Another textile art.

I posted this link originally at MamaDrama, but the Mamas there simply didn’t get it. I think most of my visitors here will, what with almost all of us being insane fiber artists.

The Court of the Splendors of Fire and Ice.

It is Fiesta time once again in San Antonio. In addition to cheap beer, dancing with said cheap beer, cascarones, and stick food, Fiesta is all about the gowns.

There is just an amazing amount of artistry that goes into these dresses, especially the trains (which of course are the showpiece). I have no doubt an entire year’s work goes into the embroidery of these dresses. They are brand-new every year, and it is always a great thing when an exhibition of the older ones is put on somewhere. (Usually you’ll see them at the Witte, but I remember once seeing them in a display at North Star Mall–home of the iconic giant cowboy boots.)

Of course, it is a great honor to be chosen to wear one of these gowns; it’s a daydream of many a young San Antonio chica, but of course unless you are from one of the city’s richest families you’ll never have a chance. Nonetheless, these women are our own royalty–along with King Antonio and El Rey Feo, and of course Miss Fiesta–and people camp out literally a week in advance for the Battle of the Flowers parade, which is your best chance to see them. (Side note: all public schools in the city close down on the day this parade takes place; it’s that important!) Since these gowns are so elaborate they are very very heavy, and the women wear their most comfortable shoes underneath; therefore it is tradition to shout “Show us your sneaks!” as no one can get enough of the contrast of wearing athletic shoes with these gowns, apparently.

It is one of many things that make San Antonio San Antonio. Most of the year we are a huge tourist city, but for these ten days it’s all about us. The mayor, Phil Hardberger, described it as the ten days we take a collective vacation from thinking. Of course, tourists do participate, and no one really minds, but it’s by us & for us, which is quite refreshing.


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