6th anniversary of San Antonio Missions as UNESCO World Heritage Site celebrated with festival

The festival will take place Sept. 8-12

The World Heritage Festival is slated for Sept. 8-12.
The World Heritage Festival is slated for Sept. 8-12. (Live From the Southside Magazine)

SAN ANTONIOEditor’s note: This story was published through a partnership between KSAT and Live From the Southside, a new local- and Latina-owned magazine that works to improve & expand community relationships through promoting events, stories and businesses.

Love the missions? Mark your calendars for the City of San Antonio’s World Heritage Festival happening Sept. 8-12. The festival will feature outdoor events and virtual program offerings to celebrate San Antonio’s historic missions as the first and only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Texas.

“The traditions and shared history that began thousands of years ago and evolved with the many ethnic groups over time have created the San Antonio we live in today,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. “Our historic San Antonio missions are a reminder of the influences that have helped make San Antonio a unique and authentic city. We must continue to honor that historical and cultural legacy because San Antonio heritage, is indeed, world heritage.”

The World Heritage Festival is slated for Sept. 8-12. (Live From the Southside Magazine)

For the safety of the community during the current pandemic, all events will take place outdoors and attendees are encouraged to wear face coverings and practice social distancing. Virtual offerings and programs that individuals and their families can do on their own, such as outdoor exhibits, will also be available.

This year’s festival will also include the return of Restored by Light, a special Sept. 11 commemoration in tribute to San Antonio’s military and first responders, a celebration of the city’s Sister City relationship with Darmstadt, Germany, and more!

The World Heritage Festival is slated for Sept. 8-12. (Live From the Southside Magazine)

The festival was established in 2016 to commemorate the anniversary of the World Heritage Site inscription by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2015. The festival provides an opportunity for residents and visitors to celebrate San Antonio’s unique history, heritage and culture.

San Antonio’s five Spanish Colonial missions — San Jose, San Juan, Espada, Concepcion, and The Alamo — remain the first and only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Texas, and one of 24 in the country. This year, Missions San Juan, Espada and Concepcion celebrated their 290th anniversary.

The festival is possible each year through the efforts and contributions of many collaborative partners, including Bexar County, San Antonio River Authority, National Parks Conservation Association, The Alamo, National Park Service, Las Misiones, Mission Heritage Partners, and various City of San Antonio departments.

The World Heritage Festival is slated for Sept. 8-12. (Live From the Southside Magazine)

This year’s schedule of events includes (events are free unless otherwise noted):

Outdoor Events:

Wednesday, Sept. 8

  • Darmstadt: Projection/Projektion, 7-9 p.m., Mission Marquee Plaza, 3100 Roosevelt Ave.: Join us for a media arts exhibit presented by Blue Star Contemporary and Darmstädter Sezession. The evening includes short films by local and Darmstadt artists. Celebrate contemporary art from these two sister cities and enjoy meeting artists, art kits, food trucks, and refreshments. Videos included in the program were selected through competitive open calls held by each organization. From a shortlist of artists, one San Antonio artist will be awarded $6,000 and announced at Thursday’s event!

Thursday, Sept. 9

  • Darmstadt: Projection/Projektion, 7-9 p.m. Mission Marquee Plaza, 3100 Roosevelt Ave.: Blue Star Contemporary along with Darmstädter Sezession present an evening of short films by local and Darmstadt artists. Celebrate contemporary art from these two sister cities and enjoy meeting artists, art kits, food trucks and refreshments. Videos included in the program were selected through competitive open calls held by each organization. From a shortlist of artists, one San Antonio artist will be awarded $6,000 and announced at this event!

Friday, Sept. 10

  • Restored by Light, 6-10 p.m., Mission San Jose, 6701 San Jose Drive: The Office of Historic Preservation’s popular event Restored by Light returns to Mission San Jose with family-friendly activities and entertainment. Bring a picnic or enjoy snacks from the food truck court. Before dark, enjoy kids’ activities and a ballet folklorico performance from the San Antonio Parks & Recreation Dance Program. At dark, the façade of Mission San Jose will be restored to its original frescoed appearance using projection technology illumination. This year, students from SAISD schools will also be displaying original artwork on the mission façade. This event is 100% outdoors, and masks or face coverings are required to enter the event grounds. Celebrate our local heritage with food, music, and fun!

