19 May 2017

Fiesta:Part Tres

Fiesta Part Tres
(No. 87: Go to Fiesta in San Antonio
(for Parts Uno and Dos go here and here.)

Saturday in San Antonio, after our full day Friday of judging and partying, was thankfully duty free.
Left to our own devices, Liddy and I grabbed another Uber and headed to the King William Fair.

A nineteenth century residential area located on the south side of the San Antonio River, the King William district is a feast of gorgeous old homes. The fair is the major fundraiser for the King William  Association, a non-profit organization whose goal is to preserve and protect the oldest historic district in Texas.

didn't get a lot of pics because a) it was crowded and b) it was hot.   When it's hot, I get cranky.  

Lots of people, lots of booths.

But we met up with Felicia and Tom from Thursday night and visited Felicia's sister's booth, the Champagne Mermaid. Sandi of Champagne Mermaid learned her jewelry skills at my old school, the Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende. I took that same silver working class but obviously did not get as much out of it. It is on my list though to refresh my silver soldering skills. (No.27: Jewelry making- refresh the silver soldering skills)

Then we moved on, walking the district and stopping occasionally to shop. My big purchase of the day (weekend) was a Mexican shirt. Haven't had one in ages and I was super happy with this one. 

Love all the embroidery

We wandered the streets admiring the  old houses until our stomachs started rumbling and I needed air conditioning. 

One of the gorgeous old houses. 
Wish we could have seen inside some of them. 

Another Uber ride (with, amazingly, the same driver who had brought us there) got me and Liddy back to the hotel and our cars. A quick drive down Broadway took us to an air conditioned, uncrowded Mexican restaurant where I'm pretty sure I downed a full gallon of iced tea. 

For Saturday night we were lucky enough to have the use of a house from a friend who happened to be out of town.  Right in Olmos Park, it was the perfect spot to rest and cool down. We finished up our evening with snackies at the Broadway 50 50, once again meeting up with Tom and Felicia and their family. What a welcoming group.  

The whole weekend was a blast.  I felt like we really got the feel of San Antonio and especially Fiesta. 

Again many many thanks to all of my friends who made it possible for us to experience this fabulous weekend. I am beyond blessed to have such wonderful, supportive friends. Y'all are the best!

And now I am packing and packing and purging and cleaning. Putting the house we've lived in for 17 years on the market. Do you know how much stuff a house accumulates in 17 years?? A LOT.

A surprise arrival from Florida of Belle and her little dog- for the summer- made my day but complicated my cleaning. I thought I was going to be able to store stuff in her empty room.  Wrong! And then last night Bunny got home with yet another car full of stuff. 

Carlos, Dakota and Belle. 
Dakota is a Tri-pawed dog. 
He's missing one of his front legs. 

And where are we moving to? Don't know yet. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. 

Definitely it will be an adventure. 

18 May 2017

Fiesta: Part Dos

Fiesta: Part Dos
(No. 87: Go to Fiesta in San Antonio)
( See Part Uno here.)

Friday dawned bright and early for me and Liddy...possibly a little too early after all of the margaritas and confetti of the evening before.

But we were up and dressed pronto because we had a job to do: JUDGING!

Second grade friend Melissa had invited me and a Plus One to judge the Battle of the Flowers Parade on the last Friday of Fiesta.  This is a big deal. The Battle of the Flowers Parade is the only parade in the United States produced entirely by women volunteers. Stop and think about that. Organized and planned and hosted by nothing but women. It's a BIG parade. And on parade day, all of these volunteers are out and about dressed in yellow. 

Ladies in yellow, waiting to get the parade started.

The first parade occurred in 1891 to commemorate the battle of the Alamo and the victory at San Jacinto.  The parade organization's goal now is to teach the history of the great state of Texas and help keep alive the many traditions of this state and the city of San Antonio.

All Liddy and I had to do was show up in time for a pre-parade picnic where we were to get our badges and where I got to see Melissa again for the first time since- I think- High School. Janelle and Madeleine, two other friends of Melissa's ( from elementary and college, respectively) joined us and we all sat together for the judging. 

Madeleine, Janelle, Melissa, Juli (our Amusements guide), Me and Liddy Beth

The judging stand was directly across the street from the Alamo; the picnic actually on the Alamo grounds. I am always amazed at how small the actual Alamo is. The history is palpable. 

Remember the Alamo!

Liddy and I were to judge the "Amusements" section of the parade. We were both a little confused as to what exactly "Amusements" were, but quickly got into the spirit of the day and judged away. Apologies to those in the category if you were unhappy with the results...it was difficult to judge entries that were so disparate. We had dancers, bicyclers, a Chinese dragon and a few other entries- no two were even remotely similar! 

Our official judging forms!

The parade was long and the weather was hot. Fortunately there were lovely women that brought us water bottles while we were judging.  About 3 hours and 213 (!) entries later, we were done. Floats, gorgeous dresses, a Queen, a Princess and numerous Duchesses, two Kings, our Mustang from the night before (with the actual Grand Marshal), bands and horses all had passed before us in a visual feast.

 Look at these dresses! 

In amazing dresses. 

 Chinese dragon float

 My friends, The Budweiser Clydesdales

 Nothing says Texas traditions like bagpipes. 

Charros- riding side saddle! 

Even Wells Fargo showed up.

BUT! Our day was not done!

After a quick walk back to our hotel (again, thanks to Liddy's husband for booking us into La Mansion del Rio...so convenient to the parade and to both of them for treating me to the room)  and much needed showers, we were off again.
This time dressed in formal wear!!!

