As I am sure is the case with most people, I didn’t grow up in one place. I spent the first half of my childhood in Los Angeles until I moved to Houston, where I stayed until college. The first time I even heard of San Antonio was fourth grade Texas History when we learned about the Alamo. Since then, I have learned a lot about San Antonio and have quickly grown to love this city. Still, it wasn’t until one week ago that I ever heard anything about Fiesta.

When I think of San Antonio, I think of the Spurs (Go Spurs Go!), the Alamo, the River Walk and Six Flags. As for “Fiesta,” this has held several different meanings for me: a fiesta is a party; Fiesta Texas is an awesome amusement park here in San Antonio; Fiesta Mart is a grocery store with a parrot on its emblem. But now I’m learning about a different type of fiesta and a different aspect of this city. I guess I’d still consider Fiesta San Antonio a party.  Apparently Fiesta was born in 1891 when a group of Texas citizens honored the Alamo and Battle of San Jacinto by hosting a “Battle of Flowers”—this, however, was never mentioned in the two mandatory Texas History courses I had to take. Now, Fiesta serves as San Antonio’s biggest festival (except maybe last year when the Spurs won the Finals again). I was surprised to find the immense impact Fiesta has on our city: this festival generates $284 million for the local economy, hosts more than 100 events, offers scholarships and attracts over 3 million people.

I’ve also learned that Fiesta is diverse in the nature of the events it hosts: there are three major parades, a ton of a great food, block parties lasting several nights, concerts playing different musical styles and (it seems) a lot more.

Who knew this thing was such a big deal?  Maybe it was my distance from San Antonio, or maybe I never cared to look for this information—I don’t know. All I know now is that Fiesta is an important part of San Antonio history and culture and, while it is a unique event for this city, I believe more Texas residents should become familiar with Fiesta. Even as I write this article, I know I’m not even close to understanding Fiesta as a complete festival, and I can’t wait for it to start so this ignorant San Antonian can be cultured.