You would have thought people were expecting a flood. In a sense you'd be right: a flood of people. that's because the City of San Antonio suspends curfew at certain parks over the Easter weekend to allow for campers to set up tents. It's a tremendously popular thing to do. So, if you want to mark off your turf, the tradition is to chain a chair to a tree or picnic table, and thus secure your favorite spot.
San Antonians like Roxanne Hernandez have been celebrating Easter in Brackenridge Park for years. It takes her about two months to do the planning for the big day - or shall I say, week.
Her family has taken this spot for the last 15 years. To make sure they get the exact location, Roxanne and her family arrived on Monday.
"All the aunts and uncles already know where it is," says Roxanne.
But, they aren't allowed to stay overnight until Thursday, so they chain chairs to the picnic tables and leave when the park closes. But, they must return early the next morning to make certain they keep their place. This goes on each day until Thursday when, at last, they can pitch a tent. In this case, they will pitch eight tents for the group that will stake down the area and wait it out peacefully until Easter Sunday rolls around.
"We just keep trying to keep it together," Roxanne's voice shakes as she tells how the tradition began with her uncle who is now deceased.
This family tradition like so many others at the park includes: an Easter egg hunt, Easter egg toss, kickball, race-ball and plenty of eats.
Nearby, Anthony Mendiola and his family have also been staking their claim since Monday. For them, the tradition goes back five years. Anthony show me around the site, pointing out the cooking area, that is sunny now, but as dinnertime approaches is richly shaded. The Mendiolas like the spot near the edge of the park. It is next to the creek where they take the kids to do a little fishing. That is separate from the Friday night fish fry that is the family's tradition.
Anthony says some campers bring out their own porta-potties. For Anthony, that extra $130 expense is unnecessary since he says the city brings out extra facilities each year - and keeps them very clean.
Anthony's family sets up a huge volleyball net that accommodates two teams of ten. He says at night the ducks come up from the creek and beg for a few midnight snacks.
The Occupy San Antonio activists also found a terrific spot to tent. I found them wading barefoot in the cool, shady creek. They are calling this weekend's event "Occupy the Sun." They say it's a more low-key, relaxed atmosphere to show what occupying would ideally be like if they were allowed to stay in HemisFair Park.
And that's the way it goes all along Brackenridge Park for the remainder of the week. Campers are pitching tents, napping under the tall canopy of trees along the San Antonio River, holding down the fort until everyone arrives: the family, the friends, the children...and the Easter Bunny.