It’s finally here! Fiesta season is finally here! And with Fiesta come Oyster Bake! For those who are not a San Antonio native, you probably don’t know what Fiesta is. So I’m here to tell you all about the history of Fiesta and Oyster Bake.
Fiesta started in 1891 with a huge parade as a way to honor the heroes of the Alamo as well as the heroes of the Battle of San Jacinto. Today it is one of the most famous events in San Antonio bringing in more than $284 million for the City. Fiesta is also a celebration of the diverse cultures of San Antonio and this year marks the 125th anniversary of Fiesta and it is also the 100th anniversary of Oyster Bake!
The first Oyster Bake in 1916 was located at St. Mary’s College down by the San Antonio River and was later relocated to St. Mary’s University campus in 1929. Back then the event was held in our gymnasium and only sold oysters and beer. The event was relocated to Pecan Grove on campus in 1937, which is where the famous oysters are still sold at today. At this time only St. Mary’s past and present student and faculty were invited to Oyster Bake, until 1970 when they opened it to the general public. The Bake officially became a Fiesta event four years later in 1974. Today the main concept behind Oyster Bake is to help raise funds for scholarships. In 1980 the school raised over $100,00 and then $500,000 is 1987. In 2012 Bud Light beer became the official beer of Oyster Bake and the event raised $2,507,000! In 2014 it brought in $2,702,000!
A lot of preparation goes into setting up for Oyster Bake. As soon as the portable fences are set up around campus, St. Mary’s students know that it’s Oyster Bake season! Soon after the fences start going up, students start seeing the food booths and porta potties being set up. In the middle of the week that’s when the rides, the food trucks and the stages start coming to campus and start setting up for the weekend. Oyster Bake has a variety of performers for the two days of fun in the sun. Artists ranging from hip hop to country to even Tejano music. Just to name a few, last year we had country artist Cody Johnson and Jana Kramer. And in 2014 we had Jarrod Niemann performing. This year we have Kevin Fowler and even Kyle Park! Whatever genre of music you prefer, Oyster Bake is never short of entertainment. There are a total of 5 stages on campus and they are continuous performances from the beginning to the end of each day of Oyster Bake. And there is plenty of food to keep you satisfied throughout the days!
Since the first Oyster Bake, it has been known for the oysters and beer. Today they still sell that and much, much more! There are multiple food trucks that provide many delicious traditional “carnival food” like corn dogs, nachos, cotton candy, you name it we most likely have it plus more! St. Mary’s also has their own food booths selling food such as corn in a cup, frozen lemonade, sausage on a stick and our famous chicken on a stick that everyone lives for at Oyster Bake; especially all the girls on the team haha. For students, Oyster Bake is a fun way to escape from the stress of papers, projects and presentations before study week and finals week pop up. Which both seem to come up really quick! Once finals are here that means that summer is right around the corner and before we know it volleyball season will be here!