by a variety of non-profit organizations.

I generally tell newbies to think of New Orleans' Mardi Gras, but add more events, more days, more venues, more people, keep your clothes on, and expect to see less public displays of excess intoxication and more family-friendly things to see and do.

Photo via Fiesta San Antonio Commission.

The Fiesta San Antonio Commission is the umbrella organization that provides support to each of its non-profit member organizations and assists event-goers with tickets and information. 

There are too many individual events to even begin to list, so I'll suggest that you visit the official Fiesta website to plan your itinerary of fun.

Chances are you will have a cascarone crushed over your head at any Fiesta event. Not to worry. This ceremonial fun is dates back to the mid-1800s when the people of Mexico filled the 'cascara' (meaning shell in Spanish) with confetti. Throughout Texas and the American Southwest, cascarones are used in celebration. Breaking a confetti-filled egg over one's head is thought to bring good luck and good fortune to the recipient.

Just remember, every celebration deserves great headwear! From floral combs and sweet 'coronas' (floral crowns) embellished with paper flowers and ribbon, to bejeweled tiaras and silly hats, Fiesta is time to bring out the flamboyant finery and have the time of your life.

While we plan what silliness to wear, we San Antonio natives also bring the Fiesta spirit home, too. Front doors are generally wearing their finest Fiesta wreaths.


Whether you choose to make your own wreath (use a grapevine or straw wreath and get busy with a glue gun) or buy one like the one I purchased (above, left) from Village Weavers, it's all about vivid colors, flowers, ribbons and ornamentation. Mine weighed so much that it actually stretched from its round shape to an egg-like oval. Ha!

Add some painted tin ornaments, cascarones, mini sombreros, maracas, etc., you name it. You can see how 'more is more' in the decadent little number at left, created by Arlene's Nook with lux ribbons and trinkets.

Personally, I believe plastic and silk flowers are sacrilegious. So, I learned to master the Mexican art of paper flower-making. Whenever, the need arises for Fiesta flowers, I pullout tissue paper, scissors and some wire to create handcrafted blooms. (There are dozens of tutorials on the web, if you'd like to give them a try.)

Viva Fiesta!