A view of the King William Fair as painted in watercolor by Caroline Shelton, 1977. This print is part of a larger folio depicting King William Street, created in the Japanese Makimona style and measuring 8 ½” X 10 ½” X 16’.

 

The King William Association Home Tours and Fairs not only celebrate and preserve history, they have made history as well. On Saturday, December 3 the KWA is going to kickoff a yearlong celebration for the 50th anniversary of its establishment in 1967 with a Holiday Home Tour and Fair.

K W A ’ s first home tour took place December 1967 with a tour of association president Ray Dobie’s home at 316 King William Street at a cost of $1 per person. Thus began the association’s goal of working on a history of the homes’ occupants during years past as well as its activism on behalf of the area. That year the issue was streetlights and the slogan “Write for Light” to city hall.

The first King William Fair took place April 1968 during San Antonio’s Fiesta and HemisFair ‘68. This included a tour of some historic houses in the neighborhood. The Fair and Home Tours were held in April at the same time through 1988. That year, there was also a Candlelight Tour of Homes in November.

An item in the San Antonio Light on April 26, 1985 gives an apt description of our beloved...

community event: “ Welcome to the King William Fair, one of the most jumbled assortments of neighborhood characters and free-for- all fun Fiesta has to offer. It starts tomorrow at 11 a.m. with a parade featuring queens in jeeps, a pretend king in a flatbed truck (if someone remembers to invite him), leaping dancers, antique cars and all children who want to tag along.” The Fair was praised for its attitude as well as the array of art vendors and food booths. The home tour included inside views of seven historic houses.

In 1989 the Home Tour was moved to November and was no longer a part of the annual King William Fair. On some years KWA put on “Secret Gardens Tours.” The tour is now a biennial event. Proceeds from the Fair and home tours have helped to beautify the area, attract tourism, promote the arts, and support community programs through grants. KWA has become a model and inspiration for other historic neighborhoods.

Now we have another “First” with a combined Holiday Home Tour and Fair on December 3. The Fair has free admission and will be centered around the gazebo at King William Park located at King William and Turner Streets, starting at 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The Fair will include art vendors, food booths and music. Another “first” will be a collectable holiday Ornament featuring a print by Caroline Shelton from 1977, the first of a planned series. Fair-goers will also be able to purchase a commemorative medal and T-shirt that will be available throughout our yearlong celebration in 2017.

There is an admission fee to tour five houses. Presale tickets at $15 will be available for purchase online at ourkwa.org or at the KWA office. Day of event tickets at $20 will be available at Elsa’s Attic booth at King William Park. For additional information call 227- 8786.

To add to the KWA festivities, Beethoven Maennerchor will be showcasing its annual free Kristkindlmarkt at 422 Pereida St. Plan to kick-off your holiday season in King William! -Nora Peterson