Ford Holiday River Parade
The recently extended parade route allows more space for eager spectators to claim their seats along the River Walk to enjoy the Christmas lights and lavish floats with friends and family. The H-E-B Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony makes the evening more special, so everyone’s holiday spirit should be at full gleam. Dinner packages are available up and down the River Walk for reserved seats, eats and drinks while you watch. We’ll have to wait for the announcement of the 2017 Grand Marshal, but previous hosts have included author Sandra Cisneros, former San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro and the Spurs Silver and Black Give Back. Last year, you could text vote for your favorite float covered in “tinsel and merriment” to match the theme. You won’t get nearly as much holiday spirit watching from TV at home, so get out there for this day-after-Thanksgiving tradition. Prices vary, November 25, thesanantonioriverwalk.com.
The San Antonio Festival of Lights will celebrate its ninth year at La Villita with entertainment, a fireworks display, craft vendors and Indian cuisine. In the past, a number of restaurants attended, including Pavani Express, Café Bahar, Biryani Pot and Amaa’s Kitchen. This year, an estimated 15,000 patrons from around the state of Texas can enjoy Indian dancing and Bollywood Zumba, an arts market, fashion show and more. This free event celebrates the ancient Hindu festival that signifies “the triumph of good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, hope over despair.” Sounds like a good set of principles to live by, if you ask us. Plus, if you’ve never tried chicken tikka dosa, you don’t know what happiness is. Free, November, La Villita, 418 Villita St., diwalisa.com.
San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo
Making its debut in 1950, the rodeo has become one of the go-to events in the Alamo City, with more than two million visitors annually. Whether you’re a traditional dusty cowboy or just there for the fried snickers, there’s always an impressive lineup of entertainers and attractions for everyone to enjoy. The most recent rodeo included performances from varied musicians such as Willie Nelson, Little Big Town and Fifth Harmony. For families, attractions range from a petting zoo to a Texas Wildlife Expo to a BMX stunt show and more. And don’t forget the carnival and various guilty-pleasure, fair-food options. The rodeo is much more than ropin’ and ridin’, although there’s plenty of that, too. Prices vary, February, AT&T Center (One AT&T Center Pkwy.) & Freeman Coliseum (3201 E. Houston St.), sarodeo.com.
San Antonio Cocktail Conference
Shake things up with this popular conference that was referred to by Paste Magazine as “the future of cocktails.” Going on its seventh year, SACC features the best bartenders and cocktail aficionados joining forces to lead a series of libation-themed seminars, tastings and, yes, many, many cocktail parties. In the past, this multi-event conference has included an Ultimate Bartender Championship, Scotch-paired dinners, a Friendly Beer Break and the Stroll on Houston Street in the downtown area. If you’re a down-home beer drinker, SACC probably won’t be your style unless you want to get a little more adventurous, sip some fancy craft drinks and maybe attend a class on the complexities of Blanche Armagnac. Prices vary, January, downtown, sanantoniococktailconference.com.
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