I knew that it was going to be a heck of a street party when I was handed a free packet of aspirin on the street. Next clue was the number of police officers on the street ready for anything.
But the San Sebastian Fiesta in Old San Juan, which opened last night, is just a great big street party. Plenty of people on the street with beer, music and dancing.
We are so obviously visitors that all the locals we talked to were amazed that we were going. As we discovered, there were few tourists or native English speakers on on the street. But over 300,000 people are expected to go to the Fiesta. It’s supposed to be the end of the Christmas season.
“Be careful,” they said. “But of what?” That they couldn’t tell me. So we took our bottle of water, our cameras and walked up San Sebastian St. along with the crowds.
We found a lot of friendly, rowdy people. Although we were only drinking water, we had no trouble joining in. Here we are in front of the Ponce de Leon statue.
We are in San Juan to visit the national park, San Juan National Historic Site, as part of my Southeastern region park project. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t walk around the city and understand the culture. And last night and for the weekend, the culture is San Sebastian.
But who was St. Sebastian? He was martyred for the Catholic faith (I guess, Christian in those days). He is recognized as the patron saint of athletes because of his physical endurance in spreading the faith.
And we’ll need physical endurance to continue to enjoy the Fiesta.