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NIOSA brings variety of tastes, cultures, music to La Villita

The four-night party began Tuesday in downtown San Antonio.

SAN ANTONIO — One of Fiesta’s premier events began Tuesday evening in downtown San Antonio, so prepare your flower crowns, senses of culture and appetites.

A Night in Old San Antonio (NIOSA) brings over a dozen musical acts and 200 food booths to La Villita. No fewer than 15 distinct themed areas – including China Town, French Quarter, South of the Border and Frontier Town – will feature their own tastes, colors and party spirit from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.

Craving some karaoke and cotton candy? Head on over to Clown Alley. How about some Irish music and Blarney bacon? Irish Flat has got it for ya. Feeling nostalgic about your grandmother’s food? Get to the Mexican Market for frijoles, tamales and fajitas. 

More than 10,000 volunteers bring the four-night festival to life. The Gonzales family have made it a family fiesta tradition, serving up Queso de Flamado in the Mexican Market. 

“We started when I was 19 years of age, and I'm 70," Gilbert "Spider" Gonzales said.

All the proceeds go towards The San Antonio Conservation Society to help preserve the history that stands on every corner. 

“That’s how it started, all these old buildings here. They want to rebuild them and keep the heritage here San Antonio," Gonzales said, "and that’s what we got here: La Villita, the best place in town.”

Tickets at the door cost $15, but you can buy them online for $12 to save a couple of bucks for food and drink. Children 12 and under can get in for free, and the event goes on rain or shine (and if you’re thinking about attending Wednesday, it might be a good idea to bring an umbrella).