Photo: Courtesy, Carlos R. Leos
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Fiesta was one of the first large, local events swept up by coronavirus-related postponements and cancellations. But spirited San Antonians kept the tradition alive in a variety of ways last week, like the now-Facebook-famous reveler, who used his imagination to ensure nothing rained on his Battle of Flowers Parade.
Videos and photos showing Carlos R. Leos sitting alone on a Broadway sidewalk, as if the big parade was still happening, is one of many scenes he recreated to spread some Fiesta humor to his fellow San Antonians during the coronavirus crisis that ripped out the most important page in the city’s social calendar.
The avid Fiesta-goer said if the postponed Fiesta is able to happen Nov. 5-15, he’ll be there every night, but for now he’s filling the void for himself and others with the collection of posts, which he dubbed “Fiesta in the Time of One.”
Over the course of the original April 16-26 Fiesta schedule, Leos and his girlfriend Stephanie Hughes, hit up the most popular party spots to produce quick videos showing him acting out the festivities alone. He squeezed through invisible crowds with his hands up in the air at Villa Espana and performed a one-person chicken dance at German Town at his imaginary NIOSA. He even pretended to sell Maria’s Tortilla’s, one of NIOSA’s favorite snacks.
Leos said one of his favorite videos is from the Battle of Flowers post. After blowing his vuvuzela, one of the trademark sounds of the parade, an employee at Pig Stand, a restaurant on the parade route, yells “It’s in November.”
“He didn’t realize I was joking around being there, and I still laugh every time I think about it or see that video clip,” Leos said.
The one-man Fiesta party said some people, like the Pig Stand employee, were confused to see him sitting alone on the sidewalk with his party essentials, yelling “Show me your shoes” at passing cars, but others caught on and waved or smiled back.
“It really connected me with all those that wished they could do the same,” he said.
Fiesta fans said they were coming to Leo’s profile each day to see what he would come up with next. He said the response has been “touching” and shows how much San Antonio thrives in tradition.
“Seeing the reaction to my videos shows that so many are ready for the light and want to get rid of the gloom,” he said.
While Fiesta social media superstars from previous years have earned monikers from the city like the “‘Nombre Shut Up’ guy” and the “Fiesta Sucia,” Leos said a nickname for his antics hasn’t emerged yet, but he’ll take whatever is given to him.