Time for Fiesta San Antonio!! Oysterbake, Niosa, Marketsquare, and all of our favorites are just around the corner.
For those who don’t know what Fiesta is, it’s pretty much San Antonio’s version of Mardi Gras: great food, cold beer, and fun times. It is impossible to explain and describe the greatness of every event; however, we will try to point out some of highlights from the showcase events.
Oysterbake is definitely the grand daddy of all the Fiesta events. Don’t let the name fool you. Oysters have very little to do with this event. With passed bands such as Korn, Chevelle, Buckcherry, and more, Oysterbake is a must for anyone who plans to attend any fiesta event. At Oysterbake, there are multiple stages that will have acts performing based on their music genre. Beware of the always developing moshpits at the main stage.
Many of the food venders are student organizations from St. Mary’s University. The food is delicious and there are so many varieties of it. If you want to stay true to the name but aren’t too crazy about oysters, then the Oyster Shot is definitely for you. The Tabasco will make sure you taste very little of anything for a while.
My personal favorite food at Oysterbake is without a doubt the chicken on a stick. It’s simply a piece of breaded chicken speared through a skewer, adding a jalapeno optional. However it took me years to realize that the true trick is to ask the attendant to dip the chicken in the jalapeno juice. Trust me, you will be a fan for life.
Oysterbake can get a little pricy if you’re not a St. Mary’s Alum or student. If you know people that have graduated or currently attend you may be able to purchase tickets off of them. If that’s not an option, then you have the opportunity to buy your tickets at HEB; the tickets are cheaper and you won’t have to waste time in line when you get to the event. Also, try to take some cash in case the parking is full at St. Mary’s and you have to park at a surrounding location. At Oysterbake, you must buy coupons/tickets to purchase any food or beverage items. A good trick that any veteran of Oysterbake will tell you is if you wait till the very end of the night many of the stands will sell their items at great discounts. Doing this will ensure you get the most bang for your buck.
“Night in Old San Antonio” better known as NIOSA is where the festivities amplify downtown. Here you will find a wide variety of food and a more historical view of San Antonio. The areas are divided by cultures (spanish, french, etc) and here you will find the appropriate food, music, and drinks to that culture.
Typically, NIOSA can be a younger crowd, especially on the Thursday which many people refer to it as “college night”. That day is by far the most crowded and can be difficult to walk without running into someone. With that said, some of the greatest moments of Fiesta are made on this day. It’s not unlikely to see beads exchanged, random kisses, and phone numbers passed back and forth.
As a young buck, college night was a day I never missed. However, as I have grown in age the other days of NIOSA have appealed to me more and more. They tend to be less crowded, more family oriented, and you get the opportunity to enjoy the other attractions of NIOSA.
Prices at NIOSA are similar to Oysterbake with the added obstacle of NIOSA being held downtown. An easy way to get around this issue is using the Park and Ride service offered by the City of San Antonio. The bus will drop you off right in front of NIOSA and a bus will be waiting for you whenever you decide to leave, very convenient.
Market Square is by far one of the more dollar friendly events of Fiesta. Running through the entire week of Fiesta, Market Square provides all the festivities expected from a Fiesta event. Focusing more on the hispanic culture of San Antonio, Market Square presents some of the best food stands and spanish music of the week. Be prepared to spectate and participate in cumbias, tejano, and corridos.
Inside the San Antonio Farmer’s Market is typically where I go buy beverages. In previous years, you were allowed to buy a twenty-two ounce draft beer for about 5 dollars. The Farmer’s market has venders inside of it and splits the event into the Market Square side and the section that is under the interstate. Under the interstate is where you find the largest stage of the event and the most protection from the sun.
Fiesta is all about having fun with great people. Attending any of the above events, you are guaranteed to have a good time. However, it is highly suggested to attend
all three to get the full Fiesta experience.