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, piƱatas 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. 

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