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Parades are still the heart of Fiesta, and the Battle of Flowers Parade is one of the biggest in the nation—second only to the Rose Bowl’s Tournament of Roses® Parade. Held on Friday afternoon, this extravaganza showcases the “royalty” of Fiesta, including young “duchesses” in beaded and bejeweled dresses with long trains spread out on floats.

As Fiesta grew, it added the Flambeau Parade, so named because it was held at night and illuminated by torch-bearing brigades marching between the floats and bands. It may be the largest—and is certainly the most spectacular—nightparade in the country.

Last, but obviously not least, is the Texas Cavaliers River Parade. Spectators lining the River Walk cheer as decorated barges become true floats twinkling with tiny lights as they carry festive bands, Fiesta’s royal court and other radiantly costumed participants along the San Antonio River. America’s armed forces play a part in most of Fiesta’s parades and events, which is no surprise considering the city’s military bases: Fort Sam Houston and Lackland and Randolph Air Force Bases.

Over the years, Fiesta traditions and events have evolved to reflect San Antonio’s colorful history and cultural diversity. Fiesta royalty, for instance, now includes representatives of the Latino and African-American communities. But royal traditions aren’t taken too seriously here: the brilliantly staged “Cornyation” lampoons not only the coronation of Fiesta kings and queens, but also well-known local, state and national figures with its edgy satire.

The majority of Fiesta events include entertainment, games or activities for kids, but a big favorite with the younger set is always the Fiesta Carnival at the Alamodome. Rides and entertainment can easily fill the better part of a day here, and admission is free. Fiesta today includes so many events there’s truly something for everyone. It would be impossible to describe them all, but we’ve put together a few highlights.

For a complete list of Fiesta events with descriptions, see our Fiesta San Antonio Trip Idea or visit