Fiesta for Kids: A Guide to Celebrating San Antonio!

fiesta for kids

This year is the 125th Anniversary of Fiesta® San Antonio. Locals and tourists can celebrate April 14–24 all around town!

I tell you what, folks, Fiesta can be just as much fun as it is overwhelming at times. Whether Fiesta is new or old hat for you, the event calendar alone can make you wonder where to begin. This list is not meant to overwhelm. Plus, if you’re like me, you don’t want to break the bank on all the food and festivities. Lots of the events listed below are free, or else you can find ways to enjoy them at less cost.

Hands down, a couple of family favorites are the Fiesta Arts Fair at the Southwest School of Art and the King William Fair in the historic Southtown neighborhood. Beautiful settings, creative kids’ activities, amazing art, and a great sampling of regional music at both events.

And then there’s the parades. Three of them. Take your pick. Do you want daytime street fare, river barge caravan, or nighttime revelry? Scroll down to find the list of parades after the calendar listings. Check out this video, Fiesta Parades in San Antonio, from the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau to get a glimpse of the sights and sounds you can expect. Also, if you really want to see the parades but you’re not too crazy about the tickets prices or the crowds, there are ways to see the parades for free. Take your own lawn chairs and coolers and sit behind the ticketed areas. Or, you could stay in the comfort of your own home and watch them on ABC affiliate KSAT-12.

Finally, a few more helpful tips:

  • Tickets for many Fiesta events, including the parades, can be purchased at The Fiesta Store® on Broadway.
  • Don’t forget: thanks to Fiesta—erthe Battle of San Jacinto—most kids have a school holiday on Friday, April 22.
  • Make transportation and parking a little easier by using VIA Park & Ride. Check the website for schedules.
  • For the full Fiesta schedule and all the details, visit the official site.

¡Viva Fiesta, y’all!

Friday, April 15

Alamo Heights Night, 5:30–11:30 P.M. at University of the Incarnate Word—Activities will highlight food from some of San Antonio’s leading restaurants and caterers. This family-friendly atmosphere delivers live entertainment/music and carnival midway with activities such as laser tag, rock climbing, hamster balls, slides, rides, face/hair painting and more. Admission is $12 for adults and $5 for ages 12–17; active duty military and children under 12 get in free.

April 15–17

Fiesta Pops at the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts—Featuring the music, dance, and culture of Mexico and Latin America with local talents. Enjoy the beautiful sounds of Campanas de America and a colorful corps of dancers with the Guadalupe Dance Company. Adult admission is $25, and there is a 20% discount for attendees under 18.

Saturday, April 16

12th Annual Walk for Autism, 7:00 A.M.–2:00 P.M. at Helotes Cornyval Grounds–Two-mile walk and Superhero 5K for the entire family. Over 100 health & wellness organizations will be on site. Gates open at 7:00 A.M., and the race begins at 9:00 A.M. Walk registration: $15. Kids under 10 are free. Superhero 5K: $20.

Earth Day, 9:00 A.M.–2:00 P.M. at Woodlawn Lake—Event kicks off with a 5K run. The rest of the day features live music and dancing, educational booths, vegetarian food and drink options, t-shirt giveaways, tree giveaways, information on preservation of community resources (energy saving tips, water saving advice, proper recycling, planting procedures for our climate and more), animal adoption/rescue, and promotion of mass transportation options. FREE.

¡Viva Botánica!, 9:00 A.M.–3:00 P.M. at San Antonio Botanical Garden—¡Viva Botanica! is a family Fiesta event celebrating the world of plants. See the beautiful Botanical Garden at the height of spring, with fun Fiesta-themed activities for the kids. Shop for San Antonio-friendly plants at the plant sale. Admission is $10 for adults and $7 for children.

