The roots of San Antonio’s renowned Fiesta festival have been a Texas tradition since 1891. Fiesta celebrates those who fought at The Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto where the cry, “Remember the Alamo,” helped win the day, and Texas’ independence from Mexico.
What began as a small memorial parade has since expanded into an 11-day party with hundreds of events that draw tourists from across Texas and the rest of the country. But the people Fiesta is really meant for are the citizens of San Antonio, including the residents of the city’s premiere senior living community, Blue Skies of Texas.
Blue Skies of Texas Celebrates Fiesta
Happily, Blue Skies has its own personal connection to Fiesta in the guise of Senior Marketing Counselor Freddie Cervera, who also happens to be one of the 21 Commissioners in charge of the festival. And while the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted Fiesta, including forcing the entire event to be cancelled in 2020, Freddie is very much hoping this year will signal a return to normalcy.
Freddie says, “Everybody’s very excited and looking forward to Fiesta. We’ll have to wait and see if we have the numbers. Usually, the River Parade attracts about 750,000 people, The Battle of Flowers about 500,000, and the Flambeaux attracts another 750,000. We’ll just have to see how comfortable people are being out.”
Does that include the residents of Blue Skies? According to Freddie, absolutely. “We’ll have several group outings throughout Fiesta which may include the parades, fairs and certainly the Mexican rodeo. There are residents who will get together on their own and decide to go to the coronation of the queen by The Order of The Alamo, or one of the numerous parades. We encourage that.”
“We want residents to stay involved in the community,” Freddie continues, “to take advantage of all San Antonio has to offer. Let’s face it, the residents of Blue Skies have lived all over the world. They’ve all had such amazing careers and experiences in their lives. They’re used to challenges like what we’ve faced over the past couple of years. You know, we already have residents traveling together on cruises. They’ll get together in groups and go to Alaska or the Caribbean. They’re anxious to get out. They don’t want to be tied to their apartments. They didn’t come to Blue Skies for that. They came to socialize, mix and mingle. They came here to relate to people that have similar lifestyles, backgrounds and experiences.”
And like the rest of San Antonio, the residents of Blue Skies of Texas have their own Fiesta celebration. “We set up our own fair with food booths and things of that nature,” Freddie says, smiling at the thought. “The residents love Mexican food. We also have a live Mariachi band coming. That will happen during Fiesta week. It’s kind of like NIOSA, which is a popular street fair in San Antonio, only ours is a somewhat smaller version.”
“A lot of family and friends will come in for the weekend to attend Fiesta with the residents,” he continues. “That’s another wonderful thing about Blue Skies. Family and friends can stay in the residences with their parents or relatives. But we also have very economically priced guest rooms as well. It’s certainly cheaper than any hotel in downtown San Antonio, especially during the 11 days of Fiesta.”
Celebrating Fiesta is simply one example of the festivities Blue Skies residents participate in throughout the year. “We celebrate pretty much every holiday,” Freddie says. “On Valentine’s Day we held a dinner and dance. Recently, we had a big cowboy breakfast for the residents at both campuses. They dressed up in their Western finery, came down, and were served breakfast tacos.”
“For Cinco de Mayo,” Freddie muses, “we have the employees decorate their cars and hold street parades around the campus. We have special menus. And, of course, we’re bringing the Mariachis back again. It’s kind of funny, celebrating Mexican independence so close to Fiesta, which celebrates the Battle of San Jacinto and Texan independence from Mexico. Even so, they kind of go hand in hand.”
“For Christmas,” he continues, “there’s a big toy drive for kids and whoever else may be in need. All the residents contribute. We just had a birthdays and anniversaries dinner that featured an Irish theme for St. Patrick’s Day. There’ll be a big Easter brunch buffet for Easter.”
Freddie says, “Blue Skies of Texas may just be the best land-based cruise ship you’ll ever wanna live on.”