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Fiesta Oyster Bake - Fiesta San Antonio
The Fiesta Oyster Bake began in 1916 as a gathering of St. Mary's University alumni on the banks of the San Antonio River. But since is has earned the reputation as the unofficial kickoff of Fiesta. When the oysters start flying, Fiesta has begun. More than 100,000 oysters - raw, baked or fried - will be served over two days. But another 50 food booths serve festival favorites such as fajitas, egg rolls, burgers and all kinds of meats-on-a-stick. Four entertainment stages provide continuous rock and roll, Tejano and country music. A children's area offers games, and Oyster Bake always concludes with a fireworks show.
2009 Dates: Friday-Saturday, April 17-18
Time: Friday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Location: St. Mary's University, One Camino Santa Maria
In brief: Fiesta's kickoff event, serving oysters since 1916
Tickets: An admission charge is required and tickets are a little cheaper if purchased in advance. For ticket info, go here
More Info: Visit the Fiesta Oyster Bake Website, or call (210) 436-3324.
How do I choose between Friday and Saturday?
Friday has evolved into family night, while Saturday night is more of a party atmosphere. Live music is scheduled on several different stages throughout the event, although the food, most notably the festival namesake, is the main attraction.
What if I don't like oysters?
No one's going to make you eat them, and there's plenty of other festival fare on the grounds. Turkey legs? Sausage-on-a-stick? Chicken-on-a-stick? Eggrolls? Fajitas? Hamburgers? You'll find them all here, and can mix-and-match cuisines to your heart's content.
I bought a bucket of oysters, and I'm hungry - now what?
You're holding a bucket of oysters, and the oysters are still in their shells. Your mission is to get past the shell to where the food is. For a small deposit, you can rent an oyster knife, a handled tool with a blunt end used to pry the two halves of a shell apart. Look for oyster knife stands next door to the baked oyster stands. Serious connoisseurs bring their own tools to the event, but with a little work and patience, you should be able to navigate your way through the bucket with your oyster knife.
Where do I park?
The first place you'd think to park, naturally, is on the St. Mary's campus, but parking there is pricey and in limited supply. Adjacent parking lots include Holy Rosary Church, just south of the St. Louis Hall façade on Camino Santa Maria and Culebra. Some neighborhood residents near the campus will let you park in their front yards - for a fee. If you don't mind a short walk to the festival grounds and favor free, on-street parking, you might consider the neighborhood north of Culebra and west of 36th Street - there may be a few spots up for grabs.
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