Cornyval has not always been located at the Festival Association Grounds located off Leslie Road across from O’Connor High School. First Cornyvals were held in Old Town Helotes before it was moved to the shopping center where the current CVS Pharmacy is located. As the celebration grew and activities were added, Helotes Festival Association Board members located a permanent home with the purchase of the current 47 acres.
Residents line the sides of Bandera Road early Saturday morning to secure their spot for the annual parade. If you drive the parade route Friday evening, you will locate cars already parked staking out their territory for a front row seat.
Original organizers and sponsors of the parade was the Helotes Lions Club. During the 2011 year, the Lions Club concerned about the traffic on Bandera Road and the added hassle they faced each year from TxDot announced they would no longer sponsor the Cornyval parade.
Many residents were upset that this tradition might be coming to an end. However, City Council elected to step in and now the parade is sponsored by the City of Helotes. Along with the change in sponsorship the parade route changed as well. TxDot was concerned about closing Bandera Road for long periods of time.
To alleviate this concern the City of Helotes changed to the parade route to begin the parade at O’Connor High School, turn left off Leslie Road to travel down Bandera Road to Circle A where the parade then travels down 1560 to Riggs Road and through Old Town Helotes where the parade disbands at First Baptist Church and Antonio Drive.
This year, Miss Audrey Hysler, senior O’Connor High School will serve as the 50th Miss Helotes. Her first public appearance with her court will be Thursday night when the gates open for the 51st Cornyval.
No celebration would be complete without a rodeo. This year, it is the 26th PRCA rodeo to held at the Festival grounds. The rodeo experienced a location change too. The first rodeos were held where the 4H building sits now. Volunteers helped to move the rodeo to the current arena. Each year volunteers help to ready the rodeo pens, arena, and sitting area as Cornvyal kicks off.
This year, Sammy Andrews will serve as stock contractor. Andrews assumed the duties from Sammy Catalina during the 2015 Cornyval rodeo. Andrews is a Hall of Fame stock contractor who provides bucking stock to the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, Houston Stock Show and Rodeo, as well as the PRCA finals in Las Vegas and has provided bucking bulls for the PBR finals. He is most famous bucking bull was Bodacious who has been named the most dangerous and rankest bucking bull of all time.
According to Cornyval officials the rodeo has seen entries triple since Sammy Andrews became the stock contractor. There are 59 bull riders entered in the rodeo.
Concerts this year will be provided by Spazmatics and Chilton Vance on Thursday. Friday’s entertainers include Dean Dillon w/ The Texas Jam Band, Meyer Anderson, and C-Rock. Saturday the bands include School of Rock, Fire on the Mountain Cloggers, Jesse Stratton, Chris Salinas, and Kenny Orts.
Other entertainment during the Cornyval includes Swifty the pig races, Singing Princesses of San Antonio, Diamond W Gunslingers, Tropical Bird exhibit, Magician Ron Wilson, Wade Henry Unicycle and of course chicken bingo.
Gates open at 5pm Thursday, April 28 and close at 11pm. Friday gates open at 5pm and close at midnight. Saturday gates open at noon and close at 1am. Sunday gates open at noon and close at 8pm.