San Antonio Conservation Society to Bring the City's Culture Alive with the 70th Presentation of "A Night In Old San Antonio"

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Festival of food, drink and music celebrates and funds historic preservation.

San Antonio Conservation Society to bring the city’s culture alive with the 70th presentation of “A Night In Old San Antonio®” Festival of food, drink and music celebrates and funds historic preservation.

WHAT: “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 200-plus food, drink and atmosphere booths; 14 live musical acts; children’s games; decorations; souvenirs; and costumed volunteers, NIOSA brings the city’s heritage alive in 15 areas: Mission Trail (early years of the San Antonio Missions); Arneson Theatre (amphitheatre built in 1941 into the natural curve of the city’s river bank); China Town; Clown Alley; French Quarter; Froggy Bottom (cultural contributions of African-Americans); Frontier Town; Haymarket (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 Flats; Main Street USA; Mexican Market; Sauerkraut Bend; South of the Border (Northern Mexico influences); and Villa España (Spanish and Canary Islanders heritage).

Solely sponsored by and benefiting the San Antonio Conservation Society (one of the nation’s oldest and most active historic preservation organizations), the 70th presentation of NIOSA will be held Tuesday through Friday, April 24-27, 2018 during the city’s Fiesta San Antonio® celebration.

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. Many dishes can only be enjoyed at NIOSA.
  • All booths are run by Conservation Society volunteers; many are second or third generations of a family. Volunteers come from all over the country to work at NIOSA.
  • On the average, NIOSA revelers annually consume over 17,000 lbs. of beef; 11,000 lbs. of chicken; 5,000 lbs. of sausage; 3,000 turkey legs; 25,000 buns, rolls and bolillos; 30,000 tortillas; 2,000 lbs. of masa; 6,000 tamales; 15,000 lbs. of fruits and vegetables; and 1,000 lbs. of guacamole.

WHEN: Tuesday through Friday, April 24-27, 2018. Gates open at 5:30 and close at 10 p.m. Food sales and entertainment continue until 10:30 p.m.

WHERE: Grounds of 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 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.

NIOSA chairman Margie Arnold—elected by the Conservation Society in July 2017 as its Fourth Vice President/NIOSA Chairman— volunteers her time all year to plan and coordinate the event, assisted by four NIOSA vice chairmen and a treasurer (also all volunteers). They oversee the other 10,000 volunteers who contribute more than 74,000 volunteer hours to make NIOSA happen. Arnold estimates the costs to produce NIOSA are reduced more than $100,000 for every 10,000 volunteer hours, which funds the Society’s preservation work in the greater San Antonio area.

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: Children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. Discount advance tickets are available at http://www.niosa.org and at locations around San Antonio as of March 1; visit website for locations. Discount e-tickets available on NIOSA website.

INFO: Visit http://www.niosa.org, contact (210) 226-5188, email niosa(at)niosa.org or follow NIOSA on Facebook. NIOSA’s website at http://www.niosa.org includes a color-coded interactive map with touch screen navigation, list of foods/beverages/entertainment by area and photo submissions from visitors.

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. NIOSITAS commemorate the cultural influences of San Antonio with food and entertainment—all funded by volunteers.

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In 2017, for the sixth year in a row, “A Night In Old San Antonio®” (NIOSA®) has earned one of the top levels of certification from the City of San Antonio based on its Green Events Ordinance sustainable policies for medium and large-scale events.

MEDIA:     More comprehensive media materials are available on NIOSA news page. High-resolution photos; recipes; B-roll; interviews with Margie Arnold; interviews with bilingual spokespersons; media passes; and more detailed entertainment/food schedules are available from Jeanne Albrecht at 210-392-9047 or jca(at)jeannebiz.com

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Jeanne Albrecht

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