San Antonio Royalty
Written by Randy Watson
Royalty is just as much a part of Fiesta® San Antonio as the heroes the festivities honor. Besides the Big Three royalty - the Queen of the Fiesta, King Antonio, and El Rey Feo - there are several other queens and kings chosen as part of the 10-day celebration.
Queen of the Fiesta
Queen of the Fiesta is chosen by the Order of Alamo. Founded in 1909 by John Carrington, the Order of Alamo is one of the oldest Fiesta organizations. Once a year, the members of the Order meet to decide who will be the queen the next year. Along with queen, a court consisting of a princess and 24 duchesses are chosen. Most queens only serve one year, but Claire Driscoll served as Queen of Fiesta for three consecutive years, 1904, 1905, and 1906.
King Antonio is another famous Fiesta royalty. Chosen by the Texas Cavaliers, King Antonio arrives at the Fiesta in the Texas Cavaliers River Parade. In the early years of the Fiesta, the royalty included several different kings, King Cotton, King Selamat, and King Omala. When the Texas Cavaliers was formed by John Carrington in 1926, one purpose was to select King Antonio. The first king crowned by the Cavaliers was Sterling Burke in 1927.
El Rey Feo
As part of medieval tradition, peasants were allowed to elect a king from one of their own. In honor of this tradition, a second king is chosen reign over the Fiesta. The Ugly King, El Rey Feo, was first crowned in 1947. In 1980, Rey Feo was officially made part of the Fiesta. A scholarship committee sponsors El Rey Feo. Candidates for The Ugly King raise money and donate it to cover college students’ expenses.
Miss Fiesta San Antonio is crowned as part of the Fiesta Flambeau Parade. When the Fiesta Flambeau was first developed Miss Fiesta would make appearances in other parades in exchange for the floats participating in the Fiesta Flambeau. Today, Miss Fiesta is chosen from college students in San Antonio.
The Queen of Soul represents the African American community and participates in the Fiesta in addition to other civic and community activities.
College students compete for the title of Miss San Antonio who represents the city in the Miss Texas Pageant which is held each July in Fort Worth, Texas.
The San Antonio Charro Association chooses the Charro Queen to represent their organization. The Charro Association hosts both the Fiesta Charreada and Viva Fiesta!
The Reina de la Feria de las Flores is El Rey Feo’s queen counterpart. The queen also raises funds for the Rey Feo Scholarship Committee. In 1947, the first Reina was chosen.
From among the area’s high school population, the Fiesta Teen Queen is chosen by the Woman’s Club of San Antonio.
Since all of the organizations sponsoring the Fiesta’s royalty are non-profit, campaign funds are donated to a cause supported by the sponsoring organization. Royalty participates in both civic and community activities throughout the year, even when the Fiesta celebration has ended.