• King William, Lavaca and Roosevelt Park associations organized a house-float parade April 15-25 in lieu of King William Fair event
• More than 70 homes are decorated to observe San Antonio’s Fiesta
• Themes include nods to town’s biggest party, tongue-in-cheek references to pandemic
Fiesta, San Antonio’s biggest party, may be delayed to June by the pandemic, but Southtown residents found a way to show their festive spirit sooner and right at home.
Neighborhood associations in King William, Lavaca and Roosevelt Park organized a house-float parade to take place April 15-25 in lieu of the King William Fair, a Fiesta event.
More than 70 homes exhibited various original displays via yards, patios, balconies and windows.
COVID-19’s arrival last spring forced the cancellation of events near and far, including San Antonio’s biggest 2020 party and this year’s Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
While the Fiesta San Antonio Commission hopes to stage Fiesta happenings June 17-27, many major traditions such as the King William Fair won’t return until 2022.
However, Southtown inhabitants found inspiration from Big Easy denizens who improvised a celebration with float-style parade decorations placed outside their homes during Mardi Gras.
“San Antonio has a chance to see, virtually or from their car or bike, what we’d look like during Fiesta,” said Lisa Lynde, King William Association executive director.
Lynde quickly embraced the idea of a house-float parade after seeing it unfold in New Orleans, where she previously lived. She proposed the concept to King William Fair parade organizers, and they reached out to Lavaca and Roosevelt Park.
Last year, King William had a mini drive-by parade, and Lavaca enjoyed “bike-by” activities.
“It was very special, reminiscent of some of the earliest King William parades in that it was small and sweet,” said Cherise Rohr-Allegrini, Lavaca Neighborhood Association president.
“We also realized that so many people needed the feeling of Fiesta, so we needed to do something to mark Fiesta in a way that was still COVID-safe.”
Fiesta, normally an April happening, was canceled last year due to fears the festivities and crowds could further spread the highly contagious novel coronavirus. For 2021, city officials moved it to the summer hoping mass vaccinations would make celebrating safer.
The house-float parade had no specific theme, but most displays reflected Fiesta revelry. Others involved tongue-in-cheek references to the pandemic.
King William resident Nora Peterson partnered with artist Christine King to draw and paint an homage to the famed dresses with the long trains of Fiesta royalty, topped with symbols of Texas flora and fauna, such as cacti and butterflies.
According to Peterson, the house-float parade demonstrates a sense of normalcy.
“We’re vaccinated, a lot of our friends of King William cohorts are vaccinated. We’re just happy to be planning and doing something,” she said.
With a nod to the canceled Battle of Flowers Parade, artist Leigh Anne Lester crafted a “Battle of Vaccines” scene in her front yard, complete with papel picado depictions of the coronavirus, recycled political signs, and a large Fiesta hat bearing the line “Viva Vaccines.”
“It’s Fiesta-related but also COVID-relevant,” Lester said.
See https://www.ourkwa.org/housefloatparade for a full list of participating decorated homes.