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A Celebration Of Local Cultures, NIOSA Kicks Off Tonight

Eileen Pace
TPR News

The San Antonio Conservation Society is hard at work putting together the final touches in La Villita for Night in Old San Antonio, a tradition dating back nearly 100 years.

"We started back in the 1920’s when the city wanted to do an Indian festival, and so we stepped forward and put on a very short one night festival for that," said NIOSA treasurer Barb Machado. "Then it grew and they tried a couple of things along the banks of the Riverwalk and then after that they decided to turn it into this."

Now in its 65th year as an official Fiesta event, NIOSA grew into a celebration of the many cultures that make up the city with food from different parts of the world.

For the next four days nearly 80,000 people will flock to La Villita. It takes almost a week to set up the 250 food and drink booths and two dozen live music stages.

Francine Rowden is helping set up the king party and the French Quarter. She said NIOSA is like a melting pot:

"Everybody gets along so beautifully, everybody is friendly. It’s good to have a diversity, different culture, that’s what makes you strong," Rowden said.

The gates of NIOSA will open at 5:30 every night and close at 10:30. Tickets at the gate are $12. More information is available online at www.niosa.org.

Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules