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Fiesta Officials Are Ready For San Antonio's Largest Annual Celebration

Thomas Aguillon, Rey Feo LXXII kicks off Fiesta Tuesday morning at Bexar County Commissioners Court.
Nathan Cone
Texas Public Radio
Thomas Aguillon, Rey Feo LXXII kicks off Fiesta Tuesday morning at Bexar County Commissioners Court.

The president of the Fiesta commission told Bexar County Commissioners on Tuesday the city is ready to safely host its biggest party of the year during the pandemic.

Commissioner Tommy Calvert read a proclamation to welcome King Antonio, Phillip Bakke, and El Rey Feo, Thomas Aguillon, to commissioners court.

Fiesta Commission President Walter Cerna told commissioners the celebration is back after being canceled last year because of the pandemic.

It was only previously canceled during World Wars I and II.

"We wouldn't be standing here without you, University Hospital, all their frontline workers, all the things you did to make this possible and a sincere thank you from the Fiesta Commission,” Cerna said.

In a non-pandemic year, Fiesta attracts 3 million visitors and pumps $340 million into the local economy.

Many residents are ready to party after a year of isolation from friends and family during the pandemic.

More than half of the area’s 2 million residents have now been fully vaccinated and other key COVID-19 statistics are on the wane.

Still Fiesta will be a little smaller this year. The Texas Cavalier's River Parade is the only major Fiesta parade to be held this year. Night In Old San Antonio is back, too.

Fiesta has been held since 1891 to commemorate the Battles of the Alamo and San Jacinto and celebrate the city’s multiethnic heritage.

In other action, commissioners, acting as members of the Bexar County Public Facility Corporation, gave preliminary approval of a $80 million development plan by Weston Urban to makeover the Continental Hotel in the 300 block of West Commerce.

The vacant Continental most recently housed the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, but now sits vacant among other buildings in the West End of downtown.

Plans call for a high rise of 250 apartments and structure parking, with 125 units subject to affordability restrictions.

The facades of the Continental and Arana buildings would be preserved and the de la Garza and O'Henry homes would be conveyed to the county.

County Judge Nelson Wolff, who is also head of the Public Facility Corporation, praised the development planned by Weston Urban.

"We've invested probably a couple of hundred million dollars in San Pedro Creek and its right there on the creek, a really critical position. So, it enhances the investment we've made already," said Wolff.

UTSA is expanding its downtown presence nearby. And a federal courthouse is getting closer to completion. County officials could give final approval to the Continental project in August.

In other action, commissioners:

  • approved a resolution to assess the electrification of the county’s vehicle fleet to curb emissions.
  • approved a one-year contract with county depositor Bank of America with a month-to-month basis to follow valued at more than $333,000 annually. County commissioners also directed staff to seek bids from locally-based banks. Commissioner Trish DeBerry said local businesses that suffered during the pandemic should be considered for county contracts.
  • okayed $500,000 for the Village at Nogalitos housing project.
  • set a public hearing to consider the creation of Emergency Services District Number 9 to serve the China Grove area at 11:30 a.m. on July 17 in Commissioners Court.
  • approved waste service agreements with C-6 Disposal Systems and Tiger Sanitation to service areas within Precinct Four on the East Side within the City of San Antonio and its extraterritorial jurisdictions, including the Camelot, Glen North, Glen South, Crownwood, and Candlewood subdivisions. Residents can sign up for waste services by calling 210-335-6644 or by emailing BexarSolidWaste@bexr.org. Bills can be paid soon at HEBs in the area and at www.bexar.org/3374/SolidWaste.