Fiesta Fiesta & What the Week Means to San Antonio

Photos by B Kay Richter and Joel Pena - Contributing Photographers - SA Sentinel.

April 18, 2019 - Hemisfair Park (Downtown SA)

Article By: B Kay Richter - Contributing Writer, SA Sentinel

On-Location Reporting By: Joel Pena - Contributing Reporter, SA Sentinel

Fiesta 2019 officially kicked off its 11-day celebration on Thursday afternoon with a festive gathering of music, food, and tradition at Hemisfair Park. Fiesta Fiesta, as the event is cleverly dubbed, offers a free kick-off celebration for Fiesta revelers. Live music and performances by different DJ's and dance troupes provided the entertainment for the evening followed by a fireworks showcase. 

The People's Parade of official Fiesta Royalty was led by fashion writer Michael Quintanilla and the dance group Samba Vida. Locals had the opportunity to trade and buy Fiesta medals during the event as well as to visit with the many nonprofits spread throughout the park grounds.

Below are some of the stories from Fiesta devotees in attendance:

Sandi Estrada in her festive Fiesta attire. (Photo by:  Joel Pena  - SA Sentinel Photographer.)

Sandi Estrada in her festive Fiesta attire. (Photo by: Joel Pena - SA Sentinel Photographer.)

“Oh I love Fiesta! We just live for Fiesta! First day of Fiesta, we’re ready,” raves Sandi Estrada, a Fiesta loyalist. “Fiesta means getting dressed up. My Fiesta hat and of course my Mexican dresses. And drink and have fun!”


Phil Darrah showing off his medal collection. (Photo by:  Joel Pena  - SA Sentinel Photographer.)

Phil Darrah showing off his medal collection. (Photo by: Joel Pena - SA Sentinel Photographer.)

Phil Darrah, a self-described “medal-head” who owns over 300 Fiesta medals, described his collection and how much the event means to him. “I’ve got about 300 (Fiesta medials) on me now and boxes and boxes at home,” describes Phil. “This is where the medal-heads get together and we all see each other once a year and we all say hi and hug and kiss and exchange medals.”


Wendy Black selling Fiesta medals. (Photo by:  Joel Pena  - SA Sentinel Photographer.)

Wendy Black selling Fiesta medals. (Photo by: Joel Pena - SA Sentinel Photographer.)

Wendy Black, founder of San Antonio’s Footbridge Foundation, was on-site at the Pin Pandemonium section of Fiesta Fiesta to sell medals to raise money for her organization which helps find forever homes for homeless cat and dog populations around the city. “So this is our third year doing Pin Pandemonium and it’s a crucial event in fundraising for us. Our goal tonight is to sell 75 medals and that money will go directly to our medical costs for our fosters in care.”


Kelly Corbitt (left) showing off her Fiesta medals. (Photo by:  Joel Pena  - SA Sentinel Photographer.)

Kelly Corbitt (left) showing off her Fiesta medals. (Photo by: Joel Pena - SA Sentinel Photographer.)

“I love Fiesta and I love collecting medals. Right now I’m wearing about 139 medals on me, front and back,” describes Kelly Corbitt, a San Antonian who takes great pride in her collection of Fiesta medals. “I’m looking forward to the Battle of Flowers Parade, NIOSA, Flambeau, all the parades. I love them all! Fiesta is a party with a purpose. I love giving back to charities, and I just love to party!”