Fiesta Shopping 101

Recently a friend posted a picture of a Fiesta wreath on Instagram with the following caption: “Took us five years to give in to getting one of these giant Fiesta wreaths. When we moved here, we had no clue what or why people were hanging these things, wearing such bright clothes, and partying for two weeks straight, and now…VIVA!”

I have to say that I can’t agree with her more. I have lived in San Antonio on and off for the last 19 years, and it was only in the last three years that I really got into Fiesta. I will say that when I moved here for college, I didn’t think it was much more than a huge booze fest. Of course, every Fiesta event I attended was at night and filled with way too many over-served people. Maybe that is the college version of Fiesta, but the family version is so much more fun! ACMB has published a great post on family-friendly Fiesta events, but what about everything else Fiesta?

How do you prepare for Fiesta? Where can you find everything that makes Fiesta so awesome? And what should you buy? We’ve got you covered…

The Clothes

Girls typically wear Mexican Puebla dresses or tops while boys wear Guayaberas. The dresses come in many different colors and sizes, and you can find a wide range of prices. Pro tip: Due to the uniqueness of each dress, bring your little girl with you while shopping. I have found that the same size can vary greatly in the same store. Most importantly, make sure the head opening is big enough, as all are not created equal. Guayaberas, easy to identify by their vertical pleats on the front and back, tend to be a little more straightforward as button-down shirts, but you may want to bring your little guy just in case sizing may vary. As for the moms, your Fiesta fashion can vary from less expensive versions of Puebla tops/dresses at HEB all the way up to beautiful, hand-sewn Oaxacan tops and dresses. You will also see that several national retail stores get into the Fiesta spirit as well and may have something that works for Fiesta. Don’t forget the pretty flower crown as an accessory for all little girls! Reader recommendation: Fiesta on Main (2025 N. Main Ave).

The Wreaths

This is another Fiesta item that greatly differs with regard to style, size, and price. You can make your own; you can buy one that is commercially made; or you can have one custom-made for you. The best part about a Fiesta wreath is that it can truly represent your own style. There are many pop-up shops on the side of the road that sell wreaths. Michael’s (various locations) and Sunset Ridge Home & Hardware (6438 N. New Braunfels Ave.) sell pre-made ones. Reader recommendations: Amol’s Party & Fiesta Supplies (710 S. Flores) and The Cascaron Store (931 Austin Highway).

The Medals

You may have noticed by now that Fiesta medals are a BIG deal. Almost every local store, business, foundation, non-profit, etc. sells one. People collect and trade them. My kids love them. The Fiesta Store sells a variety of medals, including medals for Fiesta events, several nonprofit organizations, and other organizations that donate a percentage of their proceeds back to The Fiesta Store. Did you know that The Fiesta Store is nonprofit as well? In addition to medals, they offer several other Fiesta items like the official Fiesta poster, apparel, accessories, and decorative items.

Many places give out medals as well. My favorite from last year was the San Antonio Solid Waste Management medal. It looked like a little recycling bin and the wheel moved. Reader recommendation: The Fiesta Store (2611 Broadway).

The Eggs

Cascarones, or confetti eggs, are brightly colored/decorated eggs that have been hollowed out and filled with confetti. While these have a long history going back to China (surprised?), they are most commonly used during Fiesta to smash over another person’s head. Rumor has it that good fortune falls upon the person who has the egg cracked over his/her head and that smashing one over someone’s head is a sign of affection. I don’t know about that, but I do know that, while they are lots of fun, they can make a HUGE mess. Pro tip: Keep the egg smashing OUTSIDE. The confetti can stain (see the Fiesta feet picture). I have found that they are just as much fun for decoration as they are for their actual use; however, my kids disagree. Any opportunity to break a cascaron on someone’s head is welcomed. You can find cascarones at all of the above reader recommendations and also at many other retailers, even your local HEB. Do yourself a favor and buy several dozen. They don’t last long!

You really can’t go wrong with brightly colored clothing and decorations. This is one of San Antonio’s most energetic seasons, so live it up. ¡VIVA, FIESTA!

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