SAN ANTONIO – Fiesta San Antonio, the city’s biggest annual event scheduled for April, has been postponed until November due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to city and event officials.
The 11-day party, which was slated for April and generates more than $340 million in economic impact to the community, is now scheduled for Nov. 5-15, according to Jeanie Travis, the president of the Fiesta San Antonio Commission.
Fiesta Oyster Bake also announced Friday on Facebook that it will not occur in 2020, despite Fiesta San Antonio being pushed back to November.
The oyster bake says it will hold off until next year’s Fiesta celebration in April 2021.
Since its introduction in 1891, Fiesta has been celebrated every year except 1918 during World War I and 1942-1945 during World War II, according to the Fiesta Commission.
At a news conference held Friday, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said a “fall time frame was selected to provide enough time or the COVID-19 pandemic to subside.”
We have concluded that the tradition of Fiesta must continue but on different dates. The unknown health risks for celebrating Fiesta in late April require a postponement until the late Fall. November 5-15, 2020 is our new date. pic.twitter.com/mkHwtplAru— Fiesta San Antonio (@FiestaSA) March 13, 2020
“It’s a party with a purpose and the party will go on,” Nirenberg said.
The Fiesta Commission’s executive director Amy Shaw said the decision to postpone Fiesta until November was made at an executive committee meeting Friday morning.
The postponement comes 30 minutes after the city announced the first travel-related case of COVID-19 was confirmed in San Antonio. This case is not connected to the evacuees at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. Mayor Ron Nirenberg extended the local public health emergency for 7 days and prohibited public gatherings of more than 500 people.
The two-week event, one of the largest in the state, draws hundreds of thousands of people to downtown San Antonio, including the thousands of volunteers who work the more than 100 events.
“Each fiesta event is organized and run by a different nonprofit. The meeting this afternoon will address the specialized needs of people who have already purchased tickets,” Shaw said.
In response to a question about other events taking place in the city in November, Nirenberg whose attempted to allay community panic over the pandemic, quipped, "San Antonio a town that can’t have more than one party at the same time? We’re in a constant state of celebration.”
Fiesta is one of several major events across the world that are being canceled or postponed due to fears of the spread of COVID-19. Officials said they wanted to do what they can to prevent community spread of the virus during the event.
COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.
Most local schools and universities have been postponed over fear of COVID-19.
Fiesta isn’t the only event impacted by the coronavirus. SXSW 2020, the arts and technology festival scheduled to take place March 13-22 in Austin, was canceled as a precaution amid coronavirus concerns.
Locally, multiple events have been canceled. View the full list here.
Fiesta was scheduled to take place April 16 through the 26. So far, there is no word on when the event might be rescheduled.
Fiesta started in 1891 when a group of San Antonio citizens honored the heroes of the Alamo and Battle of San Jacinto with the first Battle of Flowers Parade.
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