SAN ANTONIO —The annual Battle of the Flowers parade highlighting Fiesta San Antonio will have a distinct maroon and gold flavor this year, with the Southwest Texas State University Marching Band and Strutters leading the downtown extravaganza.
Fiesta, a nine-day city-wide celebration, will be held April 19-27, with the Battle of the Flowers parade scheduled for April 25. The vanguard will step off at 11:30 a.m., with the parade following at 12:30 p.m. Although the Bobcat Band and Strutters have participated in Fiesta before, this marks the first time any unit from SWT has landed the honor of leading the signature parade.
“I was really taken by the fact that we’re going to be the lead group,” said Jim Hudson, director of bands at SWT.” It’s great press and great PR for the university. If we can help the university out, that’s tremendous.
“This is an honor, but it’s also a challenge, considering SWT does not have a marching band in the spring,” he said. “That makes it a huge undertaking for the students and myself. We’re basically asking the students to volunteer their own time to put this together.”
The 250-member Bobcat Marching Band is one of the nation’s most progressive and innovative, with a rich history stretching back more than 80 years. Featuring uniqueand creative show design and contemporary marching, the band performs at all SWT home football games, select away games and regional Bands of America- and UIL- sponsored events. The repertoire of the Bobcat Marching Band ranges from classic rock to rhythm and blues to Latin American salsa music.
“We’re very excited and honored to be able to lead the parade. In San Antonio it’s a really big deal,” said Susan Angell, director of the Strutters. “The entire city of San Antonio shuts down for this, and it’s televised.
“A lot of publicity is associated with this. The recognition Southwest Texas will receive and the exposure our name gets will be good for the university,” she said.
“It’s also excellent for recruiting for the Strutters.” The Strutters organization, founded in 1960, was the first dance team organized on any major university campus in America. Since that time, the Strutters have appeared on every major television network, have performed at professional football and basketball games, car races, and rodeos throughout America, as well as two U.S. presidential inaugurations. Strutters have represented Texas and America throughout 17 countries on four continents and were the first U.S. dance team to perform in the People’s Republic of China.
The oldest and largest parade during Fiesta San Antonio, the Battle of the Flowers was founded in 1891 to commemorate the fallen heroes of the Alamo and the Texan victory at the 1836 Battle of Jan Jacinto. The parade, featuring elaborate, flower-covered floats, annually attracts crowds of more than 350,000 and is the only parade in the United States produced entirely by women.