Cornyation: San Antonio's Outrageous Fiesta Tradition


Cornyation: San Antonio's Outrageous Fiesta Tradition



Fiesta San Antonio began in 1891 began as a parade in honor of the battles of the Alamo and San Jacinto and has evolved into an annual Mardi Gras-like festival attended by four million with more than 100 cultural events raising money for nonprofit organizations in San Antonio, Texas.

At Fiesta's start, the events were socially exclusive, one of the most prominent being the Coronation of the Queen of the Order of the Alamo, a lavish, debutante pageant crowning a queen of the festival. Cornyation was created in 1951 by members of San Antonio's theater community as a satire, mocking the elite with their own flamboyant duchesses, empresses, and queens, accompanied by men in drag and local political figures in outrageous costume. The stage show quickly transformed into a controversial parody of local and national politics and culture.

Told through more than one hundred photographs and dozens of interviews, Cornyation is the first history of this major Fiesta San Antonio event, tracing how it has become one of Texas’s iconic and longest-running celebrations, and one of the Southwest's first large-scale fundraisers for HIV-AIDS research, raising more than two million dollars since 1990.

Publication Date



Maverick Books


San Antonio


Fiesta, San Antonio, Texas, United States, gay pride celebrations, festivals, social life and customs, history


Anthropology | Arts and Humanities | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology

Table of Contents

Introduction -- The 1950s: fiesta for the little people -- The 1960s: welcome to the court of broken traditions -- The 1980s: revival in the ballroom of the Bonham -- The 1990s: let the queens be unleashed -- The 2000s and 2010s: more queens than you expected.

Original Publication Information

Maverick Books

Cornyation: San Antonio's Outrageous Fiesta Tradition