Medals can be expensive accessories, but pros suggest tips for wearing them well.
By Samantha L. Alonso
Fiesta medals are a big part of showing Fiesta spirit, and it can cost people hundreds of dollars to buy them.
Some diehard medal-heads at the Battle of Flowers Parade April 28 shared just how much they spend on their Fiesta medals.
“Oh my gosh, like $500, girl,” said Anna Gamez, a human resource specialist. “It was crazy, so next year I am going to start putting money away and that is going to be just for my medals. Whatever I collect between now and next Fiesta is going to be for medals.”
Fiesta medals are worn different ways. Some people wear their medals on their shirt, sash or vest, and some wear them on their hat.
Gamez wore her green vest covered front and back in medals. The vest had about 100 medals on it.
“I want to get a jean jacket so I know for a fact they are going to stay there, and I want to get Super Glue so they don’t fall off because this morning I already lost a few. The back parts are too weak,” Gamez said as she stood outside of Sam’s Burger Joint.
Gamez pointed to her favorite medals: broken heart medals that have the number 21 on them as a tribute to former Spurs player Tim Duncan.
According to an article by Alicia Neaves from KENS 5, Fiesta medals date back to the 1920s and did not become popular until 1971, when King Antonio Charles Orsinger from The Cavaliers handed them out during Fiesta and called them “Kings Coins.”
One spectator paid almost $400 for medals from local businesses this year.
“Some of these big ones are super expensive,” said Alex Ramos, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce assistant.
Ramos wore his medals on a sash that seemed too heavy for one person to wear. One of his biggest medals was a Pearl brewery medal that he bought at a discounted price of $15.
Some medals can be given by local businesses or different organizations.
“I start over every year with medals. We go to different events, people give them out and we trade medals with other people,” Edison ROTC President Ernest Rangel said.
Rangel had about 40 medals on his sash. He said his favorite is state Rep. Diego Bernal’s Star Wars medal.
The kickoff night of Fiesta has a walkway of different organizations selling their medals, and the medals usually range in price from $10 to $20.
“Go to Fiesta Fiesta on Thursday night,” Rangel said. “Now it is at Hemisfair Park. It is the first day of Fiesta, everybody has a bag full of them, their pockets are full of them and they are looking to give away and trade them. That is also where all the organizations, like my nephew’s Boy Scout Troop, they sell their medals, and that is where they make some of their money to fund the kids’ projects. A lot of good organizations are out there selling the medals to get money.”