Jada Thomas/The Paisano
Several cultural events take place in San Antonio year-round, including the World Heritage Festival, which the city hosted this past week. The World Heritage Festival is an opportunity to promote the Missions throughout the San Antonio area. This was the city’s sixth year hosting the event. The main portion of the festival lasts for five days, with each day celebrating a mission. This past Friday, the ‘Restored by Light’ event was held at Mission San Jose.
The event began at 6 p.m. with traditional Mexican dances and people pouring into the Mission grounds to watch. The dancers presented several different routines and wore vibrant costumes to accompany their wonderful dancing. While being entertained by the dancers, guests were also able to grab something to eat from the various food trucks which were lined up in the parking lot just outside the Mission gates. The trucks featured food items such as hamburgers, barbecue, nachos, quesadillas and more.
The dancing lasted for about an hour, but even after it was over, visitors still had plenty to keep them occupied. People took pictures in front of the Mission, stopped by small tents where vendors were selling different culturally inspired trinkets and they were even able to visit the Mission gift shop, all while still enjoying good food and meeting new people.
When the sun set, it was time for the event visitors had been anticipating. Bright lights stationed around the field projected an illuminated restoration of Mission San Jose onto the walls of the Mission itself. When the Mission was originally built 300 years ago, it was decorated with intricate and colorful designs. The purpose of the light show was to restore the building to its former glory. The display featured numerous pieces by students throughout the San Antonio Independent School District, who had drawn a restoration of the Mission in their own image. Their creations featured dazzling designs and images that pulled inspirations from Catholicism, Mexican culture and the culture of San Antonio. The whole spectacle was fantastic to witness, and the colorful slideshow kept repeating until the event came to an end.
I am so glad I had the chance to attend this event. The only mission I had been to prior to this was the Alamo, so I am grateful I got to visit Mission San Jose. I loved the environment of the San Antonio natives as well as tourists enjoying the dancing, food and the beautiful display of artistry that resides within the city. I regret not being able to check out more of the events, but I’ll definitely be back next year to see what else the festival has to offer.