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Brenda Ray Coffee, Mistress of Ceremonies, Fiesta's Cornyation @1995. Photos by Rob Beach
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Every year my hometown of San Antonio throws a mean party. Fiesta is a 10-day celebration attended by 3.5 million people from around the world. Fiesta first began in the late 1800’s to honor the heroes of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto. The entire city practically shuts down. Daily there are private and public events—fueled by music, margaritas and fajitas—including a day parade, a night parade and one that floats on barges down the San Antonio River. One of the most popular events is Cornyation, a bawdy spoof of Fiesta’s “royalty” that includes King Antonio, a Queen and her Court, all chosen from old San Antonio families. Tickets for Cornyation’s three-day, four-show event—downtown at the historic, 856-seat Empire Theatre—sell out in a few hours… faster than any other Fiesta event.

For almost 10 years, I was Mistress of Ceremonies of Cornyation which meant I was onstage, with a microphone, the entire show. Some years I also wrote the script.

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