While visiting San Antonio earlier this month, Alma and I decided to explore the Texas Folklife Festival, which is held in the UTSA Hemisfair Campus around the Institute of Texan Cultures. The Texas Folklife Festival certainly is a great introduction to the grounds of the Institute of Texan Cultures. You would be well served to revisit the campus on a normal business day for a more leisurely and deeper experience.
To get there, we called on an Uber driver. She was not too certain about where exactly to drop us off. She drove around the area to find the best spot, which looked like an entrance. We entered through what turned out to be the rear entrance. Later, when we got the map, we learned that there was indeed a designated pick up and drop off location for Uber and Lyft. Understandably, the organizers could not be expected to notify all the drivers about this. Perhaps they could have designed wayfinding signage to direct drivers.
The entrance fee to the festival was $15 per person. To purchase meals and drinks, it was necessary to purchase tickets. The festival placed several ticket dispensaries around the the grounds, making it convenient to not have to walk too far to buy more. The only inconvenience of the ticket purchasing was that they did not accept American Express.
Upon entering, the festival, there were booths all around offering a variety of ethnic foods, all with their distinct aromas and degree of enticement. Entertainment by the various cultures included folk dancing, musical performances, and educational material. Fortunately, most cultures also include beer in their cuisine, at least in Texas they do. It would be almost impossible to have a taste of all the different foods, even if cost were not an issue. But, it is certainly worth the attempt. There was a constant hubbub throughout the grounds as visitors made their way to see whatever caught their eye. Children walked around in wide-eyed excitement as their parents held their hands to keep them from running off in different directions.
Inside the UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, the air-conditioning was a respite from the heat and humidity outdoors. This was our first time visiting the space, which is laid out like a museum with displays and placards describing the artifacts. One thing that immediately catches your eye is a giant Texas flag in neon lights that almost screams at you to get a photograph. Alma and I intend to return to visit the center someday with our family.
The only downside to this festival, which I think is a constant, is that it takes place during the summer. It can get hot and muggy some years. Other years, it could just be hot. If it were to rain, it might put a damper on things. However, given how Texas rains are relatively warm, it would not keep people away.
Now that we know that the Texas Folklife Festival happens every summer, we are sure to include it on our list of summer travel destinations.