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Illuminated bike parade at Elmendorf Lake Park hosted by Urban 15 for Fiesta

Urban 15 drummers perform at Luminaria
Todd Phillips
Courtesy of Urban 15
Urban 15 drummers perform at Luminaria

An unusual Fiesta event debuts Saturday night. While the event Incognito has been around for years – Urban 15’s George Cisneros devised it – and those origins are far different from what it’s morphed into for this weekend.

“Urban 15 has had a Fiesta event called Incognito every year, and it's been a masked or a costumed dance party,” Cisneros said.

The pandemic changed all that, of course. Keeping people at close proximity was dangerous. How to add a little distance? Cisneros had an epiphany: bicycles!

Bicycles will keep participants separated. Urban 15’s quirky, lit nighttime parade attire suggested an event that combined bicycles and lighting.

“And it was obvious with our experience with costuming and design — Let's go do a lighted dancing bicycle parade,” he said.

Urban 15’s marching drummers and dancers, who wear edgy, creative lighting, really make a spectacle in nighttime parades.

Urban 15 drummer Albert
courtesy Urban 15
Urban 15 drummer Albert

“So the illuminated bicycle parade is premiering this Saturday,” he said.

They’re holding Icognito at a place that will elevate the effect of the lighting: Elmendorf Lake Park, by Our Lady of the Lake University.

“With all the bridges that cross over water and of all of the sidewalks that are very near the banks of the river, the reflectivity of these illuminated bikes is going to be immense,” he said.

Cisneros said anyone can ride. Just register beforehand on the Urban 15 website, and then show up. If you don’t have lights, he said not to worry.

Councilwoman Terri Castillo is going to be donating the xylem lights to decorate their bikes,” he said.

She has the xylem lighting that you break them and shake them up and they light upr

URBAN-15's Carnaval de los Muertos at Elmendorf Lake (2020)

“The drum ensemble will be stationed at a strategic point where it can be heard pretty much all over the area,” Cisneros said. “And we will have prizes for the best decorated bicycle, in the category of youth and adult.”

As Fiesta events go, this one is decidedly for the whole family.

“There's no alcohol and there's no sales taking place. It's just lights and rhythm,” he said.

If you’re wondering whether you can afford the 9 p.m. Saturday event, you can. It’s free.

Texas Public Radio is supported by contributors to the Arts & Culture News Desk including The Guillermo Nicolas & Jim Foster Art Fund, Patricia Pratchett, and the V.H. McNutt Memorial Foundation.

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii