- SanJapan, Courtesy of Hilmy
Previous years of the San Antonio Current’s signature Cocktail party have subscribed to the Gatsby model of decadence, featuring top-shelf drinks at the gorgeous McNay. With the 80s-themed party held at The DoSeum last year, the attitude felt closer to Willy Wonka — if the chocolate-manufacturer built a factory dedicated to booze instead of cocoa. This year’s ’90s-themed bash includes snacks from dozens of San Antonio’s best restaurants and cocktail samples from its most creative bars and bartenders. With scrunchies and tube socks in place, boogie on the dance floor and explore the interactive kids’ museum’s engineering, Spy Academy and light and sound exhibits. Just try not to get too excited by the elaborate ball pit-style Rube Goldberg machine. $45, July 28, The DoSeum, 2800 Broadway, cocktail.sacurrent.com.
A week after the nation celebrates the anniversary of marriage equality, San Antonio’s Pride Festival hits the streets with the Pride Bigger Than Texas Festival and Parade. With events all day Saturday, Crockett Park turns into a booming block party. The just-north-of-downtown park hosts the High Heel Race and Rainbow Dash fun run as well as vendors, face painting and more. At 9 p.m., the festival goes mobile, routing toward the Main Strip bars. With a day’s drinking under the belt, the parade tends to be the most fun, rowdy and proud moment of the evening, when a costume becomes armor and San Anto feels like the LGBT hub it was meant to be. $10 donation (parade free), July, Crockett Park, pridesanantonio.org.
Tejano Conjunto Festival
If you’re ever worried that San Antonio is changing too quickly, buy a ticket to the Tejano Conjunto Festival. That’s not a dig — the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center’s annual event showcases the finest of San Anto and South Texas’ musical heritage, the stuff that was here before your trendy neighbors moved in and will remain long after they’re gone. The festival always hits the sweet spot of festival lineups, providing a perfect balance of young innovators and classic headliners to fill the bill. Founder Juan Tejeda will take an advisory role this year as new executive director Christina Ballí brings her experience in Latino arts programming to the project. Now in its 36th year, expect the May celebration to deliver the baddest and boldest sounds from the accordion and bajo sexto. To borrow from Augie Meyers, their corazón is real. Prices vary, May 24-28, Guadalupe Theater (1301 Guadalupe St.) & Rosedale Park (422 Dartmouth St.), guadalupeculturalarts.org.
The flight alone from San Antonio to Tokyo costs somewhere in the ballpark of $1500 — in other words, a deal breaker for the average nipponophile. Luckily, every September, San Japan offers a deep dive into anime and Japanese culture for those who aren’t looking to travel farther than Downtown SA. Last year, almost 20,000 nerds descended upon the festival, dressed in various levels of commitment to their cosplay. For the 2017 Robots and Androids-themed event, San Japan welcomes voice actors Max Mittelman, Ray Chase, Robbie Daymond and a load of other unannounced guests involved in anime, horror and video games. Japanese band All Off will also appear and likely perform some of their anime-themed songs. A tip for significant others: If you go with and don’t act like a buzzkill the whole time, you will be rewarded. $20-$175, September 1-3, Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, 900 E. Market St., san-japan.org.