"A Night in Old San Antonio®" Brings the Heritage of San Antonio Alive in 15 Cultural Areas Through 250 Food, Drink and Atmosphere Booths and 12 Musical Acts

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Sponsored by and benefiting the San Antonio Conservation Society, the 69th presentation of NIOSA will be held April 25-28, 2017, during the city’s Fiesta San Antonio® celebration.

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Through the magic of more than 250 food, drink and atmosphere booths, 12 live musical acts, children’s games, decorations, costumed volunteers and souvenirs, NIOSA brings the city’s heritage alive in its 15 areas.

“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 80,000 revelers annually.

Sponsored by and benefiting the San Antonio Conservation Society, the 69th presentation of NIOSA will be held April 25-28, 2017, during the city’s Fiesta San Antonio® celebration.

Through the magic of more than 250 food, drink and atmosphere booths, 12 live musical acts, children’s games, decorations, costumed volunteers and souvenirs, NIOSA brings the city’s heritage alive in its 15 areas. Check NIOSA’s website and mobile website for a complete list of all food, entertainment and drinks, by area. A map of these 15 areas can be found on the NIOSA website at http://www.niosa.org/EventMap.aspx

NIOSA is sponsored solely by the San Antonio Conservation Society. Founded in 1924, the San Antonio Conservation Society is one of the oldest and most active community preservation groups in the United States. Beginning with efforts to prevent historic structures from being razed and to preserve such unique sites as the city’s Spanish Colonial missions, the society has been responsible for saving most of the historic attractions that now make San Antonio one of the top tourist destinations in Texas. The Society was integral in the Missions’ nomination as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, initiating the nomination process in 2006 and continuing to support the nomination until they were awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2015.

NIOSA chairman Patti Zaiontz, reelected by the Conservation Society in June 2016 as its Fourth Vice President/NIOSA Chairman, volunteers her time all year to plan and coordinate the event, and is assisted by four NIOSA vice chairmen and treasurer—also all volunteers. They oversee the 13,000 volunteers who contribute more than 150,000 volunteer hours to make NIOSA happen. Zaiontz estimates the costs to produce NIOSA are reduced by more than $3 million due to volunteer services, which in turn helps the Society continue their preservation work in our community. The NIOSA Committee is able to present the San Antonio Conservation Society with an average of more than $1.2 million annually in NIOSA profits to continue funding the Society’s mission for preservation of historic properties, places, customs and educational programs. NIOSA’s community impact totals an additional $1.3 million of payments of $514,000+ to the City in rental, fees, permits and taxes, and over $800,000 paid to local suppliers and entertainers for goods and services.

PROCEEDS: NIOSA is the top fundraiser for historic preservation in the nation and truly lives up to its motto as a “Celebration for Preservation.” In the past ten years alone, more than $12 million has been netted at NIOSA to fund the Society’s mission to “preserve historic buildings, objects, places and customs relating to the history of Texas and all that is admirably distinctive to the state.” 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, resource library and house museums.

Arneson Theatre
Entertainment is the focal point of the historic Arneson River Theatre, a venue for musical shows year-round on the San Antonio River Walk. The open-air theater was built as a Works Progress Administration project during the 1930s. Grab a bite to eat, have a seat on the grass covered steps of the theatre and sing along to the great tunes of The Groove Doctors, who entertain NIOSA-goers and the river barge riders as they sail by. Enjoy Flaming Cheetos (new this year—a Cheetos/chamoy/diced pickles concoction); Banana Smoothies, Sweet Fried Apples, Fried Jalapeños and Broadway Chicken (fried chicken on a stick).

The oriental mystique begins with traditional Chinese cuisine in Chinatown. Crowd pleasers are Mandarin Mimosas, Lemon Chicken, Wontons and Egg Rolls. Crispy Shrimp Wraps and Fortune Cookies are also in great demand among the red-lacquered facades. Visitors won’t want to miss the Yak-I-Tori chicken k-bob. ATM machine, restrooms and a First Aid station are located just outside of the Bolivar Café (north side).

