Parade princess float goes along the start of the parade route in San Antonio, Texas

This Female-produced Texas Parade Is One of the Largest and Oldest in the U.S. — See the Incredible Photos

The Battle of Flowers Parade at San Antonio's Fiesta festival is a celebration of the city's many cultures and a source of hometown pride — and it's produced entirely by female volunteers.

San Antonio's biggest festival, Fiesta, wrapped on Sunday, April 10, after a two-year hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic. The founding event for the 10-day festival is the Battle of Flowers Parade — one of the oldest parades in the United States. While the origins started in 1891 to honor those who fought in the Battles of San Jacinto, Alamo, and Goliad for the independence of Texas as a republic, the current-day celebration brings all of the city's cultures together for a festive explosion of hometown pride during the spring season.

Crowds of up to 550,000 people gather along the 2.6-mile route to watch nearly 200 groups pass by representing every corner of Texas's second-largest city. Many San Antonio natives have grown up with the parade, and it remains a tradition for families across the city. "Every year, my dad buys a cluster of tickets for us in the stands so we can watch from on high and be mesmerized by the incredible gowns that drive past us on their flowered up floats," Darlene Fiske, a San Antonio native and owner of a luxury travel PR firm based in Austin, told Travel + Leisure. "I don't know that much has changed through the years — the pomp and glory of the marching bands, the cheerful waves of the dignitaries as they drive by in their old-time vehicles, and of course the bejeweled, intricate gowns of the court — I'm still in as much wonder and awe as I was when I was 12. And if there is one thing that is constant in this world, it's the women in yellow... they are a warm welcome and a great reminder of what a community of women can do when they come together."

From the women who work for months to create the flower-filled floats to the aforementioned women in yellow checking every small detail and ensuring an enjoyable parade for thousands, the Battle of Flowers Parade is one of the longest and largest parades in the U.S. and the only parade produced entirely by female volunteers. Originally inspired by the flower parades of Spain, the founding gals of the Battle of Flowers parade would throw flowers from their carriages. Today, crowds throw confetti and cascarones (hollowed-out eggs filled with confetti) onto the parading groups. 

They say San Antonio is the city that knows how to party, and for 10 days during Fiesta, you can get the full experience of San Antonio's many cultures. With countless events happening across the city and raising money for non-profit organizations, Fiesta is a celebration that honors the past, present, and future of Texas.

