Neighborhood Heroes Remembered at the King William Fair

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The King William Fair, an official Fiesta® San Antonio event, has grown from a small block party to a street festival encompassing over a dozen blocks of the picturesque and historic King William neighborhood. As the primary fundraiser for the King William Association, the Fair’s mission is to support the arts, education, and community improvements with family fun in Texas’ first residential historic neighborhood. Although the scale and attendance of the Fair have steadily grown since our debut in 1968, we still maintain the charm of a handcrafted event thanks to the vision and hospitality of thousands of residents, vendors, staff, and volunteers.

When you stroll through our neighborhood on Fair Day, you may wonder about the names given to certain Fair sites and activities, such as “Pat’s Pub,” “Julia’s Veranda,” “Ilse’s Attic,” and “Wrangle On, Sue.” Over the years, the Fair has chosen to recognize a few gone-but-not-forgotten King William residents and volunteers who have left an indelible imprint on our neighborhood. It’s yet another way to honor those who have gone before us and to keep their memories alive.

Pat’s Pub honors Pat Sodke, who moved to the neighborhood in the 1970s and lived at 311 Mission Street from 1990 until his death in 1995. He was the Fair’s beer chair for several years. Through his construction business, Pat remodeled about 40 houses in our area. When Pat had his fatal heart attack, he had his saw in hand, doing the work he loved. 

Julia’s Veranda honors Julia Cauthorn, who moved to the Sartor House at 217 King William in 1973. She was a passionate supporter of the local performing arts and on many Sunday afternoons hosted musicales in her home, serving refreshments on her veranda. She was also an ardent preservationist. Julia died in 2000 at the age of 82.

Ilse’s Attic honors Ilse Griffith, who attended Bonham Elementary (now Bonham Academy) and who graduated with Brackenridge High School’s first graduating class in 1916. She lived at 422 East Guenther from 1973 until she died in 1999 at age 99. She was our King William Association board president (1974-1976) and served as Fair Chair for two consecutive years (1973-1974).

Wrangle On, Sue honors Sue Duffy, who was Chief Parade Wrangler from 2007 until her death in 2017. Although Sue did not live in the neighborhood, she devoted countless hours to curating and cultivating our King William Fair Parade into a citywide favorite. Sue was also a former Fair performer (Irish dance) and loved spending time in the neighborhood.

The King William neighborhood and Fair take their name from King William Street. In turn, the street was named by early German settlers for King Wilhelm I, King of Prussia in the 1870s. During World War I, when the United States was at war with Germany, the name was changed to Pershing Avenue. A few years after the war ended, the King William name was restored.

We look forward to celebrating our shared San Antonio history with you at this year’s King William Fair on Saturday, April 27, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the King William Historic District. You don’t want to miss one of the best family-friendly Fiesta events, featuring our funky Parade that steps off at 9 a.m., 200 arts and crafts vendors, 75 food and beverage vendors, five entertainment stages, Artists Alley experiences, and Kids Kingdom activities.

For tickets and more information, visit kwfair.org.

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