We met Melissa and her amazingly patient and sweet husband, Bob, along with Janelle and Madeleine, all at a gorgeous garden party at a private home in Terrell Hills.  (Terrell Hills along with Olmos Park and Alamo Heights are three tiny cities within San Antonio.)  Gorgeous dresses, men in tuxedos, ancient oak trees dripping with decorations and waiters passing hor's deouvres started our evening.

We clean up nice I think. 

A gorgeous yard, gorgeous house, wonderful party.
Love the streamers hanging from the trees.

(O! And I got to experience my first Uber ride!  Not on the list but probably should have been.)

 Between Party One and Dinner, look where we stopped!

Our gracious
hosts for the evening, Bob and Melissa.

Next up was dinner at the Argyle, a private club with a purpose, for our little group of six. Club membership helps support the Texas Biomedical Research Institute. The air conditioning was a nice break. 

Happily fed, we were off to our next stop, the San Antonio Country Club for another garden party. We arrived a little later than we expected but still found the party going full blast. We were greeted by the Queen and Princess of Fiesta's dress trains...gorgeous works of art that can take up to six months to create. More beautiful women in long dresses, dashing men in tuxedos, piñatas hanging from the giant oaks plus a dance floor packed to the brim and a live band backing it all up made for one grand party. Amazingly I did not see one dress repeat the entire night and the first party had about 250 attendees while the second was closer to 1000.

The Queen's train...
(The Order of the Alamo is responsible for choosing the Queen,etc.)

and the Princess's
(a bit of history on the Queen's dress here)

At midnight, the party was over, our chariot awaited us and Liddy and I were driven exhausted but happy back to the hotel. The whole evening (Hell! The WHOLE DAY!) was such an experience. It was a treat to see the people behind Fiesta exhibiting so much tradition and pride in their city and in this unique celebration. The parties weren't too bad, either!

We had one more day in San Antonio and I'll share that next.    Hopefully quicker than I got this post done.  I am in the throes of moving and Man! the house is a mess. I can barely get into the office to reach my computer. Patience with me please. 

09 May 2017


(No. 87) 



  1. (in Spanish-speaking regions) a religious festival

    • an event marked by festivities or celebration.

O my.
What can I say?
I went to Fiesta in San Antonio over the weekend.

The Official Fiesta Poster-2017

It was marvelous.

First I'd like to talk about anticipation. How delicious it is to look forward to something, plan and prepare and then actually experience whatever it is you were anticipating.
Think back to High School and that first date with the guy/girl you had a crush on forever that finally came to their senses and asked you out. The plotting...what do I wear? Where are we going? What are they going to be like one on one?

As an adult, you don't get much of that.  Maybe when you have a baby, although knowing the gender beforehand takes some of the suspense out of that these days.  Christmas is fun but usually the anticipation is not there because...hello...as an adult you are the one doing the shopping and planning.

So I had been anticipating this trip to San Antonio for Fiesta for a few months. The build up was fun. I had to find a formal dress! Find a place to stay! Find someone to go with me!

And how did this trip even come about? I mentioned to a friend in San Antonio last year, after seeing her Fiesta pics, how I have always wanted to go but forget every year until it is too late.   That sweet friend just happens to be on one of the big parade volunteer committees and she came up with a plan.   Invite me to help judge the parade and then I will have to come.

This sweet friend, Melissa, was my BFF in first and second grade when I briefly lived in San Antonio. We had not seen each other in 40 years. But through the magic of Facebook, we had reconnected.  O! And she has a daughter named after my daughter. Isn't that a fun connection?

Woodridge Elementary
First grade? Second? 
Melissa is on the bottom row third from the left,
I'm bottom row, third from the right.
(I'm digging the kid's boots next to me.)

So I grabbed my other friend Liddy as my Plus One and off we went. A special shout out to her husband that loves to find hotel rooms as he managed to get us a lovely room at my most favorite hotel, La Mansion del Rio. Right on the Riverwalk, it was the perfect location for our weekend.

Our first night was free so Liddy called another friend and somehow we were off to a party. A big party. A Cascarones Party. With live music and dancing in the grass and a THOUSAND cascarones and enchiladas a la plancha.  We arrived in style, sneaking the Parade Grand Marshall's Mustang out for a quick run through the neighborhood. No, we weren't supposed to be in it. We definitely were not supposed to be leaving confetti all over it. But. Things happen.

Felicia, Liddy, Me
The Grand Marshall's Mustang
(Shhhh. Don't tell.)

 On the way we HAD to stop at this corner house's display for a photo op. Isn't that nice? The homeowner decorates for every holiday so people make it a tradition to stop and have their pic taken.

New friends!
El Rey Feo, Pascal, Me, Tom, King Antonio
Liddy and Felicia 
Isn't it nice that this corner is decorated for the all the holidays? 

Liddy and I feeling frisky and it's just the beginning of the night. 

The party itself was big and loud with interesting people and good music and plenty of margaritas. Just like a party should be. Not knowing anyone going in, Liddy and I both found connections through out the night. Person A knew Person B. Person B knew Person C. There was a house in San Miguel. A friend of a friend. It was fun finding the common grounds.

The next morning I woke up with confetti in my bed. I'm pretty sure that's a sign of a good night.

And we hadn't even gotten to the Fiesta part yet.

Stay tuned for the rest of the story weekend.....