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NIOSA's 75th birthday is the biggest party of Fiesta

Over 150 booths will serve thousands of revelers at A Night in Old San Antonio, which celebrates the city's unique history and raises money for conservation efforts.

SAN ANTONIO — Fiesta's biggest party is even bigger this year as A Night In Old San Antonio celebrates 75 years of raising money to preserve the history of the Alamo City.

Over 150 booths will serve tens of thousands of revelers at A Night in Old San Antonio. The four-day street festival kicked off Tuesday night in La Villita, a historic village built downtown in the 1800s. Expect large crowds turning out to enjoy live music and a staggering variety of food and drink. 

Organizers say they raise about a million dollars a year, all for a good cause.

"NIOSA is the top fundraiser for historic preservation in the nation and truly lives up to its motto of a 'Celebration for Preservation,'" the Conservation Society of San Antonio said. "Funds raised enable the Conservation Society to continue its mission of preserving historic buildings, objects, places and customs relating to the history of Texas and all that is admirably distinctive to the state."

The food is all prepared and served by volunteers, and some of it is completely unique to NIOSA. The festival is split into 14 different cultural areas, all with different food options. Of course there will be plenty of Mexican food, margaritas, micheladas and mangonadas, and barbecue fans won't be disappointed.

Food on a stick is king, and chicken on a stick reigns supreme. Don't count out the antichuchosin the Mexican Market, the beef is incredibly tender.

Want a bratwurst and a German beer in a stein? Sauerkraut Bend is where you'll find them. The sausage sampler offers four different flavors, and they're all delicious.

In the mood for fish and chips? Hit Irish Flat. 

If you're feeling a po-boy or étouffée, or you're brave enough to try some escargot, the French Quarter can meet your needs. 

China Town will have lemon chicken, yakitori, and a sure-to-be-eccentric offering called a mandarin mimosa. See what we mean by unique?

Credit: Conservation Society of San Antonio
Credit: Conservation Society of San Antonio

There are enough different things to try that you could go to every night of NIOSA, eat something new until you're full each night and still not come close to sampling all of it. Each year, about 85,000 guests join the party.

"On average, NIOSA revelers annually consume over 17,000 lbs. of beef; 11,000 lbs. of chicken; 5,000 lbs. of sausage; 3,000 turkey legs; 25,000 buns, rolls and bolillos; 30,000 tortillas; 2,000 lbs. of masa; 6,000 tamales; 15,000 lbs. of fruits and vegetables; and 1,000 lbs. of guacamole," organizers said.

KENS 5 will be there taking in the party and handing out our Fiesta Forecast medals. Look for our teal shirts and say hello! 

Speaking of the forecast, the main chance for storms is north of the city on Tuesday night and it should be cloudy with temps in the 70s at NIOSA. There was a bit of rain for a few minutes, but it didn't last.

Tickets are $25 at the gate, but H-E-B sells them for $20. Paper coupons are being used to pay for food and drinks, and all transactions to get coupons will be in cash. A sheet of 20 coupons is $20, and there are plenty of ATMs on the grounds.

Large bags are prohibited, and clear bags are encouraged. Guests are asked not to bring weapons, pets that are not service animals, strollers, outside food, drones, folding chairs, or things like scooters and skateboards. 

Parking rates nearby vary, and VIA's Park & Ride service is also an option. Gates open at 5:30 p.m., and the event closes at 10:30 p.m. Alcohol sales stop at 10 p.m. Please drink responsibly, and make sure you have a safe ride home.


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