By Jennifer Luna
Each dollar spent during Fiesta funds scholarships and charities.
There are 100 official scholarship events for Fiesta, and each event is sponsored by a local nonprofit or a military organization.
Dustin Turner, director of communications and consumer marketing of the Fiesta San Antonio Commission, said there are 3.7 million people who attend at least one Fiesta event, and 20 percent of them are from out of town.
Turner said each royalty during Fiesta serves a purpose.
King Antonio gives charity to children and this year will donate half a million dollars to charities. King Antonio is part of the Texas Cavaliers, a group founded in 1926 by John B. Carrington. The Cavaliers have sponsored the River Parade since 1941. During the parade, 45 floats sail the San Antonio River and draws about 250,000 people each year. Money earned from the parade goes to the Texas Cavaliers Charitable fund to support children’s charities and organizations. So far, they have raised about $2 million in 20 years, according to texascavaliers.org. In 2012, they raised $200,000 and helped 900 children through donations and supporting programs across the city. The Cavaliers include more than 500 business, civic and community leaders who promote the courage of the men who fought at the Alamo.
Miss Fiesta also makes a presence during Fiesta. Linda Skop, program coordinator of the Fiesta San Antonio Commission said this year’s Miss Fiesta was chosen based on her platform; she works at Gold’s Gym and will advocate health and fitness.
El Rey Feo, The Ugly King, comes from a medieval tradition in which peasants would select a king of their own for a day. The first King crowned was in 1947, and candidates for the title raise money for college students.
This year El Rey Feo is going to schools advocating the importance of education, Turner said. According to reyfeoscholarship.com, the Rey Feo Scholarship fund has raised over $3 million in scholarships for students pursuing higher education since 1947.
La Reina de la Feria de las Flores is part of the Rey Feo scholarship, a multigenerational scholarship, Turner said.
Royalty visits schools, nursing homes and Fiesta events.
Fiesta generates $284 million to the local economy.
“What is unique about Fiesta is each event is put on by a local nonprofit and we partner with those nonprofits,” Turner said. “We call it party with a purpose; it’s 11 days, but the effects are all year round.”