A woman in yellow checks every inch of a float to make sure it's ready for the parade.
The women in yellow are the team of volunteers who produce the entire parade every year. The left is the Grand Marshal float for Eileen M. Collins, a former astronaut.
| Credit: Mariah Tyler
Floral details
Details of the parade floats show foil flowers and metallic sculptural flowers that are made by hand in San Antonio for months leading up to the parade.
| Credit: Mariah Tyler
Princess gets loaded to her float.
The Battle of Flowers parade Princess gets lifted by a forklift to the float before the start of the parade. The royal court dresses can be quite heavy to maneuver in.
| Credit: Mariah Tyler
People getting ready for the Battle of Flowers parade.
Members of the Tradition American Indian Veterans Association Honor Guard and firefighters ready for the start of the parade. The American Indian Veterans Association is inter-tribal and includes Caddo, Kickapoo, Navajo, Lipan Apache, Mescalero Apache, Lakota, Rosebud Sioux, and Crow Creek Sioux tribes.
| Credit: Mariah Tyler
Parade float crown glitters in the sun.
An oversized silver glitter crown sits on a float surrounded by handmade metallic flowers for the Battle of Flowers parade. This year the theme was ¡Viva Las Flores!
| Credit: Mariah Tyler
A float of duchesses prepare for the parade to begin.
Duchesses prepare for the parade to begin.
| Credit: Mariah Tyler
A woman wears an elaborate fiesta hat for the parade.
Throughout Fiesta, people show up to events ready to party wearing decorative hats with the most elaborate designs.
| Credit: Mariah Tyler
Young ROTC cadets start the Vanguard portion for the parade.
Before the official parade starts, a vanguard procession begins. This legion represents several San Antonio ROTC and JROTC groups from around "Military City USA."
| Credit: Mariah Tyler
Bexar County Buffalo Soldiers in yellow shirts, hosting a section of seats for the Battle of Flowers Parade in San Antonio, Texas.
From left to right: Larry, Turner, and Brent pose for a photograph. They are members of the Bexar County Buffalo Soldiers and are hosting a section of seats at the beginning of the parade route.
| Credit: Mariah Tyler
Belgian American Club of Texas starts off the Battle of Flowers Parade.
Battle of Flowers parade starts off the 131st annual Fiesta, making it one of the oldest in the country.
| Credit: Mariah Tyler
Parade goers look on as the parade begins in San Antonio, Texas.
A Battle of Flowers parade onlooker dresses the part for Fiesta in San Antonio, Texas. The massive event brings everyone from around the city together every year.
| Credit: Mariah Tyler
Parade princess float goes along the start of the parade route in San Antonio, Texas
The elaborate float made by hand hosts Her Serene Highness, Princess at the Court of the Grand Tour Marguerite Holton Stewart. The larger-than-life dress train is intricately designed specifically for each lady of the court each year.
| Credit: Mariah Tyler
Rey Feo Consejo Education Foundation march while confetti is thrown in the air.
Following the Rey Feo float, the Rey Feo Consejo Educational Foundation marches behind. The organization works all year to raise money for local schools and students through scholarship programs. Many of the organizations raise funds during Fiesta by hosting different events for the festival.
| Credit: Mariah Tyler
A duchess of the court shows her shoes to the crowd and Duchess of Unrivaled Precision on her float during the parade.
Left to Right: A long hailed tradition of the Battle of Flowers parade has members of the crowd yelling, "Show us your shoes!" to the royalty on their floats. Various designed western boots and sneakers are revealed, showing some personality of the court. Ramsey Campbell Robinson sits on her float as the Duchess of Unrivaled Precision.
| Credit: Mariah Tyler
Dancer from Sam Houston High School during the Battle of Flowers Parade.
High schools from around San Antonio march, play, and dance during the parade. This green-and-orange sequined dancer represents the Sam Houston High School Twisters.
| Credit: Mariah Tyler
Parade of Battle of Flowers crowd and horseback riding group.
Members of the Association of Charros del Sur ride on horseback through the parade carrying the Texas, Mexico, and United States flags. The cultural traditions and history of both Texas and Mexico are present throughout Fiesta.
| Credit: Mariah Tyler
A couple in fiesta attire at the parade
Parade-goers create the best Fiesta-inspired hats and drink beer and margaritas as the parade goes by on Main Street.
| Credit: Mariah Tyler
Two duchesses sit at post on a parade float while going through large crowds.
A queen, princess, and 24 duchesses are named for each Fiesta year, and their shining moment happens at the Battle of Flowers parade. To the left is the Duchess of Beguiling Charm, Bracken West Barnes, and behind her sits Duchess of Dynamic Ornamentation, Frances Lawren Graham.
| Credit: Mariah Tyler
Two images showing Fiesta royalty on parade floats.
Left to Right: Daily Mann, San Antonio Queen of Soul, is part of the Official Fiesta Royalty. The back view of a parade participant wearing a decorative cape and cowboy hat.
| Credit: Mariah Tyler
Women on horseback during the parade.
The Escaramuza Rosas de Castilla group of women ride traditional-style horseback in the Charreada.
| Credit: Mariah Tyler
Close-up of ballet folkloric dancer's colorful dress.
A dancer with Poinsettia represents the Ballet Folklorico Festival during the Fiesta Battle of Flowers parade.
| Credit: Mariah Tyler
Three images, all showing people who attended battle of flowers parade.
The Fiesta medals are highly coveted collections of pins from every year's event. Throughout Fiesta you'll hear the cling-clang of sashes and vests full of fun medals.
| Credit: Mariah Tyler

Inspired to visit San Antonio for Fiesta next year? The 2023 event will take place from April 20-30. The Battle of Flowers parade will be Friday, April 28, 2023.