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Arts & Culture

King William Parade and Fair: the neighborhood event the whole city attends

Christina Leavitt.jpg
Christina Leavitt
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revelers at King William Fair

The final weekend of Fiesta will see a parade in one of the city's oldest neighborhoods: King William.

The King William Fair started in 1968 as a little neighborhood event, and it is set in the first historic residential neighborhood of Texas,” said Fair Director John Costello of the fair's history.

While the event started small, he said it didn’t stay that way.

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Al Rendon
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King William Fair parade float

“Growing from a little neighborhood event of a couple of blocks long, it now encompasses the entire King William Neighborhood. It starts with a parade at 9 o’clock and it is the quirky parade as we refer to it because you never know what you’re going to see,” he said. “From camels to marching bands to ballerinas. You might even see some Cornyation skits in the parade.”

The parade — which starts at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 9 — and fair also differs in another big way from other festivities: shade cast from enormous trees overhead.

“It’s a beautiful setting for the fair and the parade so you will be able to relax, and the weather will be just fabulous this weekend; we’ll be nice and cool,” Costello said.

While the neighborhood is fairly compact, the parade’s actually quite a big one.

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Matt Buikema
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dancers in the parade

“We have over 100 entries so it’s a variety of floats, marching units, we have people on bicycles,” he said. “We have a calliope. We have a little bit of everything when it comes to making a parade.”

The fair itself is large, too, with more than 200 juried arts and crafts vendors.

“We have over 60 different food booths. We have lots of beer,” Costello said. “We have five stages of entertainment, and we have a great ‘kids kingdom,’ so the kids have lots of wonderful activities to keep them entertained.”

He said the King William fair is endearing to those who come for many reasons. But there's one reason perhaps above all others: people.

“You always see people that you haven’t run into in a while, so it’s like seeing your neighbors,” he said.

The parade is free but you can get tickets to the fair at kwfair.org.

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Christina Leavitt
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King William Fair
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.