Cornyation: San Antonio’s Outrageous Fiesta Tradition

San Antonio’s Fiesta is a world-renowned celebration, and at the heart of the party is Cornyation! This outrageous tradition satirizes the Coronation of the Queen of the Order of the Alamo, and it’s been delighting (and shocking!) locals and visitors alike since 1951.

Each year, Cornyation features a new crop of characters, from the Pointless Sisters to the Duchess of Herman’s Happiness. And with three days of non-stop revelry, there’s plenty of opportunity to catch all the hilarious hijinks. So if you’re looking for a truly unique Fiesta experience, be sure to check out Cornyation!

Editorial Reviews


“Though Fiesta is famed throughout Texas (and perhaps beyond) for its parades, concerts, and block parties, one of its most lively events is known to few outside the city limits: Cornyation, a satire of the festival’s Coronation of the Queen of the Order of the Alamo. Begun in 1951, Cornyation lampooned the local social elites who ran Fiesta and cast itself as an event for the city’s ‘little people.’ In the years that followed, this modest, grassroots affair evolved into a three-day spectacle featuring such characters as the Pointless Sisters, the Vice-Empress of Garlic (who wore “an odoriferous necklace of garlic weighing five pounds”), and the Duchess of Herman’s Happiness. After going into hibernation in the mid-sixties, Cornyation reemerged in the eighties as the AIDS crisis made its message of acceptance more urgent than ever.” ― Texas Monthly

“Five years in the making, Stone’s hotly anticipated book Cornyation: San Antonio’s Outrageous Fiesta Tradition presents her many findings in a format that’s part scrapbook, part crash course. Brought to life through 40-plus interviews, excerpts from scripts and more than 100 photos that date as far back as the 1950s, the book offers a fascinating look at Fiesta’s development into a more inclusive ‘party with a purpose and Cornyation’s transformation from a ‘Fiesta for the little people’ to a major fundraiser that’s donated more than $2 million to local HIV/AIDS charities.” ― San Antonio Current

“When Amy Stone left her first Cornyation in 2009, she had more questions than answers. So the Trinity University associate professor of sociology and anthropology did what she does best and started researching….Eight years later, she’s published Cornyation: San Antonio’s Outrageous Fiesta Tradition, which chronicles the satirical show’s history through photos, interviews and document research.” ― San Antonio Magazine

“Stone’s new history of the show pays tribute to the closeted men and women ― theater directors, fashion designers, performers and stagehands ― who started the satirical extravaganza in the 1950s, when campy humor was one of very few creative outlets available to LGBT San Antonians.” ― Texas Observer

“Stone brings to this book a wealth of in-depth research she has been conducting since 2012, and great facility for characterizing the many people who have made Cornyation tick.” ― San Antonio Express-News

“Cornyation proves communities can raise a middle finger to homophobia, ignorance, and the status quo while still raising nearly $2 million for local HIV/AIDS charities.” ― Austin Chronicle

“Cornyation explores the idea of incorporating LGBTQIA individuals into the community, tracing the history of Texas’s most popular LGBTQIA event, and its evolution into a formidable fundraiser.” ― Rivard Report

“Cornyation, a satire show that pokes fun at local and national issues, celebrities and politicians has been part of Fiesta for decades. The event is the subject of a new book called Cornyation: San Antonio’s Outrageous Fiesta Tradition” ― KSAT ABC News San Antonio

“This particular Fiesta event is known for its diversity, its costumes, and for bringing on the laughs!” ― KENS CBS News San Antonio

“Created in 1951 by members of San Antonio’s theater community to satirize traditional, socially exclusive Fiesta events, Cornyation is a flamboyant, adult-themed parody of local and national politics and culture.” ― Texas Public Radio’s The Source

“Every year, millions attend the 10-day-long Fiesta. It features parades, food tastings, cultural events, sports and dances. But one of the most popular and colorful of these events is Cornyation. It’s been going on since the 1950s and has become one of the state’s longest-running LGBT celebrations. In a new book that takes the event’s name as its own, Amy Stone explores the history of Cornyation. It is part theatre, part drag show and all parts fun. And though Cornyation celebrates the LGBT community, Stone says the show has never been exclusively by or for those who identify as LGBT.” ― Texas Public Radio’s Texas Standard

“Author Amy Stone has fun with this phenomenon, while taking it seriously on a sociological level. The pictures are out of this world!” ― Austin-American Statesman

About the Author

Amy L. Stone is an associate professor of sociology and anthropology at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. She is the author of Gay Rights at the Ballot Box and the coeditor, with Jaime Cantrell, of Out of the Closet, into the Archives: Researching Sexual Histories. Stone’s areas of study include lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender politics and the incorporation of LGBT individuals into communities and cities, and the law. She lives in San Antonio, Texas.
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