“A Night In Old San Antonio" Celebrates and Funds Historic Preservation

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San Antonio Conservation Society to Bring the City’s Culture Alive with Festival of Food, Drink and Music on Its 66th Anniversary

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'Since 1924, the San Antonio Conservation Society has been at the forefront of preserving San Antonio’s history,' says San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro.

“A Night In Old San Antonio®” (NIOSA®) is a four-night festival in the heart of downtown San Antonio that celebrates the city’s diverse cultural legacy for more than 85,000 revelers annually. Through the magic of 250-plus food, drink and atmosphere booths; 13 live musical acts; children’s games; decorations; souvenirs; and costumed volunteers, NIOSA brings the city’s heritage alive in 15 areas: Mission Trail (honors the early years of the city’s San Antonio Missions), Arneson Theatre (amphitheater built in 1941 into the natural curve of the city’s river bank), Chinatown, Clown Alley, French Quarter, Froggy Bottom (pays tribute to the cultural contributions of African-Americans), Frontier Town, Haymarket (celebrates the produce and livestock markets near San Fernando Cathedral during the city’s Spanish Colonial period), International Walkway (showcases different ethnic groups that developed San Antonio’s unique heritage), Irish Flat, Main Street USA, Mexican Market, Sauerkraut Bend, South of the Border (Northern Mexico influences), and Villa España (celebrates City’s Spanish and Canary Islanders heritage).

Sponsored by and benefiting the San Antonio Conservation Society (one of the nation’s oldest and most active historic preservation organizations), the 66th presentation of NIOSA will be held Tuesday through Friday evenings, April 22-25, 2014 during the city’s 11-day Fiesta San Antonio® celebration.

NIOSA will focus on the San Antonio Missions in 2014 (through artwork on its medal) to support their nomination as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Conservation Society instigated the nomination process in 2006 and has continued to support the process. Long before that, NIOSA created its own “Mission Trail” area in 1990 to commemorate the Society’s successful restoration of the historic missions.

“A Night In Old San Antonio” earned the Verde Certification (the top level of certification) in 2013 and 2012, based on the City of San Antonio’s Green Events Ordinance sustainable policies to reduce the carbon footprint and reduce waste, energy and materials consumption at medium and large-scale events. In 2011 NIOSA earned the “Platinum Status” (one level above Gold) in the city’s Fiesta Verde program, the first organization in the city to do so.

“Since 1924, the San Antonio Conservation Society has been at the forefront of preserving San Antonio’s history," says San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro. "NIOSA plays a big role in continuing that tradition and providing San Antonians with one of Fiesta’s signature events.”

WHEN: April 22-25, 2014, from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Gates close and alcohol sales stop at 10 p.m.; food sales and entertainment continue until 10:30 p.m.

WHERE:    Grounds of the La Villita National Historic District—the 18th century Spanish neighborhood that now serves as arts village, bounded by the San Antonio River and Alamo, Nueva and Presa streets (approximately five acres).

WHO: Founded in 1924, the San Antonio Conservation Society began with efforts to prevent historic structures from being razed and to preserve such unique features as the city's Spanish Colonial missions. The Society is credited with saving most of the historic attractions which make San Antonio one of the top tourist destinations in Texas.

NIOSA chairman Barb Machado, elected by the Conservation Society as its Fourth Vice President, volunteers her time all year to plan and coordinate the event, and is assisted by four NIOSA vice chairmen Melissa Fertitta, Loraine Zaiontz, Cindy Smith and Rose Moran, and treasurer, Jackie Fellers.

PROCEEDS: NIOSA is one of the top—if not the top—fundraisers for historic preservation in the nation and truly lives up to its motto as a “Celebration for Preservation.” Funds raised enable the Society to continue its mission of preserving historic buildings, objects, places and customs relating to the history of Texas and all that is admirably distinctive to the state. Out of the roughly $1 million netted at NIOSA, the Society spends nearly $350,000 annually supporting restoration and preservation of historic properties and parks throughout the city and neighboring counties, plus more than $400,000 annually supporting education and advocacy programs and projects such as the Heritage Education tours, seminars, community tours, scholarships, the resource library and the house museums. Additionally, the Society has allocated more than $1 million since 2000 to historic restoration projects in La Villita, HemisFair and historic neighborhoods throughout the city through special funds set up with the City of San Antonio.

TICKETS:    Gate tickets are $15 for adults; children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. Discount advance tickets are available for $12 online at http://www.niosa.org and at locations around San Antonio in mid-February; visit the website for specific locations.

INFO: Visit http://www.niosa.org or contact (210) 226-5188 or niosa(at)niosa(dot)org.

NIOSA’s mobile website at http://www.niosa.org/mobile includes an interactive map of the event with lists of all foods, beverages, entertainment and more.

The Conservation Society also stages NIOSITAs® (a private mini-NIOSA) throughout the year for conventions, meetings, and festivals—for groups from 300 up to 10,000—to raise additional preservation funds. Just as NIOSA commemorates the ethnic and cultural influences of San Antonio with food and entertainment, NIOSITAs reflect the diverse cultures of San Antonio.

What makes NIOSA unique from the zillion run-of-the-mill festivals around the world?

  • All food items are created, perfected, and prepared by NIOSA volunteers on-site and truly reflect the areas where they can be found. In fact, sometimes the only place they can be enjoyed is at NIOSA.
  • All food booths are run by Conservation Society volunteers; many are second or third generation of a family to man a NIOSA booth. Volunteers come from all over the country to work at NIOSA.
  • On the average, NIOSA revelers annually consume over 31,000 lbs. of beef; 14,750 lbs. of chicken; 9,800 lbs. of sausage; 3,200 turkey legs; 56,500 buns, rolls and bolillos; 36,645 flour tortillas; 11,000 tamales; 29,120 lbs. of fruits and vegetables; and 4,000 lbs. of guacamole.

MEDIA: More comprehensive media materials from 2013 are available at https://www.niosa.org/News.aspx and will be updated in early 2014. High resolution photos, recipes, B-roll, interviews with Barb Machado and more detailed entertainment/food schedules are available from Jeanne Albrecht at 210/392-9047 or jca(at)satx(dot)rr(dot)com.

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