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Canine Coronations

How to Fiesta with Fido

By Camp Bow Wow


Nothing says San Antonio more than our Fiesta traditions — pins, crowns, costumes and “Show Us Your Shoes!” Dog lovers and pet pals alike can kick off the season this year with their own version of Fiesta royalty, canine style. You can be part of the crowning of pups El Ray Fido and his royal court at 10 a.m., on April 20 at the dog park/restaurant Hops N Hounds. The beloved event plays on the name of Fiesta’s human fundraising king, El Rey Feo, and has been a Fiesta tradition since 2002. 


The free festivity, this year held at the restaurant’s new location at 1123 Ave B., raises tens of thousands for the San Antonio Humane Society. The organization’s mission is to protect and improve the lives of dogs and cats by providing shelter, care, adoption, rescue, spay/neuter programs, and community education. For the past 70 years the no-kill shelter has been “connecting friends for life,” because “People and Pets are just better together.” 


Do you and your pup have what it takes to win the title of El Rey Fido XXII? Pooch/parent pairs have been raising funds since early this spring to see who will earn the honor of the crown and bedazzled canine cape. In addition to the king, four runners-up join El Rey Fido’s Royal Court (Prince/Princess of the Food Bowl, Duke/Duchess of the Chew Toy, Duke/Duchess of the Fire Hydrant, and Knight/Maiden of the Royal Court). Check out entrants like tiny tutu wearing Bou, fuzzy Molly “Porkchoppious,” Tootie la Reina Puggle, Nugget the Bark Master, among others, at 

While a handful of Fiesta events are billed as pet friendly, including the free health and wellness Fiesta FitFest held outdoors on UTSA’s East Parking lot April 12-14, another event was created just for dogs and supports an organization in which they are directly involved. 


The Pooch Parade will celebrate its 25th year and benefits Therapy Animals of San Antonio. The event boasts its own royalty – King Anbarkio and King in Waiting, this year named Scout and Bacon, respectively. Held at the Alamo Heights Swimming Pool, the event kicks off with a costume contest at 8 a.m., April 27. Humans and their pups jockey for the titles Best in Show, Most Creative, Best Fiesta Flair, Best Matched Human and Animal, Top Dog and Most Patriotic. Walk or ride a float in the 4K parade lined with dog-lovers that begins at 9:30 a.m. and winds through Alamo Heights’ tree-lined streets, with water stops and treat stations along 

the way.


You can enjoy food trucks, booths of dog-related products, and watch training and agility demonstrations. Find out more at


Unfortunately, the pooch parade conflicts with another of Fiesta’s dog-friendly events, the King William Fair. If you and Fido like to stay cuddled in the covers during the morning hours, the King William runs until 6 p.m., so you won’t need as early a start. 


The King William Fair goes out of its way to welcome canine companions. There’s a doggy fashion show, rescue agencies with pups available for adoption, and vendors of dog related products among the 200 booths selling handcrafted items. A first aid station just for pups will offer water and waste bags as well as a spot for Fido to rest should he become overtired or overheated.  You might miss the morning festivities, but you can still enjoy live entertainment on five stages and more than 60 snack stations.


So, gear up in your most regal attire and enjoy the Fiesta fun. An added attraction, your participation can benefit less fortunate pups in the community. 

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