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Fiesta finally returns to San Antonio — and here are some of its highlight events 

The Texas Cavaliers parade returns to the river on June 21. - COURTESY OF FIESTA SAN ANTONIO
  • Courtesy of Fiesta San Antonio
  • The Texas Cavaliers parade returns to the river on June 21.
With an extra year to plan, this year’s Fiesta celebration will be big.

Revelers can start the week with the official Fiesta kick-off celebration at Hemisfair in the heart of San Antonio on Thursday, June 17. Hosted by the Fiesta San Antonio Commission, locals and tourists alike are welcome to partake in live music, locally made arts and crafts and food made by local culinary experts. Barter for Fiesta medals and go home with your own medal rainbow, the ultimate Fiesta tradition (Free, 4-10 p.m. June 17, 434 S. Alamo St., fiestasanantonio.org).



Folks with an affinity for nature can explore 38 acres of it just north of downtown during Viva Botanica at the San Antonio Botanical Garden on June 19. Bring a blanket and enjoy a day of family-friendly activities, food tastings and live performances ($12-$15, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. June 19, 555 Funston Pl. sabot.org).

The following week, the San Antonio Zoo hosts its Festival de Animales, an event highlighting the zoo’s conservation efforts in South and Central America and the animals native to the region ($25.99-$29.99, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. June 26 and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. June 27, 3903 N. St. Mary’s St., sazoo.org).

Fans of chicken on a stick and other classic Fiesta foods can rejoice, because NIOSA is back on June 22-25. - JAIME MONZON
  • Jaime Monzon
  • Fans of chicken on a stick and other classic Fiesta foods can rejoice, because NIOSA is back on June 22-25.
A local favorite, A Night in Old San Antonio (NIOSA) is returning to La Villita. This year, the event will be at limited capacity and will incorporate a new online touchless and cashless payment system. All 14 cultural areas will be included, although with a new layout consisting of more than 150 food and drink booths and live entertainment. Two new areas will make their debut: the country-western Frontier Town and Mexican Haymarket. Advance tickets are available online, and all attendees must show their e-ticket purchase code via phone or printout at the gate. No physical tickets will be available ($20, 5:30-10:30 p.m. June 22-25, 418 Villita St., niosa.org).

While most parades were nixed from this year’s citywide party, June 21’s colorful and vibrant Texas Cavaliers Parade is an exception. The boat parade down the San Antonio River has raised more than $10 million for children’s$ charities since its 1926 inception. This year’s supports The Zoo School ($14-26, 6-9 p.m. June 21, San Antonio River Walk, texascavaliers.org).

On June 22, partygoers can celebrate youth arts at the River Walk’s Ford Mariachi Festival. The event features traditional folklorico dancers and mariachis from local high schools and college programs (Free, 6:30-8:30 p.m. June 22, various locations, thesanantonioriverwalk.com).

Dog parents can include their furry friends in the virtual Fiesta Pooch Parade on June 26, which includes a live costume contest with a finalists’ competition and real prizes (Free, 10 a.m. June 26, fiestapoochparade.org).

For a full list of events, check out the Fiesta San Antonio Commission’s online calendar at fiestasanantonio.org.

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