Celebrations of Traditions Pow Wow, 10:00 A.M.–4:00 P.M. at Woodlawn Gymnasium—Individuals and families have the opportunity to view and participate in the American Indian culture and traditions of dance and music at an official Native American pow wow. The pow wow promotes tribal traditions, culture, and the opportunity for Native people to gather in celebrating their rich heritage with one another. FREE.

Fiesta de los Niños, 10:00 A.M.–6:00 P.M. at Port San Antonio—This is a party for the “pint-sized folks.” Children enjoy games and rides in a safe, alcohol-free environment. The parents enjoy music and dance performed by some of San Antonio’s finest entertainers, plenty of food booths, and the Sombrero Loco parade at noon—a kids’ parade that winds its way through Port San Antonio. FREE.

Piñatas in the Barrio, 12:00–10:00 P.M. at Plaza Guadalupe–Event features live entertainment, delicious food and fun for the whole family, plus the unveiling of the “Barrio’s Largest Pinata,” San Antonio’s record size piñata. FREE.

April 16–17

Fiesta Arts Fair at Southwest School of Art—Art lovers and collectors have an opportunity to purchase high quality contemporary and traditional art and craft from approximately 115 artists exhibitors. Plus enjoy live regional music, Fiesta foods and beverages, and a hands-on children’s art area—all in a beautiful setting the picturesque and historic grounds of the Southwest School of Art. Admission is $16 for a weekend pass; $10 daily for adults; $5 daily for children ages 5–12, and free for children under 5 accompanied by adults.

Sunday, April 17

Fiesta de la Familia, 11:00 A.M.–8:00 P.M. at St. Gregory Catholic Church—This is a family-oriented Fiesta event with no entry fee, food, beverages, games, live/silent auction, and music for your enjoyment. FREE.

Deco District Arts & Music Festival, 12:00–8:00 P.M. at the Historic Deco District—This outdoor boutique music and arts festival offers dozens of performances by musicians of all ages, street vendors, diverse food/drink menu, and community spirit. One stage is dedicated to Network for Young Artists and youth centric organizations. FREE.

A Day in Old Mexico & Charreada, 1:00–6:00 P.M. at Charro Ranch—Explore the distinctive culture that upholds deep-rooted customs, tradition, and family as a way of life. Enjoy the live horse competition, Mariachi music, and ballet folklorico dancing. The 2016 Rey Feo LXVIII will be honored on April 17. Gates open at 1:00 P.M.; Charreada begins at 3:00 P.M. Adult admission is $15 and child admission (ages 6–12) is $5.

Tuesday, April 19

Children’s Texas History Forum, 9:00 A.M.–12:00 P.M. at Casa Navarro—Held at the home of Jose Antonio Navarro, truest of all Texans. Born in San Antonio, he was a statesman, revolutionary, politician, rancher, and merchant. Discussions of frontier life and Texas history will be presented in a manner that is both educational and entertaining. Targeted audience is 4th and 7th grade students. Event is free but registration is required. City parking is available across the street. For reservations or additional information contact (210) 736-2344 or [email protected]

April 19-21

Mariachi Festival, 7:00–10:00 P.M. at the San Antonio River Walk—On April 19 only, the event will begin at 6:00 P.M. for a kick-off at the Rivercenter Lagoon. It will include the premier mariachi, Campanas de America. Additional top Latin entertainers to perform include Grammy Award winning Little Joe Hernandez, and 13-year old sensation Isabelle Marie Sanchez. Throughout the festival, local middle and high school Mariachi students perform on floating barges entertaining visitors to the River Walk. FREE.

Thursday, April 21

Family Fiesta, 5:00–9:00 P.M. at Colonial Hills United Methodist Church—Fun for kids of all ages in an alcohol and smoke-free environment. Providing laughter and excitement for over 25 years and featuring food, inflatables, train ride, petting zoo, pony rides, face painting, balloon clown, cascarones, regalia, and games for all ages. An entertainment stage provides shows with puppets, cloggers, mariachis, and contemporary Christian music praise bands. FREE.

