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Fiesta Flambeau Night Parade - Fiesta San Antonio
The Fiesta Flambeau Night Parade is known as "America's Largest Illuminated Night Parade." It follows a 2.6-mile route through Downtown San Antonio, passing by the Alamo. The Flambeau features more than 150 colorfully decorated floats, plus plenty of marching bands and other participants.

2009 Date: Saturday, April 25
Time: Vanguard 7 p.m., Parade 7:45 p.m.-10:30 p.m.
Location: Fiesta Parade Route (Broadway and Grayson to Santa Rosa and Martin, following Broadway, N. Alamo Street, Commerce Street, and Santa Rosa Street)
In brief: The nighttime parade spectacular, started in 1948.
Tickets: Tickets are not required, but if you want the best seats you'll have to pay. Ticket info here
More Info: Visit the Fiesta Flambeau Website or call the parade info hotline at (210) 735-5566.

fiesta flambeau night parade
The Fiesta Flambeau night parade always features extravagantly decorated floats.
Credit: Rob Dudley/flickr
What's the difference between this parade and the Battle of Flowers parade?
The obvious difference is day and night - the Flambeau Parade is a nighttime parade, and the floats and multiple torch-bearing units (comprised of local Boy Scout troops) capitalize on this. Both parades, however, use the same route - starting at Broadway and Grayson, cutting over on 3rd to North Alamo, hooking a right at Commerce, and another right at Santa Rosa to Martin Street.

Should I wear my Aggie gear to the Flambeau Parade?
No, that would be the Battle of Flowers Parade. Tradition gives Texas's two biggest universities their own parades, rather than put the rivals into one single event. The Texas A&M Aggies march relatively early in the Battle of Flowers Parade, second only to the 323d U.S. Army Band in order. The 'Horns get their Saturday night showcase as the first band and one of the very first entries in the entire parade. Texas Exes don't get much occasion to flash the "Hook 'em Horns" sign in San Antonio, so look for a minor eruption of school pride from Longhorn alumni as Flambeau starts.

Where can I get food?
As with the Battle of Flowers Parade, you'll find food stands throughout the parade route, but a number of people will be bringing their own. Because of Flambeau's popularity, expect longer lines for everything, including the porta-potties. (The best bet for porta-potties, by the way, are the ones behind the bleachers at Maverick Plaza, Broadway and Jones.)

How popular is Flambeau?
It's Fiesta's biggest event. Around 500,000 people make their way to the parade. Only a fraction of those sit in ticketed seats. Though you can find places throughout the parade route to position your portable lawn chairs, you may find yourself seven or eight rows back, which means you'll either stand for the duration of the parade, or sit for the thirty seconds or so between attractions.

To avoid all this, you can pay for ticketed seats along the parade route. Bleachers set up on Broadway put you at the start of the parade, near the crucial amenities of food and porta-potties. For a little bit more, you can see the parade at its midpoint in the shadow of the Alamo. Seats on the west side of the street place you facing the Alamo; pick the east side, and your parade view will be framed by Ripley's, the Wax Museum, and the gift shops across the street from the landmark.

How early should I get there?
Early enough to catch the Fandango 3-Mile Run, which starts at Broadway and Grayson at 6:40 p.m., traversing the entire parade route. Some of the runners are genuine racers in appropriate gear, but some of them realize that they are just slightly-faster-than-normal parade attractions, and dress themselves accordingly, making themselves a parade before the parade officially starts.

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