Clown Alley
It wouldn’t be Clown Alley without clowns! Here, family fun is a favorite in this area completely dedicated to children's entertainment. Young and old alike will enjoy games like Bowling on the Green, Softball Pitch, Fiesta Feat Ball, Lollipop Loop, Loop-the-Hoop, Wiffle Waffle, Putting Around and Add-Up Darts. Children (of all ages) can have their face painted in the Face Painting booth to put them in a festive mood. The Karaoke booth gives revelers the opportunity to sing along to their favorite melodies. This area features all our childhood food favorites such as Hamburgers/Cheeseburgers, Corn Dogs, Frito Pie, Curly Q Fries, Shaved Ice, Cotton Candy, Kiddie’s Kernels, Dutch Chocolate Freeze with hardening chocolate, and Funnel Fries (a stack of funnel cake fries--new this year). An ATM machine and First Aid station are located on the Gresser House porch on S. Presa (across from karaoke booth).

French Quarter
French Quarter celebrates the tastes of France, New Orleans and south Texas French settlers. Escargot, Crayfish Etouffee, Crepes Suzette, Beignets, Peach Melba, French Sausage and Shrimp Po’Boys are served by costumed mesdames and messieurs. While strolling down the streets of French Quarter, guest can enjoy a glass of wine or champagne as they listen to the Dirty River Dixie Band (new this year) and view the 15-foot Eiffel Tower. An ATM is located on the Nueva St. side right beyond the entrance gate on Alamo St.

Froggy Bottom (added in 2004)
Many of the city’s early African-American settlers migrated to San Antonio from the Froggy Bottom region of Louisiana in the mid-to-late 1800s. The Froggy Bottom name comes from a popular, local social club on the near East Side of downtown in the early part of the 20th century. This NIOSA area pays tribute to the cultural contributions of African-Americans, celebrating their Southern hospitality and home cooking. A variety of southern foods are offered, including NIOSA’s most popular dish: Mr. Chicken (skewered fried chicken topped with a jalapeño). Frog Legs (moved from International Walkway) and Mama’s Sweets (pralines) can also be found here. In addition to the comfort food found in this area, visitors can dance to the rhythm and blues performed by Celsius.

Frontier Town (started 1966)
An early Texas settlement, including an official U.S. Postal sub-station which offers an official NIOSA cancellation stamp, is re-created in one of the largest areas of NIOSA. A windmill marks the center, where there’s plenty of room for boot-scootin’ and grazing. Horseshoe Sausage (exclusive NIOSA recipe—750 pounds consumed annually), Texas Bird Legs, Cowboy Klopse (a deep-fried meatball in jalapeño batter), Sopapillas, Steer-on-a-Stick, Shypoke Eggs, City Slickers (seasoned cucumbers) and Ranch Steaks keep the appetites of native Texans and other visitors satisfied. There are plenty of Wrangler Margaritas, cold suds and non-alcoholic Mangonada (new this year) in this area. A First Aid station and ATM are located in Frontier Town. Craft Beer Saloon (new this year) will sell craft beers from local breweries. Mario Flores & The Soda Creek Band will perform in Frontier Town and guests can pose for photographs in the old-timey Photo Bazaar.

Haymarket (added in 1981)
During the Spanish Colonial period, San Antonians used to gather near San Fernando Cathedral to sell produce and livestock. This area, known as the Haymarket, inspired the NIOSA version. Facades and colorful banners resembling those from the farmers’ markets of old adorn the NIOSA market. Returning for her second appearance, NIOSA goers will again enjoy music from Patsy Torres Band. One of NIOSA’s most famous and beloved foods bears the name of the woman who prepared it so long ago. Maria’s Tortillas (a hand-patted, grilled corn tortilla, buttered and filled with cheddar cheese and salsa) is named for Maria Luisa Ochoa, housekeeper to Ethel Harris, Conservation Society president from 1951-53. Ochoa was enlisted by Harris to make tortillas for the event. Introduced in the early 1950s, the booth today sells nearly 7,000 concoctions each year. Other popular Haymarket dishes include Gorditas/Chili Queens, Puffy Tacos, sizzling Beef Fajitas, Flautas (new queso for dipping), Sangria and Wine Margaritas.

International Walkway (added in 1972)
International Walkway showcases different ethnic groups that developed San Antonio’s unique heritage. Italy, Greece and Belgium inspire the foods offered through the area. A NIOSA food favorite has moved to this area: Bongo-k-Bobs (beef shish-k-bobs, nearly 10,000 sticks, named after Bongo Joe, a local music legend). Fried Mushrooms lead the list of other favorites, followed by Baklava, Belgian Waffles, Pizza, Grecian Delight Gyro, Fried Ravioli and Baja Fish Tacos. Smirnoff Preparadas (Watermelon Mimosa malt beverage with fresh fruit, chamoy and chili lime powder) and Jamaican Jerk Chicken Wings (new this year) are sold here. The NIOSA Crafters sell their arts and crafts, discount advance NIOSA tickets (beginning March 1), past NIOSA posters, 2017 NIOSA medal and merchandise in the “NIOSA Crafters Store” in Bldg. 20.

