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Arts & Culture

Medal Collecting Frenzy In Full Swing As Fiesta Nears

Joey Palacios
Texas Public Radio
The Fiesta Store - which is run by the Fiesta Commission - holds between 90-120 different medals available for purchase. It sells about 17,000 medals each year.

It’s more than a month until Fiesta, but the frenzy of collecting and trading Fiesta medals is well underway.  Why are some medals sold so early, before the 11-day celebration begins and what effect do sales have on a nonprofit that uses them as a fundraiser?

Credit Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio
Texas Public Radio
Fiesta medal collectors line the sidewalk outside of the Fiesta store waiting to purchase medals designed by the San Antonio Spurs.

The line outside the Fiesta store on Broadway nearly wrapped around the building. Most of these folks are waiting to buy Spurs medals. Anita Kaufmann had been waiting at least 30 minutes but collecting months in advance is key.

“If you wait a long a time, the medals that you actually want you can’t get them anymore,” Kaufmann says.

Although Fiesta doesn’t begin until April 20, Fiesta Store retail director Mari Morales says medals hit the shelves as early as 6 months prior to Fiesta starting.

“You can take your time producing your medal in the summer, get it to our store in October and have all of those months of retail time,” Morales says.

The Fiesta store sells about 90-120 different medals ranging from $8 to $20 or more. These are provided by the nonprofits and companies who create them. Morales estimates there are thousands of different medals available across the city each year.

“Nowadays, so many people are making medals,” she says.

Many nonprofits use them for fundraisers like Any Baby Can. Any Baby Can sells the 1,000 medals it buys for $10 each to promote its Walk For Autism which is an official Fiesta event. This year the medal has a spinning puzzle piece which is a symbol for Autism and a luchador

Credit Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio
Texas Public Radio
The two medals offered from Any Baby Can. The left is sold for $10 and the one on the right is awarded to the first 4,000 people that register for the organizations Walk for Autism


Executive Director Hugo Hernandez says the money from the walk and medal sales goes back into programming.

“We push our medal probably three months before the event to really start raising awareness and getting people excited, Hernandez says.

Any Baby Can raises about $4,600 to $5,000 dollars from its medal sales and has a free separate medal for those that participate in the walk.