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Fiesta kicks off with a colorful blast in downtown San Antonio

The community released over a year of angst and anxiety with chicken-on-a-stick and creative costumes.

SAN ANTONIO — Fiesta 2021 officially kicked off Thursday, 27 months after the last time San Antonio's biggest party hit Alamo City streets before the pandemic. 

Hundreds attended Fiesta Fiesta at Hemisfair Park, where colors, food and puro San Antonio vibes were in abundance. 

A group of women with the "Rat Hats" were decked out in their Fiesta gear. One told us she had been waiting to get her hands on a coveted Fiesta treat. 

"I have waited so long for this chicken on a stick." she said. "It is great." It is a relief. It is a relief. It feels so good to be here." 

The Fiesta foods, the bright colors, and overly large fiesta hats and medals are taking over the streets of San Antonio.

It has been a long time for San Antonians, after an extra-long year. 

Michael Perez arrived wearing his Fiesta swag adorned with San Antonio Spurs decorations. 

"Spurs and Fiesta go hand in hand," he said.

In a sign of the times, Perez's attention-grabbing hat mashed COVID-19 with a loteria theme—including a square for "La mascara" ("the mask"). Perez is from the Alamo City and shows up every year.

"This is my staycation," he said. "I stay here. I put my money back in the city, buying food and drinks."

The pandemic pushed Fiesta to the hot month of June, instead of its normal April slot. One San Antonian had some advice for trying to beat the heat. 

"Drink lots of water," she said. "Wear comfortable shoes."

This year's 11-day stretch of festivities will feature only half of the normal Fiesta slate of events. If you need a day-by-day primer on what to attend and where, click here