Irish Flats
Irish Flats, one of the original NIOSA areas, features Irish folk music and a host of filling fare to commemorate the Irish settlers of yesteryear. When visitors take a break from singing along to Irish ballads played by Ravenmoor, they can try Potato Skins and the addictive Blarney Bacon (brown sugar crusted bacon). Irish Flats also sells Touch of the Leprechaun temporary tattoos and specialty cascarones with Irish themes. The area offers a version of the very popular Smirnoff Preparadas called “Leprechaun Preparadas” that are made with Green Apple Smirnoff and non-alcoholic Shamrock Tea (new this year). Irish Good Luck eggs (elaborately decorated cascarones) will also be for sale.

Main Street USA (started in 1976)
Main Street USA was established as a bicentennial project in 1976. American classics and NIOSA exclusives—including Brisket Biscuits and Fat Bread (an English muffin covered with sautéed mushrooms and Jack cheese)—appeal to hearty appetites. Fried Green Tomatoes, Strawberries and Cream, Lemonade, Fried Dill Dippers (new this year), Banana Splits, Fried Oreos and Chicken & Waffles on a Stick (new this year) round out the menu in Main Street. Visitors can enjoy the sounds of C Rock Band and DJ Mike.

Mexican Market (original area of NIOSA)
The atmosphere of a Mexican market is re-created with colorful papel picado banners and paper flowers in this original area of NIOSA. Celebrating the city’s cultural ties to Mexico, this is where visitors find a NIOSA exclusive: Anticuchos—a marinated steak shish-k-bob with origins from Bolivia. First introduced in 1955, hundreds of volunteers serve up more than 9,600 of these each year. Other favorites include Chalupas, Quesadillas, Fajitas de Pollo, Bean Tacos with fresh corn tortillas made on the spot, Burritos, Tamales with Chili (new: will top tamales with chili, if desired), Enchiladas, Elotes (corn on the cob), Mexican Coffee, Fruit Kabobs, Pink Lemonade and Daiquiris de Frescas. Mexican sweets include Churros and Buñuelos (crisp fried Mexican pastry discs dusted with cinnamon and sugar). Workers costumed in huipiles, Oaxacan dresses, sombreros, ponchos and peasant attire enhance the flavor of Mexico, along with the musical entertainment of Karizma. In keeping with the spirit of a true marketplace, a Tienda booth offers folk art from all over Mexico, including toys, cookware, apparel and accessories. The Bolsa booth originated and still resides here, selling hand-painted paper shopping bags decorated by area artists. Cascarones (confetti eggs) originated at NIOSA in the Mexican Market in 1959 and are now a Fiesta staple. Each year, approximately 35 dedicated Conservation Society volunteers work year-round to make more than 50,000 of the popular confetti eggs. For only $1 revelers may buy three cascarones to crack over the heads of fellow visitors showering them with confetti. The sale of cascarones at NIOSA has contributed approximately $648,344 for historic preservation projects since they were introduced in 1959.

Mission Trail (added in 1990)
These sacred San Antonio landmarks are commemorated in the Mission Trail area, which features facades of four missions of the San Antonio Missions Historical Park. This area also symbolizes the Conservation Society’s successful promotion of a parkway to connect San Antonio’s historic missions in the 1990s. During 1993-94, the Society was integral in securing federal funding for the Mission Trails project. The Society was integral in the Missions’ nomination as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, initiating the nomination process in 2006 and continuing to support the nomination until they were awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2015. This area features Prairie Chicken, Mission Maiz, Taco de Espada, Armadillo Eggs (jalapeños stuffed with cheeses and baked in a biscuit-batter), Sangria Slush and Chuleta de Puerco (Pork Chop on a Stick). Pan Dulce de Mission (funnel cakes) and Buñuelos a la Mode (ice cream with Cajeta sauce and buñuelo chips) help satisfy those with sweet cravings. Fortune Tellers predict the fortunes of some, while others find Fiesta hats at the Sombrero Wagon. Caricaturists will capture humorous renditions of NIOSA’s visitors. The country western sounds of the Good Ole Boys entertain guests. An ATM and a First Aid station are located on S. Presa.

