Battle of Flowers Parade will be seen beyond San Antonio
Students aren’t the only ones hitting the books. It’s also cram time for KSAT anchors Leslie Mouton, Ursula Pari, Steve Spriester, Myra Arthur and other hosts of this year’s Fiesta parade telecasts.
They’re busy studying up on color, history, music and more before taking to the air next week.
“We are given a large binder filled with scripts and details about the dresses, participants and floats about a week before the parade. I’m already reading and preparing for it,” said morning news co-anchor Mouton, who’ll co-host the Battle of Flowers Parade with news partner Mark Austin on April 28 on KSAT, the official Fiesta station since 2014.
Weathercaster and “S.A Live” co-host Mike Osterhage will be in the crowds gathering reaction.
Adding another layer of pressure — not to mention excitement — is a new development: The broadcast of that oldest of San Antonio’s Fiesta floatfests will be syndicated to other markets this year, including — wow! — Honolulu, Hawaii.
“The 2017 Battle of Flowers Parade will certainly live up to this year’s theme – ‘Blazing Trails’,” said Byron LeFlore, senior vice president of the Fiesta San Antonio Commission.
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He said the broadcast will reach many more viewers, not only across Texas, but in states as far away as California, Michigan and, yes, Hawaii.
This is made possible via a partnership between the Fiesta San Antonio Commission and Content Wise, a Michigan-based national syndicator of events and parades, which also is behind America’s Biggest Birthday Parade in St. Louis and Detroit’s Thanksgiving Parade.
LeFlore said KSAT will provide an hourlong clean feed of the spectacle, minus station branding, commercials and other advertisements, to the syndicator for rebroadcast in a dozen markets, including Austin, El Paso, Abilene, Flint, Mich. and Eureka, Calif.
Honolulu will be the only one airing the full afternoon parade — 2½ hours — LeFlore said.
This is just the beginning, he added — a test run, if you will.
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Eventually, he said, “we’re hoping to syndicate (the Texas Cavaliers River Parade and the Fiesta Flambeau) as well.”
For now, Rhonda Calvert, president of the Battle of Flowers Association, couldn’t be prouder.
“It’s neat that the Fiesta Commission honored the Battle of Flowers by selecting us as the first parade to be televised … because this is our 126th year,” Calvert said.
“I think most of San Antonio knows that Fiesta actually began with the Battle of Flowers when the distinguished citizens of San Antonio actually had a flower parade in front of the Alamo, and we honored the fallen heroes at the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto.”
The increased exposure also is “a great advertisement for San Antonio,” LeFlore said. “And that’s the intent — to raise awareness and get people in other communities excited about Fiesta and, hopefully, we can generate some interest in making plans to come here and see it in person.”
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No wonder the seasoned Mouton, who mentioned this is her fourth year at the TV helm of Battle of Flowers, already has started prepping.
“It does add a layer of complexity to talk about the city and Fiesta for audiences that aren’t as familiar with them as local audiences,” LeFlore said.
In a Facebook message, Mouton promised she and Austin are determined to make the parade a fabulous experience for S.A. audiences who prefer to watch in the cool of their living rooms rather than battle the heat and crowds outdoors.
“We know people want to hear the bands and see the gowns,” she said. “So we try to allow plenty of time to let the parade breathe — and not over-talk!”
Amen, Leslie! I can’t count the viewer grumbles that have punctuated many a past broadcast when too much jabber interfered with the sights and sounds of these precious parades.
More Fiesta TV goodies
Who will helm the other parade telecasts and specials on KSAT?
From 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, viewers can soak up the fun of Fiesta Fiesta. The telecast from Hemisfair will be hosted by Ursula Pari and Steve Spriester and feature meteorogist Adam Caskey.
Next up at 7 p.m. Monday will be the Texas Cavaliers River Parade, helmed for TV by noon co-anchor David Sears and 6 p.m. newscaster Myra Arthur. That will be followed by a televised after-party from Market Square featuring “SA Live” duo Osterhage and Fiona Gorostiza.
After the aforementioned Battle of Flowers broadcast from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. April 28, Osterhage and Gorostiza will bring you another hourlong special.
The “SA Live” co-hosts will return at 6:30 p.m. April 29 with a televised party preceding Fiesta’s crowning event, the nighttime Fiesta Flambeau Parade.
That glittery parade, co-hosted by Pari and Spriester, will come to viewers at 7:30 p.m.