I want to introduce a new food concept to you: chicken-on-a-stick. Sure, you may have tried corn dogs, cotton candy, or sausage on a stick, but none of them compare to this new delightful carnival food category. This, and many other fun carnival traditions await you at Oyster Bake.

St. Mary’s University’s Oyster Bake celebration is my new favorite Fiesta tradition. The university’s alumni association throws this event every year to raise money for scholarships and hell for the janitorial staff. The party bake lasts two days and has very little to do with oysters.

There are several sections to the carnival organized around musical stages. You enter the park, buy your food coupons and proceed to be attacked by the smell of deliciously fattening food, a diversity of music and screams coming from the carnival rides. Within the event you will find a country music stage, one with hip hop, another with the school’s jazz orchestra and the main event stage which features the big name artist brought in — this year it was occupied by Smash Mouth.

At first we were not sure if this was the actual Smash Mouth that we associate with the movie “Shrek,” but indeed it was. I was unaware that they had such a vast arsenal of songs, but they played for the entire night so they must — or they repeated songs and everyone was too drunk to notice.

It is common cultural knowledge that Fiesta is the only time where it is acceptable to be constantly intoxicated in public. Bud Light helps sponsor the event and there are recycle bins and trash cans everywhere. That being said, little of the trash actually makes it into the bins, which leads to my next piece of advice: WEAR CLOSE-TOED SHOES!! There is crap everywhere on the ground and half the time you are walking through the grass and dirt to get across the grounds, so do yourself and your feet a favor and cover up.

Tickets can be pretty pricey, but they are discounted if you purchase them ahead of time, online or in stores like HEB. At the gate tickets cost $20. Parking can be a bit of a hassle but if you go after 9 p.m. and park in lots off campus grounds, you probably won’t have to pay. Expect to spend at least $10-$15 on food coupons; vendors do not accept cash so you must carry these coupons with you. I’m sure after reading the price detailing you are automatically turned off, but I’m telling you, Oyster Bake is worth every penny — especially if you go with a large group of friends.

We rode one of the carnival rides and tried all sorts of bad-for-you food. I am comfortable saying that we did not sample the baked oysters; it was just not something we felt we really needed to do to commit to the night. No one hunted us down or judged us for not eating the oysters, probably because we did eat and enjoy the chicken-on-a-stick. Oyster Bake is now over, but I fully recommend going next year and taking my tips to heart: wear close-toed shoes, try the chicken-on-a-stick, go with a large group of friends, bring cash and don’t be deterred by the price!

At Trinity, we tend to do the same recreational activities every weekend. Fiesta is a prime opportunity to shake things up, be spontaneous and make memories with friends. We are so lucky to live in the seventh largest city in the U.S. — a city that accomplishes 100 events in only 11 days (I hope everyone knows that “fiesta” means “party” in Spanish). For those that have never experienced Fiesta, you still have the rest of this weekend to check out NIOSA (Night In Old San Antonio) and the King Williams Fair and Parade. Do more than just play video games or study this weekend — go FIESTA!