SAN ANTONIO — If it weren’t for the coronavirus, Fiesta San Antonio would have been underway and families would’ve continued a tradition that stems back for generations.
- His first memories of Fiesta are from childhood
- Suggests making your own Fiesta
Since this year is going to be a lot different due to COVID-19, Michael Quintanilla, better known as “Mr. Fiesta,” wanted to show us what Fiesta is all about.
If the annual festival were a person, it would probably be Quintanilla.
“The first Fiesta was in 1891,” Quintanilla said reading a book he forwarded.
His first recollections of the 129-year-old festival, like many San Antonians, are from his childhood.
“The first time I experienced Fiesta, it had to have been with my mom, taking us to the parades downtown,” Quintanilla said.
But Quintanilla’s favorite Fiesta memory was when he marched in the parade as a newspaper reporter in the late ‘70s.
“I dressed as a clown, and I had a little monkey, a puppet monkey that wrapped around my waist and I was marching,” Quintanilla said laughing.
Quintanilla’s strong connection with Fiesta didn’t happen until he left San Antonio for 25 years for work and then came back.
“When I returned to San Antonio, 15, 16 years ago, I threw myself into Fiesta,” Quintanilla said. “I said I’m just going to throw myself into everything San Antonio that I’ve been missing.”
His fashionable costumes and hats earned him the title of “Mr. Fiesta.”
“Anyone can be Mr. Fiesta. It’s a title for anyone to claim, it’s just not mine exclusively,” he said laughing.
Once a local newspaper offered him a job, he knew exactly what he wanted to cover.
“I want to cover Fiesta!” Quintanilla recalled with excitement. “So I started writing about all of the Fiesta royalty and going to the parades.”
That's how he learned about the philanthropy side of Fiesta.
The nonprofits that are associated with Fiesta are now reeling from the pandemic.
“Especially with the selling of the medals that helps so many nonprofit groups and when this happened everything just came to a halt,” Quintanilla said.
Fiesta is pushed back until the fall but Mr. Fiesta has a message for of all the gente in San Antonio.
“Turn your house into ‘Market Squarentine’ and throw yourself a Fiesta party,” Quintanilla shouted with excitement.