Sauerkraut Bend (added in 1972)
German influence in San Antonio dates back to the early 1800s, when immigrants built their homes in the King William neighborhood along a bend in the San Antonio River. Called Sauerkraut Bend, it inspired the NIOSA version, which is set in the Villita Assembly Building. Eurofest and the Cadence Cloggers of San Antonio (returning this year) will provide continuous entertainment (including the popular Chicken Dance). Visitors to the cool, spacious hall enjoy Sausage on a Stick (1,200 pounds worth, made exclusively for NIOSA), Deutsche Nachtische (sweets including Black Forest Cake and gingerbread), Bretzlyn, Deutsche Ice Cream, Bavarian Kreme, Bratwurst Broetchen, Potato Pancakes, a Sausage Sampler, Pigs in a Blanket and Schinkenbrot (shaved ham on rye with butter and garnished with a gherkin pickle--new this year). The area also offers Heineken, Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, Shiner Bach, Beir mit Eiscreme (beer floats in orange and root beer flavors) and Craft Beer Flights (three different flavors--new this year). An ATM machine and restrooms are located in this area.

South of the Border (added in 1981)
Imitating the roadside vendor stands in Northern Mexico, canopies of bright green, yellow, red and blue adorn food booths in our South of The Border area. Healthy favorites include Aguacates (fresh avocado halves filled with a blend of salsa and sour cream) and Pollo Rancheros. Other favorites include Tacos de Queso, Beef Tacos, Queso Flameado, Tamales en Pollo and Smirnoff Preparadas (mango malt beverage with fresh fruit, chamoy and chili lime powder) are served here. The NIOSA Crafters will sell the crafts and artistic items they make as volunteers, including wreaths, fascinators and necklaces. Sweet fruit drink carts usually found along border towns appear as Jugos Frescas with its mango, strawberry and watermelon juices blended into a favorite for parched participants and NIOSARITAs (new this year). An ATM and a first aid station are located inside the gate at S. Alamo and Villita.

Villa España (added in 2004)
Villa España celebrates the city’s Spanish and Canary Islanders heritage with authentic Spanish dishes such as Tapas Bandas, Baja Fish Tacos, Sangria and Shrimp Parilla (shrimp-ke-bob). Listen to the continuous entertainment of the popular R&B music of the Dukes of Cool.

Libations at NIOSA
Returning this year to all areas (except Clown Alley) will be Miller Lite and Coors Light. In select booths, guests will also find Blue Moon, Redd’s Apple, Dos Equis and new this year: Finding Friday from local Busted Sandal Brewery. The Sauerkraut Bend area will sell Heineken, Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy, Shiner Bach and Beir mit Eiscreme (beer floats in orange and root beer flavors). Premium Smirnoff malt beverages, wine margaritas, sangria, wine and champagne can also be found in select areas, as well as three varieties of the very popular Smirnoff Preparadas (a flavored malt beverage with fresh fruit, chamoy and chili lime powder).

WHEN: April 25-28, 2017, 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, bounded by the San Antonio River and Alamo, Nueva and Presa streets (approximately five acres). Handicap access at all gates, except for the one at Alamo & Villita streets. VIA Metropolitan Transit will again offer Park and Ride services; check its website at http://www.viainfo.net for complete information. A Bike Corral will again be offered outside the NIOSA gate at Alamo and Nueva streets from 5:30 – 10 p.m. so bicycles (not motorcycles) can be locked up in a “manned” area.

TICKETS:    Gate tickets are $15 for adults; there is no admission fee for children 12 and under when accompanied by an adult. Discount advance tickets are available for $12 online at http://www.niosa.org, the NIOSA Corner Store in La Villita and at other locations around San Antonio in mid-February; visit the website for specific locations.

INFO: Visit http://www.niosa.org, contact (210) 216-5188, email niosa(at)niosa(dot)org or follow NIOSA on Facebook. NIOSA’s mobile website at http://www.niosa.org/mobile includes an interactive map, lists of all foods, beverages, entertainment and more.

MEDIA: More comprehensive media materials are available on the NIOSA website news page. High-resolution photos, recipes, B-roll, interviews with Patti Zaiontz 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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