Vendors sell happiness to parade onlookers

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Nicholas Hernandez, 17, sells a halo to Frances Lara, an onlooker at the Battle of Flowers parade April 28 on Broadway. Photo by Maria Gardner

Street merchants hawked products to keep cool, satisfy a sweet tooth and add color to Fiesta outfits.

By Maria Gardner

Street vendors trekked the parade route of the Battle of Flowers April 28 seeking profits in the city’s biggest event of the year.

Bubble guns, umbrella hats and flower wreaths filled Mike Mohammed’s shopping cart.

He arrived the night before all the way from Buffalo, N.Y. Mohammed said it’s a chance to get away from the cold.

“It’s a vacation and making money at the same time,” he said.

Mohammed navigated the narrow path between people who sat in fold-up seats on Broadway and the onlookers who staked space under the shade of trees in the limited patch of grass near Grayson Street.

“It’s too hot,” said Maria Correas, long-time resident and grandmother of Austin and Mario.

Mohammed sold all five dozen umbrella hats except the one sitting on his head until he saw Correas’ concerned look and offered the hat on his head.

Correas said she didn’t want Mario holding onto an umbrella because that would be a hassle for the 7-year-old.

“I don’t want him to go through that,” she said.

She said the umbrella hat was the perfect fit because it would protect him from the sun and pull his hair back.

Mohammed turned his focus on the bubble guns.

Fiesta vendor Mike Mohammed shows spectators Alicia Garza and her son, Mario, 6, a bubble gun toy at the Battle of Flowers Parade April 28 on Broadway. Photo by Maria Gardner

“Bubble man, I’m the bubble gun man,” he chanted.

His strut was slower this round on the street, shooting his gun toward the shaded crowd, letting the bubbles float in the air before they popped.

This was enough to entice 6-year-old Felix.

His mother, Alicia Garza, happily complied especially since his birthday was next week.

Mohammed earned 25 percent profit for the merchandise he sold.

“I’m just a worker,” he said. “Quiet mouths don’t eat.”

He was part of a larger crew that was planning to head to Corpus Christi on Sunday.

Michael Hernandez, 17, sold handmade halos and crossed paths with Mohammed.

He carried a T-shaped pole filled with purple, yellow, green and gold tassels and glit-ter halos — the must-have fashion piece for Fiesta partygoers.

His mother spent all night making them, he said.

The simpler ones sold for $1, the more elaborate sold for $5.

Without a hat to protect him from the brutal sun, sweat slid down Hernandez’s face as he stopped to sell his goods to onlookers in seats.

Nasrin Zabihian, a visitor from Iran, said she bought one because she wanted to dress the part for Fiesta.

Her son, a student at UTSA, dropped her off to enjoy the parade while he continued to study for his final exams.

She thought her first Battle of Flowers parade brought a lot of happiness to onlookers.

“I wish every human be happy and be in peace,” Zabihian said.

How much Hernandez was able to catch of the parade is unknown.

He moved briskly carrying his merchandise as he headed toward the Alamodome, about 2 miles from where he sold the headwear to Zabihian.

Edvin Asig Hchoq j, 23, from Guatemala had been carrying his merchandise — cotton candy — down the parade route since 10 a.m.

A man at Hchoq j’s side served as an English-to-Spanish translator when necessary.

Four years ago, he arrived in San Antonio and he found the people to be nice and re-spectful.

As trombone players marched and beauty queens waved, Hchoq j hustled selling the last bags of cotton candy on his display pole.


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