The lasting impacts of NIOSA

San Antonio Conservation Society works to save city's history

SAN ANTONIO – A Night In Old San Antonio is not only one of the most popular annual events during Fiesta, it is also one of the biggest parties in the city.

For four nights, La Villita is lined with booths serving up drink, food and fun.

There is more than just food and drinks; it is a party with a purpose, to help the San Antonio Conservation Society.

READ MORE: NIOSA officials hang ‘rain rock' before annual Fiesta event

The proceeds go to help fund the organization, which is charged with preserving the history of San Antonio.

"The conservation Society tries to help save buildings, also the natural beauty, things like the River Walk, Brackenridge Park, a lot of other parks and natural areas," said Vincent Michael, executive director of the Conservation Society.

One of the group's biggest accomplishments they have made, playing a huge role is bringing the UNESCO World Heritage recognition to the missions. The group worked with local, state, national, and world organizations to make it happen.

"No other place has given such attention, created such partnerships when you look at the World Heritage missions," Michael said.

2017 Fiesta Schedule of Events

They’ve also built a partnership with the archdiocese.

The conservation society also preserves cultural traditions like NIOSA, which brings the diversity of San Antonio to one place.

"It started as a harvest festival, was then incorporated into Fiesta, and NIOSA grew up really in the ‘40s as a way to celebrate some of the traditions," Michael said.

The desire and dedication to conserving the history of San Antonio is not just for tourists to enjoy but also locals and future residents.

FIESTA NEWS: NIOSA Fiesta medal revealed

"Also for making people want to live here, and we’re seeing that already," he said.

Michael was interviewing for his current position as executive director during last year’s Fiesta. He was born in San Antonio, moved away as a kid and then spent most of his adult working life in Chicago.

"There's no place like San Antonio. It's really spectacular in that it has been concerned about it's history,” Michael said. “And celebrates the diversity of the six flags it’s been under.”


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About the Author:

David Sears, a native San Antonian, has been at KSAT for more than 20 years.