Last weekend, my good friend AB showed me a picture of her sister-in-law in a stunning gown with an insanely-embroidered-and-beaded train. She told me the photo was part of the royal court at the annual Fiesta San Antonio event.
Since the late 1800s, the Texas city of San Antonio has been celebrating their own version of mardi gras, known as Fiesta. In the early days of the festival, local women would decorate carriages, bicycles, and mini-floats with live blooms, all featuring small children dressed as flowers. The costumed women then gathered in front of the Alamo and participated in the Battle of Flowers, good-naturedly pelting each other with the blooms. Eventually, the annual event was expanded to include a royal court and coronation, parades (including a boat parade along the San Antonio River), balls, and a carnival.
Since 1909, the Order of the Alamo has been in charge of the royal court, which includes a queen, a princess and 24 duchesses. The court is meant to be split evenly between San Antonio residents and young women from other towns. It’s the royal court dresses that I want to explore today. AB told me they are heavily beaded and sequined, and can weigh upward of 100 lbs each. These are some very strong young women!