Book Review: Cornyation: San Antonio's Outrageous Fiesta Tradition

Amy L. Stone

Cornyation: San Antonio's Outrageous Fiesta Tradition

Every broiling April in downtown San Antonio erupts Fiesta, the Alamo City's equivalent to Mardi Gras, complete with an expansive bacchanal of music and parade floats. Amidst the 10-day celebration is the absurd, satirical show at the center of Cornyation: San Antonio's Outrageous Fiesta Tradition. Attending her first Fiesta in 2009, author Stone found herself captivated by lesbian couples and suburbanites partying side by side as they all took in San Antonio's city manager, decked in stiletto boots, morphing into the iconic King Anchovy. Begun in 1951 as a family-friendly event aimed to mock the "social elite," the coronation of the Queen of San Antonio then grew into sharp, witty commentary that offered inclusive space in the civic celebration for the LGBT community. Stone balances storyteller and historian in traversing the vibrant landscape giving birth to the Empress of the Cracked Salad Bowl – the Sixties space race-leaning inauguration of a Sputnik empress – and general gay-boy realness. Cornyation proves communities can raise a middle finger to homophobia, ignorance, and the status quo while still raising nearly $2 million for local HIV/AIDS charities.

Cornyation: San Antonio’s Outrageous Fiesta Tradition

by Amy L. Stone
Trinity University Press, 188 pp., $24.95

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San Antonio Fiesta, King Anchovy, Empress of the Cracked Salad Bowl, Texas Book Festival 2017

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