San Antonio Western Heritage Parade and Cattle Drive: The Colorful Old West

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Two men in frontier soldier dress drive a team of brown horses pulling a blue covered wagon like those in Old Western movies

About the parade

The Western Heritage Parade and Cattle Drive in San Antonio is an annual event.  It marks the kick-off of the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo.  This is one of many free fun things to do in San Antonio. The parade is a celebration of the rich historical legacy of the state of Texas and the Old West. As part of this unique event, drovers usher a herd of  Texas Longhorn cattle through the city, just like the great cattle drives of ages past. Git along, little dogies!

 

 

Cowboys dressed in leather and a cowgirl dressed in black riding on Texas longhorn steers

Cowhands riding Texas Longhorn steers. Picture taken across from the Alamo in front of the Emily Morgan Hotel

 

 

Western Heritage Parade San Antonio: Parade Route

The parade route winds for a mile and a half through the heart of downtown San Antonio. It begins under I-35 near Christus Santa Rosa Hospital, mostly following Houston Street (with short construction detours some years). It then turns south near the Federal building to continue to La Villita.

 

African American Buffalo Soldier dressed in blue uniform, black hat, and yellow gloves and kerchief, riding a white horse

 

US border patrol officers dressed in green uniforms, cream-colored cowboy hats, and leather chaps, mounted on horseback

 

What Will You See in the Western Heritage Parade and Cattle Drive?

This San Antonio parade is a grand procession of humanity and beasts.  It all starts with a stampede of steers…a cavalcade of cattle leading the lineup.

Buxom barmaids in bustiers blaze a trail down the boulevard in a wooden-wheeled wagon.

Escaramuzas in elaborate embroidered skirts wend their way sidesaddle through the center of this old bastion of the Spanish Empire, Mexican Republic, and American frontier.

Lassoers languidly launch lariats as they lope down the lane.

stampede of Texas longhorn cattle

Two women in Old West dresses chat under a tent while preparing food

 

Thomas Jefferson High School Lassos dance team marching in front of the alamo in San Antonio

 

 

 

If the signature of the Fiesta® San Antonio Battle of Flowers® Parade is its famous footwear (“show us your shoes!”), then it might be fair to say that a hallmark of the Western Heritage Parade is the headwear.  You will see every form of headgear imaginable: horns, manes, ten gallon hats, sombreros, bowlers, rhinestone crowns, headdresses, glengarries, and tam o’shanters.

 

A cowgirl dressed in a black shirt, black cowboy hat, green neckerchief, and white chaps riding a longhorn steer

 

Although other Texas Western heritage parades exist, such as the Fort Worth All Western Parade and the Houston Downtown Rodeo Parade, no other city can boast what San Antonio can: the very ALAMO right along the parade route!

If you are staying in the one of the hotels near the Alamo or the Riverwalk at this time of year, it would be wonderfully memorable to stroll over to Alamo Plaza to enjoy this colorful, free San Antonio rodeo parade.

 

Montage of a sheriff from the Old West with a large moustache, cowboy hat, and red bandana, as well as a bronze statue of Davy Crockett at the Alamo

A sheriff of the Old Western Frontier and statue of Davy Crockett at the Alamo

Western Heritage Weekend: Celebrating the Old West

The Western Heritage Parade and Cattle Drive is part of a Western Heritage Weekend that features a number of events in downtown San Antonio.  These include a Stampede 5K run/walk before the parade (Saturday, February 1st 9:30-11:00 AM) and a Wrangler Breakfast (authentic chuckwagon breakfast) at La Villita (Saturday, February 1).  Plus, a Vaquero Cook-Off features stars of Tex Mex cuisine like chili con carne (Friday, January 31, 5:00  – 9:00 PM ), and carne guisada, charro/borracho beans, and menudo (Saturday, February 1, 2020 from 9:00 AM – 9:00 PM)

So in conclusion, take advantage and enjoy all the fun and colorful cultural legacy of Texas and the Old West!  Get all the details about Western Heritage Weekend here.

 

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A brown wooden wagon from the pioneer days flying a United States flag and a white Gonzales Come and Take It flag

 

 

Two brown longhorn steers and a flock of white sheep and lambs standing together in a group in downtown San Antonio at the Old West themed parade

 

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San Antonio Western Heritage Parade and Cattle Drive FAQs

When is the San Antonio Western Heritage Parade & Cattle Drive?

Date: Saturday, February 1st, 2020 at 11:00 AM

What is the parade route of the Western Heritage Parade in San Antonio?

Parade starts at I-35/Houston St., and follows Houston St. (with a detour to W. Travis St. between Santa Rosa St. and Flores St.). Parade then makes a right turn from Houston St. to Alamo St. and proceeds to end at La Villita (S. Alamo/ E Nueva St.)