FIESTA 2010: Wrap-up

Fiesta. In San Antonio, people take off the week of Fiesta and an eye isn’t batted. Businesses close down on Fiesta Friday, the last weekday of the event – generally either because they are on a parade route or can’t access their business because of it, or because they know that their employees aren’t going to show up anyway. It’s kind of a big deal. For the last few years, the only Fiesta event I’ve attended with regularity is NIOSA, which has become the cornerstone event of the whole shebang. This year, I decided to hit it, and hit it hard. Here’s what I thought…

April 16, Friday: Alamo Heights Night. The first event in a string of them, and my first time to this specific event. The food and drinks were all overpriced, but that is to be expected. I wasn’t too fond of the food selection. While I did eat a few great things (fried mushrooms, some sort of Nutella torte), I was sad that most of the food was from restaurants. Chili’s was one of the restaurants with a booth… and while I’ll reluctantly lunch there occasionally, I wasn’t too thrilled about spending $7 in tickets for food that I could get for $4 at the restaurant. The atmosphere reminded me of a high school carnival, and I half expected somebody to run through letting me know that Rizzo was in fact, not pregnant. There was more standing and mingling than the constant walking of other fiesta events, and I ran into several people I knew. Also, we made friends with the KZEP guys who loaded us up with swag when we played cornhole at their booth. B

April 17, Saturday: Oyster Bake. Saturday was different because the weather that had been threatening San Antonio finally hit. Thankfully, I had been to the shoe store a few days prior and picked up a pair of rain boots (I became aware of just how important rain boots were when I didn’t have a pair on at ACL last year). So, with my cute rain boots on, we headed to St Mary’s University. There weren’t that many people there since it was raining. Honestly, the weather was pretty awful for the first few hours we were there, but the lack of food/bev lines made up for it. We were also able to hit up the booths for swag, and it’s safe to say that I’m stocked up on coozies and auto-parts notepads for a few years. Standard fiesta food (fried, on sticks, overpriced). Since it was Oyster Bake, we did eat some fried oysters, which were great. My favorite part was walking through the mud instead of around it. We also found our KZEP friends again, who were shilling for a different radio station that day, but still gave us tons of swag. New friends also included the girls at the MGD truck, who seemed to be handing out unlimited shot-sized cups of MGD64, and not caring if you went back for refills. We stood next to them for a while and were refilled several times. Power hour came to mind, although I’m not sure the heat/humidity would have accomodated that many tiny beers in my body. B

April 18, Sunday: Taste of New Orleans. This was also a new event for me to attend. It was at the Sunken Gardens Ampitheater, put on by the San Antonio Zulu Association. Good thing we all had internet phones, since soon after we got there we had to google “wtf is a zulu.”
We got there early (with rain boots on, just in case) and the crowds weren’t so bad. Fiesta-fare was switched up a little bit, as there was a creole twist to it all. Jambalaya, fried gator, and shrimp po-boys were on the menu this time. I also found a booth that sold Modelo Especial… which was ultimately my undoing. I think I had 5-6 beers which, paired with the sun that decided to show up that day and my dehydration from the 2 previous days, turned out a pretty nice daytime drunk. Several bands played the main stage with zydeco and jazz flavors, and it was nice to sit in the ampitheater and just hang out. It was a good, restful fiesta event. A

April 19, Monday: NAPTIME. Day off. I was planning on going to a river parade, but opted to do nothing instead. This required no tickets, but I also added nothing to my souvenir cup-stack that day. A++

April 20, Tuesday: NIOSA, shift 1. We were supposed to work the 6:30-8:30 shift at the sausage on a stick booth. Arrived late due to poor planning and lack of available parking downtown at approx 6:50 and was told that the shifts were overbooked. We ended up working for only about 30 minutes (SAUSAGE, COME GET YOUR HOT SAUSAGE HERE), which was just fine. We spent the rest of the time in the Froggy Bottom area watching and dancing to the old man band that calls themselves the Grateful Geezers. They. Are. Great. I danced my first Cupid Shuffle that night when they sang it, and it was great. I like dancing when the directions to it are in the song. B+

April 21, Wednesday: Cornyation. First time to Cornyation. It’s a drag show making fun of the official Fiesta Coronation, hosted at the Empire Theater. I was pumped because I *do* love my gays… and so of course I sat next to some straight lady. Figures. First half of the show was mediocre and seemed like a high school talent show. The skits weren’t put together well, weren’t that funny. The ballet performance wasn’t well-practiced or synchronized. There were good intentions, but I was expecting more. The second half of the show was much better, with skits on dead celebrities and eating babies. Now that’s the kind of entertainment I can really get behind. B-

April 22, Thursday: The SA Current’s Best of SA Party. I flippin love the Current. Our little weekly indie paper is a great read, and somehow manages to throw the most amazing parties and events. This was my third time to the BoSA party. I had my regular crew of people-who-count-on-me-to-tell-them-which-parties-to-attend (you know who you are, bitches). When we arrived to the Witte Museum at about 7:15 (party started at 7), I was surprised to see the line to get in which wrapped around the front of the building. Holy shit. So, we spent the next 45 minutes hanging out in line, which is among one of my favorite things to do (no it’s not). Once we got in, the lines were long and the previous week’s rain was causing my cute heels to sink into the mud. Now, the food/entry/drinks were all free, so I don’t hold any ire towards the Current for bad planning or the like. Maybe there were too many people there this year, but that’s to be expected, as it’s an amazing party that everyone wants to go to. Regardless of spending half my time there waiting in lines, I still had a great time listening to music and watching the fire dancer and bands that played. The Witte was a beautiful venue, I talked to a few beautiful dudes, and had a great time with those people-who-count-on-me-to-tell-them-which-parties-to-attend. I’m hoping that the Current will be able to streamline the event a little bit to accomodate the growing number of people. Even at capacity, it was a great place to be that night. A

April 23, Friday: NIOSA, shift 2. NIOSA again. This time, we worked longer than before and afterwards made our way around the grounds to find which food we needed to eat (antichuchos, chicken on a stick, escargot). I had a near panic-attack for whatever reason and was NOT in a good place in the middle of all those people. Once we left and I was in open air again, I was fine. That kind of thing has only happened to me once before, at a Ross after Christmas one year. There, there were less drunk sweaty people but more Mexican nationals and their 700 crazy rabid children. C

April 24, Saturday: King William Fair. Friday night, the heavens opened and there was a torrential rain, harder than I’d seen in a while. That night as I laid in bed, I hoped that the rain would continue and I would “have” to skip KWF, as by this point (or at any point in probably the previous 4 days), I was straight-up fiesta’d out. The next morning, I woke up and the weather was PERFECT. Reluctantly, I got dressed and by the time Preeya and I were on our way downtown, I was excited to be going to King William Fair. There was a lot of sitting in the shade and eating, which was great. I opted to skip beer that day, as I was pretty sure my liver would burst through my stomach and run far far away from my unhealthy habits. I bought 2 new necklaces from a local artist, and took business cards from other local jewlery makers. Later, we watched a band that friend Chuck was playing with, Marcos Rubio and the Gospel Choir of Pillows. It was a great way to wrap up the fiesta week – very low key, and perfect. Slight sunburn on my shoulders, but I probably needed the color anyway. A

SO, next year I need to attend Taste of NO and KWF. While I would say that I only need to attend those because they were my favorites, I’d be lying… I know I’ll attend more than I need to, want to, or can afford. It just happens that way.

Viva fiesta.