King Antonio, first officially crowned by the Cavaliers as King Antonio IX in 1927, “pays special tribute to the military/civilian partnerships that weave the very fabric of our city’s history.”
Courtiers: The Texas Cavaliers, founded in 1926 by John Carrington “to preserve and promote the ideals for which the heroes of the Alamo died.”
Can’t-miss Fiesta appearances: Investiture of King Antonio LXXXII, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 19, Alamo Plaza
The River Parade (which was the first official event to take place on the WPA-created River Walk). April 21, along the San Antonio River
2008 designated charity: The Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas
Rules for succession: Elected by the Cavaliers, many of whom are legacy members
Commoner’s odds: Depends on who you know ...
More info: texascavaliers.org
Queen of the Order of the Alamo
Courtiers: The Order of the Alamo, founded in 1909 by John Carrington, meets once a year to choose the queen and her court. The members (500-plus) are nominated, usually by a family member, and elected by secret ballot in four categories.
Can’t-miss Fiesta appearance: Coronation of the Queen, 8-10 p.m. Wednesday, April 23, Municipal Auditorium
Eligibility for succession: Daughter of member of the Order who’s willing to spend a small fortune on the dresses, parties, gifts, etc. “The cost involved would be extraordinary,” says one member with a young daughter, somewhat nervously.
Commoner’s odds: Zilch
More info: fiesta-sa.org
El Rey Feo
El Rey Feo was first crowned in 1947, and began participating in Fiesta in 1980. Credited with bringing Tex and Mex together in the Alamo City, the Ugly King is descended from a medieval Spanish protest and Mexican tradition.
Courtiers: The LULAC Rey Feo Scholarship Committee
Can’t-miss Fiesta appearance: La Noche del Rey/El Rey Feo LX Reception, 6:30 p.m.- midnight, April 18, AT&T Community Center at San Fernando
Rules for succession: Committee members solicit and nominate community leaders and businessmen to compete to raise money for the LULAC scholarship fund. Second-place finish takes the crown of this king of the people the following year.
Commoner’s odds: Favorable, especially if you’re not afraid to ask people for money
More info: fiesta-sa.org
The Charro Queen
The Charro Queen’s job requires three different outfits, including the fabulous traje de gala pictured here.
Courtiers: The San Antonio Charro Association
Notable Fiesta appearance: Fiesta Charreada, April 22 & 29
Rules for succession: “It’s a very long process,” says current Charro Queen Irma Duran. You must be nominated by a nember, approved by the board and write an essay to become a finalist; your family is interviewed to determine if you have a good moral background, then you go back to the board for a final vote.
Duran’s main reason for enduring such a grueling ascent to the saddle? “San Antonio is the birthplace of charreada in the U.S., and people just associate us with Fiesta,” she says. “It’s sad to see kids, they don’t know about their culture and heritage.”
Commoner’s odds: It helps if you ride with one of the area charro groups, but our guess is the “good moral background” criteria trips up more applicants than lack of horse sense does.
More info: sacharro.com
The Queen of Soul
The Queen of Soul’s job is “to provide San Antonio with a representative from the African-American Community to take part in Fiesta, Civic, and other Community activities.”
Courtiers: Queen of Soul, Inc.
Purpose: Formed in the social-justice watershed year of 1968 “to create enthusiasm in our young ladies and help them be aware of not only their beauty, but also their charm, poise, and intellectual ability.”
Notable Fiesta appearances: “Our pageant `April 5 this year, at the Carver` is our biggest event,” says organization president and former Queen Vonzetta Hickman. “The rest is just providing representation.”
Rules for succession: Tennessee Nathanson, 2008 Queen of Soul, competed in five categories, fitness wear, business wear, talent, Q&A, and formal wear to win the crown, after completing a six-week boot camp with the board members.
Commoner’s odds: If you’re an African-American woman between the ages of 18 and 25, single, childless, a San Antonio resident, and enrolled in college or educational school, you’re eligible to compete.
More info: saqos.org
King Anchovy is elected by the Cornyation committee, whose purpose is to lampoon the high and mighty embarrassing, and to raise money for worthy causes such as the San Antonio AIDS Foundation.
Can’t-miss Fiesta appearance: Cornyation, two shows nightly, April 22-24, Empire Theatre. The 2008 Court of the Salacious Runaway Projects includes the Court of Ho’s that Blow, Senator Craig’s Restroom Mistake, and the Court of the Dancing Gorditas.
First incarnation: 1951
Rules for succession: Play coy. “If you want it, you can’t have it,” says organizer Ray Chavez.
Commoner’s odds: A fondness for drag doesn’t hurt, but the sooner you stop thinking about it, the better.
More info: cornyation.org