City Calls for a Cleaner, Fitter, Friendlier Fiesta

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Councilmember Roberto Treviño (D1) shouts "¡Viva Fiesta! "after giving a speech about keeping Fiesta green, fit, and friendly. Photo by Joan Vinson.

Councilmember Roberto Treviño (D1) shouts "¡Viva Fiesta! "after giving a speech about keeping Fiesta green, fit, and friendly. Photo by Joan Vinson.

San Antonio turns into one big party during the 11-day Fiesta celebration in April. But this year, the City is making a concerted effort with the Fiesta San Antonio Commission and Keep San Antonio Beautiful to encourage festival goers to not only pick up after themselves, but make more environmentally friendly choices in general.

Almost every year, there’s a call for a cleaner Fiesta. This year, hopefully, will represent a more united front, aligning organizations and resources with the commission’s Fiesta Verde program.

Litter lines Broadway near the I-35 overpass the morning after the Fiesta Flambeau Parade. Photo by Robert Rivard.

Litter lines Broadway near the I-35 overpass the morning after the Fiesta Flambeau Parade in 2014. Photo by Robert Rivard.

About 3.5 million people will participate in Fiesta events April 16-26, and it’s no secret that many of those people will be drinking alcohol during most of them – and with drunk people comes poor decisions, whether it be drunk driving, littering, unhealthy eating, etc.

To help combat these tendencies, the collaborative came up with a set of initiatives to get people to be green, fit, and friendly.

Fiesta Commission President Fernando Reyes said he is asking participating organizations to comply with city ordinances to make San Antonio a more environmentally friendly city.

“We are asking (participating businesses and organizations) to recycle, to put out trash cans so that people have the option to put trash in a bin and not on the floor,” he said. “We know it is important to the city, it’s important to the citizens of San Antonio, and it’s important to Fiesta.”

Fiesta San Antonio Commission President Fernando Reyes stands at Market Square to address environmentally friendly options at Fiesta this year. Photo by Joan Vinson.

Fiesta San Antonio Commission President Fernando Reyes stands at Market Square to address environmentally friendly options at Fiesta this year. Photo by Joan Vinson.

This year, Fiesta organizers are encouraging attendees to take alternative means of transportation during the festival. VIA Metropolitan Transit’s new “E” route connects the major locations in downtown San Antonio, such as La Villita, the Convention Center, and Rivercenter Mall.

Mayor Ivy Taylor said walking, bicycling, or securing a designated driver are other good alternatives to drinking and driving.

San Antonio B-cycle, a local bike sharing system, has 55 stations in downtown San Antonio, and members are able to pick up and drop off a bike at any station. Keep an eye out for a rack of grey bikes, which will likely stand out in the sea of bright Fiesta colors.

“My hope is to provide more options for people to experience the rich places that we have (in San Antonio),” said Councilmember Roberto Treviño (D1).

What’s a party without food? Fiesta is notorious for its food stands, and this year, healthier options will be available.

“I want to encourage all of the Fiesta revelers to enjoy some of the healthy options that will also be available at the food booths during the festivities. Your body will thank you afterwards,” Mayor Taylor said.

Mayor Ivy Taylor addresses the initiatives San Antonio will implement this year at Fiesta. Photo by Joan Vinson.

Mayor Ivy Taylor addresses the green, fit, and friendly initiatives San Antonio will implement this year during Fiesta. Photo by Joan Vinson.

Reyes said the purpose of these initiatives is to give people more choices, whether it’s how they’re getting around, where they’re disposing of trash, or what they are putting into their body.

“We want people to have choices,” he said. “You can enjoy Fiesta and still be fit.”

Reyes added that Fiesta is more than just a big party.

“A lot of people think it’s just another Mardi Gras, but our purpose is a little bit different because we are made up of nonprofit organizations, and during these ten days is when they raise the majority of the money for their cause,” he said.

The commission supports more than 100 local nonprofit groups, civic clubs, and others through parade street chair sales.

“Fiesta is a party with a purpose,” Reyes said.

Featured/top image: Councilmember Roberto Treviño (D1) shouts “¡Viva Fiesta! “after giving a speech about keeping Fiesta green, fit, and friendly. Photo by Joan Vinson. 

Related Stories:

Littertown: Broadway’s Fiesta Hangover

The Fiesta Commission Responds to ‘Littertown’

Fiesta Verde: Teaching Parade-goers to Leave It Like They Found It

Fiesta Excess: When Commemoration Turns Sloppy

4 thoughts on “City Calls for a Cleaner, Fitter, Friendlier Fiesta

  1. Cleaner would be wonderful! But as know that despite our best efforts, there will still be litter, a group of neighborhood kids have already planned a post-Fiesta Basura Bash-style clean up effort (very unofficial, just a group of area families with trash bags picking up trash on the river).

  2. I went to Mardi Gras once and was appalled at the amount of litter after just one parade. Our Siclovias and Fiesta parades are so much cleaner, but we could still improve. In spite of the efforts to hand out those net bags to parade watchers for their trash disposal, they just stick them under their chairs and continue to drop their plastic bottles and cans onto the ground. Maybe we should start showing the children and adults what to do with those bags in ads and live demonstrations with costumed characters. We need a phrase to a drum beat like “Put it in the bag!” The costumed characters could walk down the street prior to the parades accompanied by drums chanting “Put it in the bag!” If we show it to kids in schools and malls, they might be more likely to encourage their family members at the parades. Hey, Shriner clowns, you’ve got a new job in the parade!

  3. At Fiesta last year, I was so ashamed of the lack of respect shown to the honor guards bearing the flag and the Medal of Honor heroes on the floats. So many people not only didn’t stand up, but totally ignored them as they passed by. If teachers could take 5 minutes before Fiesta rolls around to teach some proper flag etiquette, respect for Medal of Honor recipients, and proper trash disposal, our children could encourage the adults in how to act at our parades.

  4. We need to educate people that those net bags handed out at the parades are not for sticking under their chairs while they continue to throw their cans and bottles on the ground. We need a phrase to a drum beat like “Put it in the bag!” If kids see costumed characters saying and doing that, they might get their lazy family members to do it, too. Give the Shriner clowns a new purpose by spreading them out before and during the parade showing everyone how to put the trash into the bags. Send the Puffy Taco and the Ballepeno to the malls and sports games to spread the word.

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