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Fiesta Preparations

April 7, 2017

Fiesta San Antonio 2017 opens in a few days.  Final preparations for the numerous events are underway.  Beginning in the 1920s, photographers for the San Antonio Light and San Antonio Express-News newspapers routinely documented behind-the-scenes activities such as building parade floats, setting up booths, and performance practice sessions.  Usually these images were taken to advertise events.  But in some cases, photographs were taken to apprise readers of the tremendous work involved in staging the annual celebration.  Likewise, some of the photos were published as a tribute to certain individuals such as Minna Bel Oland, Cora Watson, and brothers Emile and Marcel Robin, who were involved in the preparation of Fiesta events for several decades.

These are some of the photographs showing pre-Fiesta activities, dating from the 1920s to 1990.

Velma Wolfe, seamstress at Southwestern Decorators, repairs tattered Fiesta flags and banners, April 1938.  (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection, MS 359: L-1778-N)

 

Minna Bel Oland stands beside her assistants as they prepare a train for a duchess in the Coronation of the Queen of the Order of the Alamo, April 1951.  (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection, MS 359: L-4179-C)

Duchesses practice the formal court bow for the Order of the Alamo’s Court of the Golden Journey, Ruth Matlock Dance Studio, April 11, 1958.  (San Antonio Express-News Photograph Collection, E-0004-064-01)

Girls rehearse the Blue Danube Scarf Dance for Fiesta Water Ballet, held at San Pedro Park, April 1926.  (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection, MS 359: L-0564-A)

Patsy Ann Rolley and Stanley Ketchum pose in their Minnie and Mickey Mouse costumes at rehearsal for Children’s Dance Fete, featuring pupils from local dance studios, April 1936. (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection, MS 359: L-0970-A)

Members of the Herman Cepler Family, a local aerialist troupe, rehearse their routine for a series of high-wire shows on Alamo Plaza, April 1955. (San Antonio Express-News Photograph Collection, E-0004-064-01)

Barge for Texas Cavalier’s River Parade is lowered to the river from the Market Street Bridge, April 3, 1962.  (San Antonio Express-News Photograph Collection, E-0008-088-06)

Cora Watson examines one of the 15,000 paper flowers that she and a group of 20 assistants pieced together to decorate floats for the Battle of Flowers Parade, April 1938.  (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection, MS 359: L-1544-S)

Kalista Hart, chairman of the queens’ section of the Battle of Flowers Association, holds drawings and fabric swatches as she coordinates color schemes with Emile Robin (left) and Marcel Robin, designers and builders of the royalty parade floats, April 1951.  (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection, MS 359: L-4058-D)

Floyd Arrowood, city policeman, inspects one of the ten telephones installed near the courthouse and city hall to aid in policing the carnival, April 1940. (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection, MS 359: L-2434-E)

Group unloads cushions for parade bleachers along Broadway, April 1937. (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection, MS 359: L-1559-AAA)

San Antonio Conservation Society volunteers make crepe paper flowers to decorate booths at A Night in Old San Antonio (NIOSA), April 12, 1990. (San Antonio Light Photograph Collection, MS 359: L-7286-027-18)

Vendor sets up a rack of inflatable toys at Fiesta Carnival outside City Hall, April 1988. (San Antonio Express-News Photograph Collection, EN1988-04-14-02)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Rosie Mini permalink
    April 10, 2017 9:50 am

    I love seeing these vintage photos

  2. April 22, 2017 9:35 pm

    Reblogged this on stillness of heart.

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