Plan-Ahead Tips for a Fun & Frugal Fiesta!

Fiesta, San Antonio’s two-week city-wide party, is less than a month away. In order to optimize the fun and minimize the hassle, there are a few things you can do right now to get your cascarones in a row before the fun starts.

Start Planning

Take a look at the Fiesta website, download the App and start planning out which events you and your family want to attend. There are so many options to choose from, and there is no way to see and do everything. My family has our perennial favorites, but we are always looking for new, off-the-beaten-path events to attend. Many Fiesta events now have their own websites and social media platforms on Facebook and Twitter, so LIKE and FRIEND and ADD your favorites to start getting information now.

Fiesta App

Look Into Park & Ride

Many of the biggest Fiesta events are serviced by VIA Park & Ride. The cost is $2.50 each way or $1.25 each for children 5-11 and senior citizens 62 or older. You can avoid the hassle—and cost—of parking if you park and ride, and your kids will love riding on a big city bus!

Buy Tickets in Advance

Some (but certainly not all) Fiesta events offer a slight discount if you pre-purchase your tickets. Take a look at the information and websites for the events that you have selected to determine if you can buy advance tickets in order to save a little dough. Even better, scope out free events on the Fiesta website.

Get Cash

Almost every Fiesta festival requires the purchase of tickets to exchange for food, drinks, and activities. Think ahead and hit your personal bank’s ATM before you get to the event and avoid annoying ATM surcharges. For that $3 surcharge you paid to get cash at the ATM at King William Fair you could have gotten tickets to buy a strawberry paleta for your hot tot.

Make a Sassy Sash for Your Kids’ Medals

One thing my kids love about Fiesta is collecting medals from Fiesta royalty and from the various events we attend. I recycle them to use as part of my dining room table centerpiece every spring. It’s fun to go back through the old medals, remembering the fun times we have had together. I love medals, too, but I don’t love the holes that the medals make in my kids’ clothes. An easy, inexpensive, and downright cute solution to this “first world Fiesta problem” is to make your kids a regal sash out of wide grosgrain ribbon. They can affix the medals to the ribbon and not to their clothes. Add a crown and ole! You’ve got instant Fiesta royalty!

Outsmart the Parade Vendors

I’m always fascinated by the vendors at the parades and all of the expensive junk they sell. This year, before heading out to a parade, stick a few dollar store finds in your tote. When your 3-year-old grabs a hold of your leg and hollers, “I WAAANNNTTTTT ONNNNE!!!” at the nearest parade peddler, you’ve got something even better. FOR TWENTY TIMES LESS DINERO THAN WHAT THE GUY WITH THE CART IS HAWKING. Start checking out the Dollar Tree, the Dollar Spot at Target and other similar stores now and get your stash started.

Don't let this happen to you.

Don’t let this happen to you. (Also, note Scotty’s sash for his medals!)

Load Up On Confetti Eggs

Okay, Fiesta revelers. You’ve got a few weeks before the first confetti falls, so now is the time to start stockpiling cascarones. You can find them at a variety of places around town ([HEB has them for $1.88 a carton right now!], Wal-Mart, random street corners, Alamo Fiesta to name a few), and of course you can easily purchase them at various Fiesta events—for a premium. Buy them in bulk now before you go to a parade or an event and you’re all set.

Stock Your Survival Kit

Okay. Let me set the scene. You’re out at the Fiesta Arts Fair enjoying the wonders of the Children’s Art Garden and you’ve got one kid up to her elbows in clay and another who managed to spill her entire cup of sticky watermelon aguas frescas down her embroidered Mexican wedding dress. What’s a besieged Fiesta mama to do? Get out her trusty Survival Kit, that’s what. Whether you are going to a parade or a family-friendly festival, your kids (and let’s be honest, most likely your husband) will get messy. Here’s a list of stuff that you should definitely pack in your tote or diaper bag:

Fiesta Survival Kit

Snacks: Nothing quite takes the wind out of your Fiesta-trimmed sails than for your little one to start whining that he is hunnnnnngrrrrrrrry. Fabulous food items abound at all Fiesta events (be careful—many of them are on small wooden swords sticks!), but it never hurts to have a Zip-locked baggie of Goldfish handy to tide him over between a fajita and a gordita.

Pack of Hand Wipes: See clay-and-juice scenario above. Lots of Fiesta events have fun activity areas for kids that inevitably involve getting messy. If you have plenty of wipes, you will be prepared.

Someone, please get this child a Handi Wipe.

Someone, please get this child a wipe.


Hand Sanitizer: One word (or three, hyphenated): Port-A-Potties.

Tissues: See Hand Sanitizer

Disposable Ponchos: Last year, my crew almost drowned at the Fiesta Flambeau parade. It wasn’t pretty. The irony was that I had a big bundle of disposable ponchos! At home. This year, I won’t leave home without them.

Hat/Sunscreen: Inevitably, we leave the house when it’s cool and cloudy, only to arrive at our Fiesta destination with blazing sunshine and no one thought to lube up. Slap on a little sunscreen before you head out. And bring a tube of SPF 30 with you (or a hat), and you can Fiesta sunburn free.

Glowsticks: Grab these at the dollar store and you have a portable party when the sun goes down but the fireworks haven’t quite started yet. Also perfect for when that aforementioned “Pesky Peddler”  at the River Parade starts turning on all of his eye-catching (read EXPENSIVE) light-up toys. I’m not saying it’s foolproof, but a stash of glowsticks might just stave off a temper tantrum or two.

Sippy Cup and Water Bottle: Overload on lemonade and aguas frescas? Find a water fountain and hydrate. With a cup or bottle, you are always prepared. Bonus: if you run out of wipes, you can pour water on a napkin or paper towel in a pinch for a clean-up.

Spare Cascarones: You’re out of tickets, and it’s time to head home. The masses are getting surly. The party is pretty much over, but you have a few extra confetti filled egg bombs in your Survival Kit. Do you hand them to your 3-year-old and let her have at her 5-year-old sister? NO. I have learned from experience that cascarones and tired toddlers may seem like a good idea at the time, but they just don’t mix. That being said, one sure-fire way to keep the Fiesta going is to GENTLY crack a confetti filled egg on your unsuspecting husband’s head to keep everyone in a festive mood.  Better yet, secretively hand one-off to your 5-year-old, call your husband over and ask him to lean WAY over to tie your 3-year-old’s shoe, and gleefully holler to your 5-year-old, “GET HIM!” It’s funny every time.

viva fiesta

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5 Responses to Plan-Ahead Tips for a Fun & Frugal Fiesta!

  1. Krisana March 19, 2014 at 2:45 pm #

    Great tips! Thank you! I never thought to use Park n Ride, but you are so right that the kids would LOVE the experience. My sister just got married and the highlight for my kiddos was the bus ride from the church to the reception. LOL!

  2. Taylor
    Taylor March 19, 2014 at 11:34 am #

    These are fabulous tips, Kelly! I am going to take full advantage of your survival kit idea! Thanks! 🙂

  3. aimee fauci March 19, 2014 at 8:08 am #

    This is what made me fall in love w SA… FIESTA!!! I can’t wait for this season of Fiesta. Not sure which events we will attend. Last 2 years we attended King William but plan on changing it up…

  4. Amy March 19, 2014 at 7:51 am #

    I have never been and really want to go but have hesitated to bring my kids. This is perfect!


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