Battle of Flowers Band Festival, 6:30–9:00 P.M. at Alamo Stadium—Features “grandstand” performances by 30 different area high school bands being judged on marching, musicality, and crowd appeal. Winners of the band festival will be announced. Finally, more than 4,500 musicians will join together on the field to conclude the evening with a series of songs celebrating “Texas Traditions…125 Years!” in tandem with a spectacular fireworks finale. General admission is $5, and reserved seating is available for $9.

Saturday, April 23

King William Fair, 9:00 A.M.–6:00 P.M. at King William Historic District—Family fair with art and craft vendors, live music and dance on four stages, food and beverage booths, a Kids Kingdom play area, and a small but quirky parade, all on the streets of the historic district with its stately homes and gracious gardens. No coolers allowed. Admission $10 for adults. Children 12 and under free.

United Way Kids Festival, 11:00 A.M.–3:00 P.M. at Lockwood Park—Free, community event for families. More than 65 booths (non-profits, school districts, and city services) will provide information, activities, and entertainment focusing on the celebration and promotion of early childhood development. There will be a variety of activities for children of all ages. Plus, Showmobile stage hosting numerous entertainment acts along with mascot characters. FREE.

Sunday, April 24

A Day in Old Mexico & Charreada, 1:00–6:00 P.M. at Charro Ranch—Explore the distinctive culture that upholds deep-rooted customs, tradition, and family as a way of life. Enjoy the live horse competition, Mariachi music, and ballet folklorico dancing. King Antonio XCIV will be honored on April 24. Gates open at 1:00 P.M.; Charreada begins at 3:00 P.M. Adult admission is $15 and child admission (ages 6–12) is $5.

Family Funday Sunday, 1:00–5:00 P.M. at Tom C. Clark High School—Young and old alike will delight in the fun and frolic of this family oriented celebration. After the short parade led by the Clark marching band, enjoy food and fun in the school’s courtyard. Plus, place your silent bids on a wide selection of auction items from gift certificates to crafts to much more. FREE.

PARADES, and more Parades!

Monday, April 18

Texas Cavaliers River Parade, 7:00–10:00 P.M. at the San Antonio River Walk—This year’s parade, entitled “River of Champions,” promises an evening of family fun with live music, celebrities, and lights. More than 40 festively decorated floats sponsored by local community organizations and military installations drift down the river. Purchase tickets in advance online or at the Fiesta Store. Admission is $12–$25.

Friday, April 22

Battle of Flowers Parade, 12:20–4:00 P.M. at Downtown Parade Route—This year’s theme: “TEXAS TRADITIONS…125 YEARS!” The parade will embody the handing down of culture, pastimes, and humor that have been characteristic of Texans from one generation to the next. Participants and spectators will revel as homage is paid to the people, places, and events that have made the Lone Star State the iconic country of tall tales and time-honored traditions known throughout the world. Purchase tickets in advance. Admission is $12–$25.

Saturday, April 23

Fiesta Flambeau® Parade, 6:30–10:00 P.M. at Downtown Parade Route—Viewed by approximately 700,000 people in the streets of downtown San Antonio and 1.5 million on television. This year’s theme is “Long Live Texas.” The UT Longhorn Band will lead the parade followed by local and out of town bands, marching units, equestrian units, and spectacular floats and other attractions to delight and create a night of illumination. Purchase tickets in advance. Admission is $15–$25.

ONGOING

April 14–24

Fiesta Carnival at Alamodome Park Lot—Thrills and chills fill the air at one of the best carnivals in the land. Glittering lights, exciting rides, and games and a wide assortment of foods in downtown San Antonio make the Carnival a perennial favorite of Fiesta-goers. Rides and games vary in price. Admission to the carnival is free.

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One Response to Fiesta for Kids: A Guide to Celebrating San Antonio!

  1. Hillary April 16, 2016 at 10:28 am #

    You forgot the Alamo heights dog parade!! Such a fun event to watch or participate in.