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Family Creates Fiesta Parade In Memory of Mother On Battle of Flowers Holiday

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Joey Palacios
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Texas Public Radio
The Perez family stands at the corner of West Commerce and Santa Rosa on the day the Battle of Flowers Parade would have taken place.

A San Antonio family is celebrating Fiesta in memory of their mother after the 11-day celebration was postponed due to COVID-19.

Friday, April 24, would have been the 129th parade for the Battle of Flowers Association. The Perez family set up their own Battle of Flowers parade on West Commerce Street and Santa Rosa, a spot from where they watched both the Battle of Flowers and Fiesta Flambeau parades for decades. Their mother – Guadalupe Perez – would hold the space for them each year.

The family decorated their personal cars and trucks with streamers and signs that said “VIVA Fiesta” behind the Goodwill on W. Commerce Street.

“It was a tradition – sisters, brothers, family, she would invite everybody to be there at the parade with her every year,” said Marianne Perez. ‘We’re so proud of my mom and we’re doing this to honor her.”

This corner of downtown is a special place for the Perez family.

Guadalupe Perez died on March 1st, a few weeks before San Antonio began stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus. Her family said Perez did not die from COVID-19 but heart related issues.

Near the corner by the Vistana Apartments, Marivel Perez decorated a bus stop with a wreath that read “Beloved Mother.” A foldable lawn chair held a framed picture of her mother.

“She would hold this spot at three or four in the morning,” she said. “She would make sure nobody would take this spot because this was her favorite spot. It’s shaded. All of our family would set up our chairs here.”

It’s common for attendees of San Antonio’s Fiesta parades to reserve spaces in the early morning, the previous night, or even days before the typical start time on the last Friday of Fiesta. The parades can often get upwards of 300,000 attendees.

The Fiesta Commission postponed the parades and more than 100 Fiesta events on March 13 as the City of San Antonio announced its first case of COVID-19 among the general public. The new dates for Fiesta are November 5th to 15th.

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Credit Joey Palacios | Texas Public Radio
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The parade was the first Fiesta event to take place in 1891. Fiesta occurs in April every year. It started as a commemoration of the Battle of the Alamo, Battle of Goliad and Battle of San Jacinto, which led to Texas independence from Mexico.

That single parade would give way to dozens of events that would be hosted by non-profits in San Antonio. For many of those non-profits, these events were often their largest sources of income for the year.

The Perez family circled the block two times while honking their horns. Downtown’s streets have been frequently quiet since the public health orders went into effect. Passing cars on Commerce street would honk in return.

Lisa Perez – another of Guadalupe’s daughters – she said her family had been attending the parade for almost 40 years in this section and although though their mother cannot be with them, celebrating Fiesta in this spot even in the time of a pandemic will be a tradition.

“Hopefully this coronavirus stops, for everybody in the entire world, because this is something that everybody loved doing,” she said.

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

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