“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 67th Anniversary

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Maria Tortilla booth at NIOSA

NIOSA is the top fundraiser for historic preservation in the nation and truly lives up to its motto as a “Celebration for Preservation.”

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 240-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 (amphitheatre 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 (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 67th presentation of NIOSA will be held Tuesday through Friday evenings, April 21-24, 2015 during the city’s Fiesta San Antonio® celebration.

When: April 21-24, 2015, 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 preserve such unique features as the San Antonio River Bend (now the cornerstone of the famous San Antonio Riverwalk) and the city's four Spanish Colonial Missions. The Society has been responsible for saving most of the historic attractions which make San Antonio one of the top tourist destinations in the south.

NIOSA chairman Barb Machado, elected by the Conservation Society as its Fourth Vice President for the second year, volunteers her time all year to plan and coordinate the event, and is assisted by three NIOSA vice chairmen Cindy Smith, Rose Moran and Margie Arnold, and treasurer Jackie Fellers. They oversee the 10,000 volunteers who contribute more than 74,000 volunteer hours to make NIOSA happen. Machado estimates the costs to produce NIOSA are reduced more than $100,000 for every 10,000 volunteer hours, which helps the Society continue their preservation work in our community.

Proceeds: NIOSA is the top fundraiser 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 $1.4 million netted at NIOSA, proceeds support restoration and preservation of historic properties and parks throughout the city and neighboring counties, as well as education and advocacy programs and projects such as the Heritage Education tours, seminars, community tours, scholarships, the resource library and the house museums.

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) 216-5188 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.

NIOSITAs: 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.

Food: What makes NIOSA unique from festivals around the world?

  •     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 booths are run by Conservation Society volunteers; many are second or third generation of a family. 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.

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For the third year in a row, “A Night In Old San Antonio®” (NIOSA®) has again earned in 2015 the “Verde Certification,” the highest level possible from the City of San Antonio based on its Green Events Ordinance sustainable policies for medium and large-scale events. In 2011 NIOSA earned the “Platinum Status” in the city’s Fiesta Verde program, the first organization in the city to do so.

Media: More comprehensive media materials are available at http://www.niosa.org. 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)jeannebiz(dot)com.

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Jeanne Albrecht
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