Fiesta Noche Del Rio is a celebration of the Spanish culture which is such an important part of San Antonio. According to the 2000 Census almost 60% of the population trace their heritage to Hispanic origins.
The Fiesta Noche Del Rio is a celebration of Latin dances and songs from various countries throughout the world including Mexico, Spain, Argentina and Texas. The Fiesta Noche Del Rio or Night River Festival has been celebrated in San Antonio on the Riverwalk for fifty three years. Professionally staged on the Arneson River Theater Fiesta Noche Del Rio is performed May through the beginning of August on Friday and Saturday nights.
In addition to celebrating the Hispanic heritage of San Antonio, the Fiesta Noche Del Rio is also the fundraiser for the San Antonio Kiwanis charities. Proceeds from the ticket support local children’s charities in the San Antonio area. Tickets for the outdoor theater performance range from $5 to $15.
The theater is an unique venue as it is outside and located on the San Antonio Riverwalk. It was built in 1939 as part of the WPA initiative in San Antonio. Architect Robert Hugman designed the unique theater situated on both sides of the San Antonio River. The theater is on the far (north) side and the audience sits on the opposite bank on grass covered stone seats. The two sides are connected by a bridge named Rosita’s Bridge. Rosita Fernandez was one of the original performers in the Fiesta Noche Del Rio. Edwin Arneson was responsible for obtaining the money for the Riverwalk or Paso Del Rio and so the outdoor theater is named in his honor.
Today in its 53rd year it is directed and choreographed by Elizabeth Sanchez-Lopez, who was the dance coordinator for the 1993 Olympics festival. The Fiesta Noche Del Rio opens its gates at 7pm with the performance starting about one and half hours later. It is recommended to arrive early to find a good seat.
The Fiesta Noche Del Rio is made up of seven acts or sessions. The Fiesta Noche Del Rio theme song opens the Fiesta with great fanfare, color and fun. After the theme song the dance and music shows Spanish and Argentinian influence with tangos and other folkloric dances. The remainder of the show is a combination of songs from Mexico and then the grand finale with the cast joining in.
Attending the Fiesta Noche Del Rio is a way to learn more about the Hispanic heritage of those living in San Antonio as well as enjoying a fun relaxing evening on the Paso Del Rio (also known as the San Antonio River Walk.)