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Charities & Medals

It’s that time of year again when we get our Fiesta bling out, put on our most colorful clothes and hats, and hit the party circuit. Fiesta is April 18-28 this year, with the signature events – Battle of Flowers on April 26, the Fiesta Flambeau parade on April 27 and a Night in Old San Antonio or NIOSA from April 23-April 26. Fiesta is often called the “Party with a Purpose” because each event benefits scholarships and charitable organizations.

For instance, the Texas Cavaliers have given more than $8 million to Texas charities such as Haven for Hope, Healy Murphy and the San Antonio Council on Alcohol and Drug Awareness. At MissionFest, the parishioners of Mission San Jose Church raised $80,000 at its event in 2016 – equal to what the church could make from at least 16 Sunday collection baskets, said the San Antonio Report.

For many groups, Fiesta’s impact can make or break their survival another year. The Fiesta Commission also supports about 100 smaller local nonprofits, like Scout troops and civic clubs, by donating street chair sales for the Fiesta Flambeau and Battle of Flowers parades. The Commission said chair sales combined can reach up to $1 million that it will then distribute to its vast list of charities. And the charitable giving from Fiesta has only been increasing over the years since the 10-day event typically contributes an economic impact of more than $340 million annually to the local economy and attracts more than 2.5 million visitors.

Fiesta medals are another way for organizations, especially nonprofits, to raise even more money. Many groups give away or sell their medals to anyone who wants to showcase their medal bling on Fiesta sashes. In the Alamo City, you are not Fiesta-legit unless you are wearing not one but several Fiesta medals. Like in Mardi Gras, where festival goers trade beads, medal trading is common for Fiesta. It’s said the medals became a Fiesta tradition in 1946 when King Antonio of the Texas Cavaliers first handed out commemorative coins at River Parades and other Fiesta events, according to the San Antonio Express-News.

Over the years, the flamboyant designs of the medal has become even more over the top. It’s not uncommon for medals to be the size of a business card or have a rainbow of colors and trinkets hanging from it. The more extravagant – the better! Many of the medals not only represent an organization but will represent a cause, history, culture or sport.

They also range in price from high to low, somewhat reasonable to free. On the website, visitors can easily buy medals from $12 to $15. There’s a “Wemby” or Spurs’ Victor Wembanyama medal for $15 that everyone should have as part of their Spurs collection of medals. Fiesta enthusiasts can also buy medals online at the Fiesta San Antonio’s website. Currently the Battle of Flowers Wild Flower Media for $10 is already sold out.

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