San Antonio's biggest festival, Fiesta, wrapped on Sunday, April 10, after a two-year hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic. The founding event for the 10-day festival is the Battle of Flowers Parade — one of the oldest parades in the United States. While the origins started in 1891 to honor those who fought in the Battles of San Jacinto, Alamo, and Goliad for the independence of Texas as a republic, the current-day celebration brings all of the city's cultures together for a festive explosion of hometown pride during the spring season.
Crowds of up to 550,000 people gather along the 2.6-mile route to watch nearly 200 groups pass by representing every corner of Texas's second-largest city. Many San Antonio natives have grown up with the parade, and it remains a tradition for families across the city. "Every year, my dad buys a cluster of tickets for us in the stands so we can watch from on high and be mesmerized by the incredible gowns that drive past us on their flowered up floats," Darlene Fiske, a San Antonio native and owner of a luxury travel PR firm based in Austin, told Travel + Leisure. "I don't know that much has changed through the years — the pomp and glory of the marching bands, the cheerful waves of the dignitaries as they drive by in their old-time vehicles, and of course the bejeweled, intricate gowns of the court — I'm still in as much wonder and awe as I was when I was 12. And if there is one thing that is constant in this world, it's the women in yellow... they are a warm welcome and a great reminder of what a community of women can do when they come together."
From the women who work for months to create the flower-filled floats to the aforementioned women in yellow checking every small detail and ensuring an enjoyable parade for thousands, the Battle of Flowers Parade is one of the longest and largest parades in the U.S. and the only parade produced entirely by female volunteers. Originally inspired by the flower parades of Spain, the founding gals of the Battle of Flowers parade would throw flowers from their carriages. Today, crowds throw confetti and cascarones (hollowed-out eggs filled with confetti) onto the parading groups.
They say San Antonio is the city that knows how to party, and for 10 days during Fiesta, you can get the full experience of San Antonio's many cultures. With countless events happening across the city and raising money for non-profit organizations, Fiesta is a celebration that honors the past, present, and future of Texas.
Inspired to visit San Antonio for Fiesta next year? The 2023 event will take place from April 20-30. The Battle of Flowers parade will be Friday, April 28, 2023