A Night in Old San Antonio’s medal honoring San Antonio’s chili queens won second place in this year’s Express-News contest.
The chili queens’ glory days date back to the 19th century. Prior to the 1870s, Main and Military Plazas served as the center of commercial and communal activity. One of the most unique of these activities was partaking of a meal served outdoors by enterprising women, many of Mexican heritage, known as “Chili Queens.” The construction of the new city hall on Military Plaza in 1890 forced the Chili Queens to move their food stands to Alamo and Milam Plazas. By 1941, the reign of the chili queens – then located in Haymarket Plaza (Market Square/El Mercado) – had come to an end.
It was this lost tradition that inspired another group of enterprising women, members of the Conservation Society, to recreate the experience during Fiesta in 1947.
Come celebrate more great San Antonio traditions at the 75th anniversary of A Night in Old San Antonio (NIOSA), April 25 -28!