By Bob McCullough
The Battle of Flowers® Parade originated 130 years ago when a group of women began pelting each other with flowers from horse-drawn carriages in front of the Alamo.
Today, women continue to propel San Antonio’s “Party with a Purpose” and the nation’s oldest parade produced entirely by women volunteers to new heights of success through inspired leadership and the power of volunteerism.
Jeanie Travis, 2020 Fiesta Commission president, explains, “The people of Fiesta bring the magic… Volunteers open their cultures, music, cuisine, dance, art, history, education and mission to everyone,” and raise money for worthy causes throughout the community.
The women of the Battle of Flowers® Association, the Asociación de Charros, and the Military-Civilian Club (MCC) demonstrate this power of volunteerism.
The Power of Flowers
Anna-Laura Block, serving her third year as president of the Battle of Flowers® Association, notes, “Our mission is teaching the history of our state and keeping alive the traditions of San Antonio.”
Parade chair, Melissa Branch, looks forward to welcoming the 2022 grand marshal, Col. Eileen M. Collins, the first woman to command a space shuttle. “She is a pioneer in her field,” Branch says, “and she’s making it her mission to inspire young people to strive for careers in math and science, to shoot for the stars.”
A Mission of Tradition
Irma Iris Durán de Rodriguez, Fiesta Elected Commissioner and past Participating Member Organization (PMO) Commissioner of the Asociación de Charros de San Antonio, shares that “We are passionate about upholding the culture of charreria, the sport’s traditions, family values, and the absolute fun of riding horses. Our mission is to pass on our culture and traditions to generations to come.”
During Fiesta, the Asociación de Charros showcases the traditions of ranch work and horsemanship in high-energy charreadas at the Rancho del Charro.
Lori Campbell, the Military-Civilian Club’s (MCC) military president and PMO President on the Fiesta Commission Board of Directors, and Tina Drain, civilian president, and PMO commissioner, co-lead the organization. “Our purpose is to foster patriotism and the integration of the military and civilian communities of the San Antonio area,” Drain explains.
Each year, two members from each of the five branches of the military services stationed in San Antonio earn the honor of representing their respective services. The MCC provides two military sponsors to assist the ambassadors throughout Fiesta, and raises money for scholarships to help children of military families pursue their educational dreams.
“The wonder women of Fiesta are role models and leaders in the community, and they represent the true spirit of Fiesta. They are inspiring the future female leaders of Fiesta. Viva Fiesta!”
– Steve Rosenauer, Fiesta San Antonio Commission Executive Director