1st annual Día en la Sombrilla celebration

Fiesta festivities flourish for the first time since COVID-19 hiatus

Isabella McGovern, Assistant Magazine Editor

On Friday, April 1, the Sombrilla Plaza held UTSA’s 42nd annual Fiesta celebration. However, this event is unlike any other Fiesta celebration UTSA has held before. This is the first year that the event has been called “Día en la Sombrilla.” 

Brooke Ellerbe is one of the programming coordinators for Roadrunner Productions (RP) and took part in helping come up with the new name for the event. 

“The new name change was a big deal,” Ellerbe said. “Being a part of the new name change has been really fun.”

Roadrunner Productions is a sponsored student organization that puts on the biggest events on campus, such as Best Fest, Howdy Rowdy Bash and now Día en la Sombrilla. Ellerbe and other members of RP have been planning and working on Día en la Sombrilla since the beginning of the spring semester. They prepared by holding info meetings, item selection and health and safety volunteer training. 

“It was really fun getting to put together Día because this is like my first time, and I didn’t know how involved you can be,” Ellerbe said. “Seeing it all come together is really cool because I didn’t know how big of an event it was.”

The event ran from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and there was a big turnout. Students packed the Sombrilla to see what each booth had to offer. Over 60 registered student organizations sold items at Día en la Sombrilla. Organizations such as Alpha Omicron Pi, Association for Computing Machinery, Hispanic Student Association, My Sister’s Keeper, National Society of Black Engineers, Pre-Nurse Society, Pre-Physical Therapy Society and Zeta Tau Alpha were at the event. Many were selling food and drinks like aguas frescas, covered fruit, nachos, quesadillas, snow cones and virgin mocktails. Other groups like Alpha Omicron Pi and AIS Business class sold Fiesta sashes and flower crowns. 

“We’ve been selling a lot; I’m pretty glad,” one member from Alpha Omicron Pi said. 

The AIS Business class sold all their flower crowns in under an hour. 

“We only had a hundred flower crowns to sell,” one student said. 

The celebration also featured live music and entertainment from The E7 Band, Mariachi Nuevo Estilo and DJ Gumby. 

Eric Treviño

Día en la Sombrilla also hosted Fiesta San Antonio’s 2021-2022 Official Fiesta Royalty. UTSA held an outdoor lunch for members and acknowledged them later on stage in front of the student body. In attendance was Rey Feo LXXIII Augustine Cortez Jr. He is the representative of The Rey Feo Scholarship Foundation, an entity that donates money annually for scholarships and supports educational efforts throughout the city of San Antonio. Some scholarship recipients of the scholarship attend UTSA. 

“We go visit schools all year long to talk to students about making sure that they graduate from high school and prepare themselves for college,” Cortez Jr. said. “What we do is raise funds to help students get through college.”

All Royal Court members assist in helping raise funds throughout the year. It is their duty to represent, serve and support charitable activities that benefit the San Antonio community. Also in attendance were Miss Fiesta San Antonio Calista Burns, La Reina de la Feria de las Flores Mackenzie Tijerina, Fiesta Teenage Queen Avery Walker, Queen of Soul Dailyn Mann, Charro Queen Alexa Chapa (a current student at UTSA) and Miss San Antonio Elaina McCoulskey.

Many students that used to be a part of Fiesta Royalty attended Día en la Sombrilla, like Jacob Salas. Salas is a sophomore education (Interdisciplinary Studies) major. He started participating in Fiesta when he became an ambassador for Mr. Teen San Antonio back in 2018. Salas was also inspired to be a part of Fiesta because of his familial connection. With parts of his family being Royalty in the 80s and early 2000s, it was imperative that he follow in their footsteps.

“I love it,” Salas said. “It’s our time to come together as San Antonio and celebrate our heritage.”

This year will be his fourth anniversary of participating in Fiesta. As a collector of Fiesta medals and pins — over 300 hundred of them, to be exact — Salas values the sentiment of passing the celebration on to future generations.

Día en la Sombrilla was a huge success. It created a lot of buzz from UTSA students, especially because of its return after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19. The event’s name change was very fitting as the celebration is always held at UTSA’s Sombrilla Plaza. Whether students are new to Fiesta or not, it will be an event to remember and most certainly to look forward to.