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Arts & Culture

‘Viva Fiesta!’ — Texas Cavaliers River Parade Was A Coming Out Party For San Antonio

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg waves at crowds of people lined up along the River Walk for the Texas Cavaliers Parade. | Jiawen Chen, Texas Public Radio
Jiawen Chen | Texas Public Radio
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Texas Public Radio
Mayor Ron Nirenberg shows off his huge collection of medals on his vest on the Fiesta Time barge.

Tens of thousands enjoyed the Texas Cavaliers Fiesta Parade on Monday, which was a coming out party for many after having been shut away for so long.

“It just great to see such an eruption of joy in San Antonio after such a long and difficult year,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg, decked out in his Fiesta medal vest. “Obviously we’re still working through some of the challenges of the pandemic but it’s good to see the smiles on peoples’ faces.”

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Jiawen Chen | Texas Public Radio
Mom and daughter wearing flower crowns look ahead at the coming barges/floats.
 El Rey Feo and his court wave at parade-goers. | Jiawen Chen, Texas Public Radio
El Rey Feo and his court wave at parade-goers.

It was sweltering 92 degrees at the River Walk as people found their seats and awaited the parade to start.

Wellington Deshield and his wife Victoria and two young children were enjoying the parade.

“I’m just glad that everything is back up and running, with COVID and it being canceled last year,” he said.

“It feels good. It was scary at first, coming out, a little bit nervous,” she said. “But being here, it’s starting to feel a lot like home.”

 A Texas-themed barge awaits its take-off. | Jiawen Chen, Texas Public Radio
Jiawen Chen | Texas Public Radio
A Texas-themed barge awaits its take-off.
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Jiawen Chen | Texas Public Radio
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Jiawen Chen | Texas Public Radio
Fiesta Children from the Mays Family Foundation cheer with maracas and glowsticks.

Roger Villasenor, who attended The Texas Cavalier River Parade with his wife and friends, actually met his wife during Fiesta.

“At the night parade, Flambeau parade. I went up and asked her if her name was Brenda and she said no, but here’s my phone number and we got married. And that’s almost true.”

 A group of Fiesta royalty smiles on a barge at the Texas Cavalier River Parade. | Jiawen Chen, Texas Public Radio
Jiawen Chen | Texas Public Radio
The royal ladies pose with their crowns.
Crowned royalty smiles. | Jiawen Chen, Texas Public Radio
Jiawen Chen | Texas Public Radio
The royal ladies pose with their crowns.

Roger and Marie Ibarra had never been to the river parade.

“We used to watch it on TV,” they said. When asked if it was better in person, they responded, “Oh totally! Up close, it’s much better!”

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Jiawen Chen | Texas Public Radio
The Texas Cavaliers greet fans in their famed blue uniforms.
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Jiawen Chen | Texas Public Radio
The U.S Sea Services wave goodbye.

The 40 percent chance of rain held off to the very end of the parade, and then light rains cooled things off.

Find a list of all Fiesta events here:

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