Cities, like people, may be best known by the way they party. For nearly a century and a half. San Antonio has partied well. In this look at late-nineteenth-century festivals in San Antonio, Judith Berg Sobre brings an art historian's sensibility to accounts of the pageantry, parades, and festive events that typified a city welcoming settlers into a community that valued their individuality even while it taught them a new identity. Six historic festivals provide windows into the culture of this polyglot city the Fourth of July, Juneteenth, Diez y Sets Columbus Day, the German Volksfests, and the Battle of the Flowers. The festivals allow their sponsors to showcase the language, foods, costumes, and dances of their homeland while still identifying themselves as patriotic supporters of their new country. Sobre describes the festivals vividly, and the result is a delightful picture of a city and an era at play - a city and an era that would soon find less reason to play and less ability to nurture and celebrate diversity.
Judith Berg Sobre is a professor of art history at the University of Texas at San Antonio and became interested in local celebrations as a form of cultural expression, leading her to the present volume. Sobre's Ph. D. is from Harvard University.
Two parades in San Antonio, 1870 and 1898 -- Marching, watching, and celebrating : how the city grew -- Fourth of July : "Grand display of patriotism!" -- Juneteenth : "They are what they deserve to be, free" -- Diez y seis : "How the sons of Mexico and America enjoy liberty" -- Columbus Day : "San Antonio joins in the great American festivities" -- Volksfests : "Germania and Columbia" -- Battle of Flowers Parade : "fun with fair flora" -- Spring carnival, 1900 : "In charge of the Businessmen's Club" -- San Antonio on parade.