San Antonio Ready to Ring in Year 301 With Local Flair

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Fireworks explode near the Tower of Americas during the 2014 Fourth of July celebration at Hemisfair Park in San Antonio. Photo by Scott Ball.

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

Fireworks explode near the Tower of Americas during the 2014 Fourth of July celebration at Hemisfair.

San Antonio’s 301st year is nearly upon us and to celebrate, the Tricentennial Commission has handed the official New Year’s Eve downtown celebration back to the San Antonio Parks Foundation – the two entities will co-host the event – and this year’s celebration promises to have more of a local feel.

“It’s a testament to where the city’s headed and what’s happening with our arts and culture scene overall,” said Adam Fleming, the parks foundation’s director of marketing and outreach.

Monday’s festivities, called “Celebrate SA,” will focus on local music as the city’s biggest block party features Soulstairs, Adam Madrigal, and the San Antonio chapter of all-female DJ collective Chulita Vinyl Club all performing at the new DJ lounge in Maverick Plaza.

The main stage at Hemisfair will showcase Eddie and the Valiants, the Texases, and The Satisfactions, the light-hearted Rolling Stones tribute act of local notables Garrett T. Capps and D. T. Buffkin.

DJ Red Mamba, also known as former Spurs forward Matt Bonner, will handle sets between main stage acts at Hemisfair.

Fleming noted the all-local music lineup was not a response to last year’s much-criticized Tricentennial celebration, which included REO Speedwagon and Pat Benatar, but instead was how the parks foundation preferred to approach the event.

“It was decided pretty early on that we wanted to bring that back in-house, and to feature artists and acts that live here in San Antonio,” he said. “We wanted to create a fun time, and simplify things a little bit in terms of the programming, and make a big downtown block party.”

Celebrate SA also will serve as the official closing event for the Tricentennial year. Hemisfair’s main stage will be flanked by video screens showing four “highlight reel” videos prepared by the Tricentennial Commission, with help from the parks foundation, of the city’s 300th birthday celebrations from the past year, Fleming said.

Each video will focus on one aspect of the year, including the many events of Commemorative Week, the visit of the King and Queen of Spain, a general highlight reel, and a special thank-you to the volunteers and staff that helped make the Tricentennial happen.

The videos will run continuously throughout the evening, in between the main stage acts.

Other evening events include programming hosted by Spurs Sports & Entertainment at the Arneson River Theater, an H-E-B “Celebrate Family” zone on Villita Street, and fireworks at the Tower of the Americas. The popular Yanaguana Garden also will be open during the evening. 

Celebrate SA will look and feel different from last year’s big party, Fleming said, with better weather – temperatures about 15 degrees warmer than last year are forecast – and a different location. Also, Fleming stressed that while security would not be “wanding” event goers like a year ago, security still will be tight with clear bag policies in effect, bag searches at the entrance, and plenty of security patrolling the grounds. An estimated 75,000 people are expected to attend.

A full schedule and map of the grounds are available here, along with a useful “Frequently Asked Questions” section with details on security, scooters, and parking.

“This is a city-sanctioned free event for the community, with no entrance fee,” Fleming said. “All of San Antonio is invited, and we hope they come.”

2 thoughts on “San Antonio Ready to Ring in Year 301 With Local Flair

  1. I’m very curious to know more about “last year’s much-criticized Tricentennial celebration”. There was a sizable crowd there despite the freezing temperatures. I heard no one criticize the line-up and I heard many wish the temperature hadn’t scared them away. If anything, I heard a lot of criticizing about the lack of a line-up in the months leading up to the celebration and praise for booking a good caliber line-up at such a last minute.

  2. Good thing the City got smart and handed it back to the professionals. The committee had no experience, and it showed. Last year was highly disorganized, included no local acts, and had the worst fire-works display of any seen throughout the years. It was one giant block party for tourists. Big acts and tourists are always welcome in San Antonio, but there’s a time and a place for everything. The tricentennial–which should’ve had a beautiful start–is about a celebration by the San Antonio community for the San Antonio community. Welcome back SA Parks Foundation.

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