Friday, April 02, 2010

San Antonio Really Is Cool

Often enough I tend to think that San Antonio is deficient in culture and activities that other large Texas cities have in spades.  But as I venture outside of the little sphere of my daily commute, I find that the city really is interesting.  Last weekend was a great example.

The Pearl Brewery was an icon of the city until its operations closed in 2001.  Since then, it has been bought out and is now in the process of turning into a place of interest for both locals and tourists.  The most well known institution to set up shop in the complex is the Culinary Institute of America-San Antonio.  I didn't get a chance to see it, but it definitely has created a hub-bub of conversations.  The Riverwalk and river tours have expanded so reach all the way from the River Walk to the Pearl Brewery.  The newly landscaped river on the back side of the brewery is very pretty.  Right now there is even more construction going on as lofts are being built out in and around the original brewery.  Run Wild Sports has sponsored several of the local races I've done. For those with small kids, the Twig bookstore has a wonderful storyteller.  I think my twin sister enjoyed the storyteller more than my niece or nephew.

Now, every Saturday the complex sports a farmers market that is gaining popularity.  There were a couple dozen vendors when we were there, and maybe a hundred or so people milling about.  Local produce is common, but there were at least two bakeries, one lavender farm, a lamb vendor, and a bison vendor.  I was incredibly intrigued by the latter two, which I will have to come up with an excuse as to why I should get some of their wares.  There are different cooking demonstrations by local chefs each week as well live music.  Many people brought their dogs on the morning we went.  I spent quite a bit of time making sure my nephew didn't get too close to the unfriendly ones.   I didn't get to spend as much time there as I would have liked, but fully intend to go back on my own soon.

Another cool event I first heard of by noticing one of those over-the-street banners: the San Antonio Highland Games.  Later on, I heard them talking about it on a morning local talk radio spot.  It was held in the Helotes Festival Grounds, which is home to one of the most popular Fiesta events.  The main reason for this is to provide competitive event for professional "heavy athletics."  I didn't understand the rules of the single event that we saw, but it would have been cool to see some of the other events.  I found it interesting that a kilt and stockings are required attire for competitors.  (For Chris W. - I saw quite a few Utili-kilts!) We missed the dog events, but saw a troop of Irish dancers and several groups playing Celtic music.  I don't do Guinness, but I did have a couple pints of Belhaven which isn't as dark as Guinness, but is a very deep brown and has a woody taste.  I really want to see more of the athletic events, so I will probably try to go to this event next year.  Coolest thing - it took Mom three or so hours to remember the surname of our Scottish ancestors, but we have a crest! 


Amanda said...

I so wanted to go to that festival this year! Ah well...

This summer I absolutely must get down to the Folklife Festival. Last year it was way too hot but Jason and I went the year before (by bus of course) and it was so much fun. I love the Lebanese food they have there!

Faith said...

I've never been to the Market or the Pearl Brewery area. Let me know next time you go. I would love to go! :)

Ann said...

Amanda - where/what is the Folklife Festival. I haven't heard of it before.

Faith - I don't think I'll be making it down there for a few weeks because of upcoming races, but I'll let you know.