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Fiesta San Antonio Commission President said safety is leading factor in moving events to June

Baltazar "Walter" Serna said cancelling Fiesta 2020 was a "huge blow" to the local economy.

SAN ANTONIO — Don’t look for Fiesta medals anytime soon.

The Fiesta San Antonio Commission announced the annual party with a purpose is being pushed back to the summer.

Fiesta 2021 will kick off on June 17 and last through June 27.

“The pandemic is still here, still causing havoc in our community, and in the interests of putting safety first, and that’s always been our goal, so we decided to postpone until June,” said Baltazar “Walter” Serna, President of the Fiesta SA Commission.

Serna said they made the decision after consulting with city officials, and a health expert from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Dr. Marty Makary, who was hired by the commission.

Serna said Makary has also consulted with HEB and the San Antonio Spurs.

“When you take into account people being vaccinated, people who have already had the infection or the virus, he felt like June, based on his projections, was the safest time to do that,” said Serna.

Serna said the commission has been working on a back-up plan for the last six months.

The cancellation of Fiesta in 2020, the first time the event has been cancelled since World War II, had a devastating impact, according to Serna.

“It’s a huge blow to the city. That’s $400 million that we lost last year when we didn’t put this event on, and so I think about all the small businesses that rely on Fiesta,” said Serna.

Although most of the Fiesta events will happen this year, a few have been cancelled.

On Monday, organizers with the Fiesta Flambeau and Battle of Flowers parades announced cancellations.

Oyster Bake organizers had already announced the cancellation of that event that draws thousands.

“I will tell you that the majority of big events are participating,” said Serna.  “I know the parades were going to be a challenge for them because you have 250,000 people that attend the Battle of Flowers, 750,000 who attend the night parade.”

Serna said the commission decided on the summer months because more venues and space are available in anticipation of conventions and other larger events scheduling events in November when health experts predict a lessening of the virus.

Serna also said November is too quick of a turn-around between November and March when Fiesta 2022 is scheduled, and is a challenge for the participating member organizations.

“It’s going to be an early start to have to do November first and then turn around and do a March 31 Fiesta and it would be tough for some of our non-profits to do that,” said Serna.

He said they are working on another back-up plan in the case the event can’t happen in June, but said he’s optimistic all will go as planned.

“We have to find a way to put Fiesta on in 2021 in a safe manner. Again, it’s safety first,” said Serna.  “If June doesn’t look safe, the we wouldn’t proceed, and we’d find another alternative.”