San Antonio´s 121st Celebration is full of Paegentry
By Jake Gaines
Photography by Greg Harrison
This year’s Fiesta promised to be a show-stopper and everyone agrees it was the annual celebration’s best year ever. Fiesta always supports so many philanthropies and scholarships and adds much to the city’s economy. There are parties and pageantry that lasts for several days and nights, including the infamous Battle of the Flowers parade through downtown, directed by the Battle of Flowers Association, founded in1891 where Fiesta began, with business tycoon Ed Whitacre as the Grand Marshal.
The theme this year? It was The Order of the Alamo honors the Court of The Wondrous Metropolis, A Celebration of Cities that provided the regal touch to the festivities. According to this years Fiesta experts, the theme is derived from the ancient magnificence of Persepolis and Pompeii tot he oriental allure of Bangkok and Kyoto to the vivid richness of Taxco and Paris, this year’s Wondrous Metropolis theme is a royal tribute to great cities; ancient, legendary and contemporary.
Fiesta’s gowns are legendary and this year was no different. The dazzling gowns and crowns and grand trains adorned with opulent jewels, beads, and sequins emphasized the grand festivities that unfolded at the regal Majestic Theatre downtown. The themes for the heavily bejeweled gowns ranged from a spectrum of nature, music, dance, art and architecture… all depicted on the one-of-a-kind garments that provided the landscape telling the story of metropolises from the edges of oceans to the banks of a river.
Directed by Mistress of the Robes, Susannah McAllister, the always-extravagant pageant featured Queen Kahler Elizabeth Biedenharn and Princess Ryla Caroline Peacock, with their court of 21 duchesses, including 10 from out of town and 11 San Antonioians. It was, to say the least, an evening filled with beautiful women and their handsome escorts performing their regal duties. The Lord High Chamberlain, Robert Reed Bentley, was integral to this year’s festivities. To preside at the Coronation of the Queen, His Excellency, Stanton Paul Bell, Jr., President of The Order of The Alamo was on-hand every step of the way, too.
The 2012 Coronation Chairman was Shawn Gulley and all the work that went into the festivities, almost a year into the making, was worth the impact the events had on privileged San Antonio.
Doing good deeds like it does with every Fiesta, The Texas Cavaliers’ Charitable Foundation, distributed over $200,000 to local children’s charities this year bringing the total given by the Foundation, since its inception to over $2,400,000.
Other presiding royalty who steward the celebrations so effectively were 2012’s King Antonio XC, Thomas M. Green and Rey Feo, The People’s King, Richard Ojeda. Plans are already well into the works for 2013’s grand celebration and we look forward to being a part of that, too.