Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Meffert: Fiesta embodies community spirit - San Antonio Express

Viva Fiesta!

For some folks it's food on a stick. Others like parades, street dances and neighborhood celebrations. I like the music, whether it's the San Antonio Symphony and special guest mariachis or the United States Air Force Band of the West, which performed Sunday at the Edgewood ISD Theater for the Performing Arts.

Fiesta involves the work of many volunteers. Volunteers make things happen everywhere. A desire to serve others motivates some people, such as the many ombudsmen volunteers who were honored last week by the Alamo Area Council of Governments. Civic pride motivates others to give endless hours to boards and committees. Working together to make your city or neighborhood a better place to live builds community spirit. Fiesta fun and getting involved with groups that sponsor the various events strengthens community spirit like few other things; it's fun making fun for others.

It's been said that Fiesta and New Orleans' Mardi Gras are the two biggest celebrations in the United States. When I lived in New Orleans, there were people who disliked the crowds, noise and mess of Mardi Gras so much that they planned out-of-town vacations to avoid the frenzied weeks just before Fat Tuesday's closing rites. Although Fiesta is more family oriented than Mardi Gras (girls on parade floats show only their shoes, and many events are attended in a state of sobriety), I know folks who refuse to do Fiesta Fun any way, anywhere. Imagine never eating your way around the world at NIOSA, never gnawing on a turkey leg big enough for two or never looking forward to eating the latest food that can be served on a stick. I'd rather not imagine eating a fried Twinkie.

The first Fiesta event I ever attended was a USAF Band of the West concert decades ago, and it's been a favorite of mine ever since. That band played mostly Glenn Miller and other big-band music. This year, the theme was innovation, and the band sure innovated! The Spanish and American selections ranged from classical to country, from jazz and pop to patriotism and reflected the diversity of this wonderful country of ours.

I am of the age of looking for deeper meanings in just about everything. When the band closed with "My Country 'Tis of Thee," the last words of which are "Let freedom ring," and launched into "The Stars and Stripes Forever," I looked at the young men and women performing for us and thought, "If the young people my generation is entrusting with the idea of freedom and keeping our stars and stripes waving forever are like these people, we need not worry about the future." VIVA!

Write to Marcy Meffert at P.O. Box 680262, Leon Valley, TX 78268 or email To read previous columns, go online to

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