With the pandemic still a reality, the fourth annual San Antonio CityFest will feature a mix of safe and in-person events and a series of live, live discussions, over four days, October 13-16.
Fittingly, the theme of this year’s event is “And after?” as San Antonio Report reporters and guest panelists assess life over the past year in Texas cities and anticipate the new post-pandemic reality that lies ahead.
It’s my favorite event of the year, a time when staff, local leaders and guests, and readers step back from the constant flow of information to dig deeper into some of the day’s most pressing issues.
We’re also anxious for everyone in the city to get back to “normal”, whatever the post-pandemic definition, but caution dictates that we present CityFest as a hybrid event this year.
Our luncheon will take place on Thursday, October 14 in the HEB auditorium of the Tobin Center for the Performing Arts with seats at sufficiently well-spaced tables. A social mixer on Friday October 15 will be outdoors in downtown Legacy Park, followed by a guided bike ride and cultural and historical tour on Saturday October 16, which starts at Confluence Park and ends at the park. from Lake Elmendorf.
Former Trinity University professor and author Char Miller, now a professor at Pomona College in California, will be the keynote speaker over lunch at the Tobin, discussing his new book, Ascent to the west: How the 1921 San Antonio floods devastated a city and sparked a Latin American movement for environmental justice. Henry Cisneros, longtime Westside resident and former San Antonio mayor, who edited the book for the San Antonio report, will join Miller on stage for a conversation about the flooding and the aftermath of the disaster that continues to contribute to define the economic and racial segregation of San Antonio.
Miller remains a keen observer of politics and history in San Antonio, while Cisneros witnessed the episodic Westside flooding and municipal divestment in the neighborhood growing up, which helped shape his public service and trajectory. Politics. It should be a captivating conversation. Click here for tickets for the 11:30 a.m. event.
The other CityFest discussions, including five with several panelists, will be virtual. You can register here for a free pass to online events.
The opening panel on Wednesday, October 13 will highlight the challenges for mayors of major cities to manage the long pandemic, as leaders struggled to contain the spread of the coronavirus and maintain the economic recovery and reopening of schools on all track. by fighting the state’s top elected leaders on mask mandates and other public health protocols.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg will be joined by Mayor of Austin Steve Adler, Mayor of Fort Worth Mattie Parker and Mayor of El Paso Oscar Leeser to The Texas Challenge: Leading Cities Safely During the Pandemic. Local government reporter Jackie Wang will serve as moderator.
The second panel, titled Federal aid in the event of a pandemic: a unique investment opportunity, will feature San Antonio City Manager Erik Walsh and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff for a conversation that I will moderate by reviewing the planning underway to allocate hundreds of millions of federal aid sent to cities and counties in 2021 and 2022 to be spent by 2026. A new bond cycle, the planned expansion of the San Antonio International Airport, and the completion of the San Pedro Creek Improvement Project drive spending to capital improvement planned to multi-billion dollars over the next five years.
A third panel in the afternoon and still in development is tentatively titled, The New Thin Line: Calls for Police, Public Health and Mental Health Services. It will be moderated by lead journalist Iris Dimmick.
A pair of panels on Friday October 15 will explore the future of the workplace. In the first panel, Collaboration CityFest x SA Startup Week: the future of innovation, technology and journalism, San Antonio Report editor and CEO Angie Mock and Geekdom CEO Charles Woodin gaze at the horizon in a conversation moderated by CTO Dax Moreno.
The second panel, The The future of work in San Antonio, will feature Afamia Elnakat, Director of Infrastructure and Environmental Health at Noctuam LLC; Michael Ramsey, Executive Director of Workforce Development at the City of San Antonio; and Teresa Harrison, associate professor of management at the University of the Incarnate Word. San Antonio Report Story Editor-in-Chief Tracy Idell Hamilton will serve as moderator as panelists explore the “new normal” in workplace culture and protocols.
Then it’s time to socialize outdoors. CityFest in the park at Legacy Park will feature an evening of art, poetry and music live from members of the spoken poetry collective 2nd Verse while members of the public enjoy food and drink from local vendors. Bring a blanket or lawn chair. The party night will be introduced by Gloria “Glo” Armmer of 2nd Verse, followed by performances by the RNS Band, San Antonio poet laureate Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson, Rooster Martinez, Chibbo Ortunda and Johnny Morales. Arts and culture journalist Nicholas Frank will interview artists and poets live on stage.
Senior Reporter Brendan Gibbons, author of the San Antonio Report The Trailist function, will lead a 10 mile moderate VIP bike tour on Saturday, starting at Confluence Park and ending at Lake Elmendorf Park. Limited tickets are available for the VIP ride, which will be limited to a maximum of 50 riders. The ride will include two stops to meet special guests Miller and Amelia Valdez, a longtime Westside resident who works for the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center. Miller and Valdez will both speak briefly about the 1921 Flood and its lasting repercussions. Some free tickets are available.
Check out the full CityFest program here. Find the time to join us for this year’s CityFest lineup, in person or for our virtual events.