With just eleven days to go before we begin the 125th celebration of Fiesta, I can’t help but reminisce about the past Fiestas I have been fortunate to be an active part in over the last 30 years.
As a past President of the San Antonio Junior Chamber of Commerce, (aka Jaycees) I was able to ride in one of the many floats in the Battle of Flowers Parade as well as the River Parade in 1982 and 1983 during my one year term as President, followed by one year as Chairman of the Board. I also marched in numerous other years as a Jaycee board member as well.
One of the big events of Fiesta for the Jaycees was La Semana Alegre held in the HemisFair area for nearly twenty years. I actively participated in seven of those events from 1977-1983.
During that time we hosted many big name bands to perform nightly, along with providing games and other activities during our Fiesta participation. The money we raised was used to fund our non-profit events such as the Orphan’s Christmas Shopping Tour where we escorted kids from the local orphanages on a shopping spree at Christmas for items such as clothes and shoes for school. We were never short of escorts as the Fire Fighters and San Antonio Police Officers participated along with us during the holidays. They got as much out of it as we did hosting the event.
In the late nineties and forward to 2007 as a Balcones Heights City Councilman or Mayor Pro Tem, I was also able to ride in those same two parades on a float representing the City.
For the past eight years I have been actively covering Fiesta events by shooting photos for my photo blog Walker Report and also for La Prensa. I begin my coverage with the opening ceremony in the Alamo Plaza, move on to events like the Taste of New Orleans, the River Parade, the Battle of Flowers, and various events each year. Sometimes I cover different events especially when new ones are added to the schedule as other groups no longer participate.
One event I am especially partial to covering since I can’t cover them all is the St. Gregory’s Catholic Church Festival. As a graduate of St. Gregory’s in 1960 from 8th grade, I admit I favor that particular event.
Every year I walk by my 8th grade classroom and reminisce about attending the school experiencing flashbacks of holding out the palms of my hands to allow Mother Mary John to take a whack with a ruler for my misdeeds and misbehavior!
Invariably I meet a student or two at the Festival event at the church whose classroom also served as my 8th grade class.
With the River Parade yet to come along with the Battle of Flowers, I might see some of you out there in the streets with my camera and press pass. If so, be sure to say hello and enjoy the rest of Fiesta.
This year’s Grand Marshall for the Battle of Flowers Parade is none other than International singer and motivational speaker Dr. Patsy Torres who I have written about for La Prensa twice in the past.
I have personally known her for over 20 years. We both received our Master’s Degrees decades apart from the University of the Incarnate Word. She also recently earned her Doctorate from Incarnate Word in 2011.
As always, what I write is “Just a Thought.”
Steve Walker is a Vietnam Veteran and former Justice of the Peace and Journalist.