Saturday, Sept. 11

  • Tour de las Misiones, 7 a.m.-Noon, Mission Park Pavilion, 6030 Padre Drive. Registration fees range from $15-30. The Tour de las Misiones Bike Ride, Walk and Run begins and ends at Mission Park Pavilion. The events will include a leisurely ride ranging from 7- to 22-miles with stops at each mission and an enjoyable 5 or 10K walk and run through the scenic river reach and Mission San Jose. Participants who register by Aug. 30 are guaranteed to receive a commemorative finisher’s medal, runner’s bib, passport, and T-shirt. Immediately following the Tour de las Misiones, participants can enjoy music by DJ Steven Moya and local artists to highlight the distinct and diverse spirit of our city. The event will feature local artisans, community organizations, food vendors, music, and more. Military discount is available using code MILITARY at checkout for $5 off. The tour is presented by the City of San Antonio’s World Heritage Office, Bexar County, the San Antonio River Authority, America’s Walking Club, South Texas Off Road Mountain Bikers, SATX Social Ride, and IAAPWEB.
  • Music and Movie Under the Stars, 6-10 p.m., Mission Marquee Plaza, 3100 Roosevelt Ave.: The World Heritage Office and its collaborative partners present the 2nd annual Music and Movie Under the Stars, with a tribute in remembrance of Sept. 11. Celebrate our local heritage with food, music, and fun, and connect with our military historians, veterans and first responders to learn about our city’s rich history. Bring your lawn chairs, blankets, and picnics to enjoy a free screening of the Superman favorite, “Man of Steel,” shortly after dusk. This free family-friendly event will be filled with fun interactive activities, pop-up vendors, food trucks, and refreshments.

Sunday, Sept. 12:

  • El Camino de San Antonio: Caring for Creation Outdoor Mass, 8 a.m., Mission Espada, 10040 Espada Road: Join Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSPS, to celebrate the “Season of Creation” with a Mariachi Mass at Mission Espada followed by a walk in support of God’s creation on the river trail to Mission San Juan. Bring your water bottles and comfortable shoes. Enjoy tacos, paletas, and coffee.

Virtual and Individual Programs:

  • Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt Outdoor Exhibit, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, Mission Marquee Plaza, 3100 Roosevelt Ave.: View online at www.worldheritagefestival.org. In celebration of the Sister Cities relationship signed in 2017 between San Antonio and Darmstadt, the City of Science in Germany, both cities have come together to present this exhibition of photos from the Mathildenhöhe Darmstadt, a historic ensemble of buildings and parks. Darmstadt’s famous Mathildenhöhe was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2021, just like the San Antonio Missions were in 2015.
  • World Heritage Mural Trail Tour, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, various locations in the World Heritage Area. View online and download the free brochure at www.worldheritagefestival.org. The City of San Antonio Department of Arts & Culture and World Heritage Office collaborated with community partners and other city departments to develop a multi-site public art project throughout the World Heritage Area. The mural trail is a series of functional murals that also provide an aesthetic vision that reflects the rich history and culture of the missions, people and neighborhoods within the area. The project includes installations at Stinson Municipal Airport; Villamain Road at the Loop 410 underpass; Mission Parkway at Southeast Military Road; and U.S. Hwy 90 at Roosevelt Avenue, Steves Avenue, Mission Road, and Presa Street.
  • World Heritage Audio Tours. Listen online and download the free brochure at www.worldheritagefestival.org. Explore The Alamo and San Antonio Missions National Historical Park online from the comfort of your home or use the special audio tours to accompany your in-person visit. Information about the historic missions is available at www.worldheritagesa.com.

This article initially appeared on Live from the Southside.

Do you know of someone or something on the South Side that deserves some news coverage? Let us know in the prompt below.

Read more content by Live From The South Side Magazine: