Fiesta Parades and events have been traditions in the city of San Antonio for over 100 years. In the early days the events were marked by flowers, carriages and royalty. While the flowers and royalty are still a big part of Fiesta, recent years have brought a negative image – that of a drunken party that occasionally results in crime, specifically impaired driving. Last year, thanks to the efforts of local advocacy organizations, law enforcement, government, and the Fiesta Commission the weeks of Fiesta were fatality free. Hundreds of DWI arrests were made, but luckily no innocent lives were lost.
The community is once again collaborating to make Fiesta a safe event for all. The City Council recently designated public right of ways along the Battle of the Flowers, Fiesta Flambeau and Texas Cavaliers’ River Parades as smoke free areas. This decision exemplifies San Antonio’s commitment to using Fiesta to encourage healthy behaviors not only for our citizens but for the many tourists that frequent Fiesta events. By implementing this strategy we are showcasing an image of a healthy and fit San Antonio to the outside world. The Texas Department of Transportation has once again worked with local businesses and civic organizations to organize free cab rides for those who are too drunk to drive. On top of prevention efforts, law enforcement will be present at Fiesta events ensuring that minors and those who are already drunk are not served. Over the next few weeks law enforcement officers will be on high alert, looking for signs of distracted and drunk driving all over the city to pick up offenders before any citizen pays the price for someone else’s drunken decisions.
The Fiesta Commission itself has been active year round, working to establish the Fiesta name as one representing a healthy positive image to the community. As part of these efforts, Fiesta and the Circles of San Antonio Community Coalition (COSA) have established the Remember the Red Carnival Day on April 24th where during the Fiesta Carnival students and families can pick up materials from local organizations and participate in activities encouraging healthy choices. COSA and Fiesta have organized approximately 20 local non-profit organizations and service providers to participate in this event. These resources come at no cost to carnival attendees, and service providers will offer games and giveaways in addition to educational information. Wear red, bring your families and enjoy the carnival! Follow the event on Twitter at #FiestaRed.
Help make this Fiesta Safe and Sober. Offer to be a designated driver,discourage binge drinking – especially at family friendly events, come out to the carnival to support healthy living year round, and support law enforcement efforts to make this Fiesta the second in a row to be DWI fatality free. For more information on prevention efforts going on in San Antonio year round contact the Circles of San Antonio (COSA) at 210-225-4741 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the work our coalition is doing to reduce underage drinking in your community check out our Facebook page or follow our Twitter account @circlesofsa.