A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 06, 2008
“Show us your shoes!” (San Antonio Battle of Flowers Parade cry)

"Show us your shoes!” is a cry made at San Antonio’s Fiesta in late April, at the Battle of Flowers Parade. The dutchesses, queen, and princess on royalty floats often wear tennis shoes, cowboy boots, or flip-flops that contrast with their gowns. The “Show us your shoes!” cry from the crowd appears to date from the early 1990s; about ten years later, the San Antonio Express-News newspaper published an annual shoe calendar and encouraged San Antonio residents to send online photos of their shoes.

Atlantic City’s Miss America pageant had a “Show us your shoes!” tradition from about 1975. There are varying reports of the origin of the tradition; some claim that a drag queen named Tinsel Garland would dress as Dorothy from the film The Wizard of Oz and crash the Miss America Boardwalk Parade. The crowd would yell “Show us your shoes!” and Garland would reveal her ruby slippers. The Miss America Board Parade “Show us your shoes!” tradition ended when the pageant moved to Las Vegas in 2006.


Information San Antonio
Battle Of Flowers Parade History
The very roots of Fiesta are firmly planted within this amazing organization and its annual parade. In April of 1891, then President Benjamin Harrison came to San Antonio. During his trip, he was to make a speech commemorating the anniversary of the Battle of San Jacinto (the battle in which Texas won its independence from Mexico and became an independent nation - The Republic of Texas). Several ladies of society planned a parade and a battle of flowers in President Harrison’s honor. Sadly, a very heavy rain on the day of the President’s arrival caused the parade and battle to be postponed until the weather was clear. Three days later on April 24, 1891, when the President was gone, the parade was carried out as originally planned. Luckily many of the still living survivors of the Battle of San Jacinto had assembled in town for a reunion and were able to celebrate with the local residents. San Antonio’s elite marched through the city to Alamo Plaza. When the crown was fully assembled, the people divided into two teams and began a battle of flowers. Over the years the flower battle disappeared, but the parade remains, and for some, it is the highlight of Fiesta.

San Antonio Battle of Flowers Association
Made up entirely of women, the Battle of Flowers Association is an organization founded in 1891. The roots of Fiesta are traced back to the Battle of Flowers Parade and Association with the 1891 parade being the defining event that grew and evolved into what is now Fiesta. One might say that the Battle of Flowers Association started Fiesta. The organization is made up of women from prominent San Antonio families. The Battle of Flowers Association plans and prepares for this parade for close to a full year attending meetings, coordinating entries, and working closely with Fiesta and city officials. Ticket sales are organized by the women and distributed at the Fiesta Commission headquarters and throughout San Antonio. Members of the Battle of Flowers Association can be spotted easily on parade day as they’re all wearing yellow dresses and yellow hats. This group of talented San Antonio ladies produce a world class event earning national attention and recognition.

Today’s Battle of Flowers Parade
One of San Antonio’s largest events occurs Friday afternoon during Fiesta and is televised on local network stations. Most employers and schools close on this Friday afternoon for the Battle of Flowers Parade. This parade is in remembrance of the fallen soldiers of the Alamo and the Battle of San Jacinto. The parade entrants range from musical marching bands and school floats to floats carrying the fiesta royalty winding their way through downtown San Antonio. The Battle of Flowers Parade tradition for these royalty floats is the crowd yelling “show us your shoes!”. The duchesses, queen, and princess traditionally wear tennis shoes, boots, or flip-flops that obviously don’t go with their jewel covered gowns and crowns. The parade route takes all floats through Alamo Plaza and once in front of the Alamo, the float (band or other entry) stops and delivers a bouquet of flowers or a wreath to one of the cadets guarding the Alamo. This delivery of flowers or wreath is an homage paid to the fallen soldiers of the battle of the Alamo. The Battle of Flowers parade is one of the largest parades in the nation and is unique because it is organized and produced entirely by San Antonio women. It is the only parade in the world of its kind. Make sure to bring a hat and some sun screen because parade watchers can get a sun burn if they’re not under any shade. 

Miss America - Summer 2002 Newsletter
Show Us Your Shoes!
Which Miss America “staple” actually precedes the selection of “Miss America” herself?.. The Boardwalk Parade!


The Fall Frolic of 1920 was highlighted by a spectacular Rolling Chair Parade down the famed wooden way and onto the busy city streets. It was huge success. To build on the event for 1921, participant-oriented activities were scheduled around this extravaganza. One of the many activities was a competition for women, and its winner would eventually become known around the world as “Miss America.”

Flower-bedecked wicker rolling chairs maneuvered by men and featuring beautiful women of the 1920s were replaced by the newest of automobile convertibles for contestants by the 1930s. In the 1940s, the parade was seen as a morale booster for a nation at war as every branch of the nation’s Armed Forces participated in the event.

By the 1950s, an “Illuminated Night Parade” was brought into American homes of those people who were enjoying a rather new invention: television. And during the turbulent sixties, amid violent strife and even protest, the Boardwalk Parade marched on.

The “Show Us Your Shoes” tradition was started in the early 1970s. Drag queens dressed like Miss America were in balconies overlooking the boardwalk. Being above the contestants, they could see many of them were wearing slippers or were barefooted under their gowns. Seeing this, they began shouting, “Show Us Your Shoes!” Playing along, the contestants began raising their feet to show everyone at ground level their lack of proper foot covering. This traditional has grown to be an integral part of the Boardwalk Parade. 

13 September 1983, Philadelphia (PA) Daily News, “Wide Child a Perfect Fit as Miss NJ” by Dan Geringer, pg. 45:
“You know, you’re wearing a dress and they say, ‘Show us your shoes,’ and ...”

11 September 1986, Philadelphia (PA) Inquirer, “Present at a shoe-in: Footwear’s the crowning glory at a spot in the Miss America Parade” by Doreen Carvajal, pg. E1:
“So we started telling them to show us your shoes,” Johnson recalled.

16 September 1989, Casa Grande (AZ) Dispatch, “Miss America Contestant Struck by Flying Bottle,” pg. 20, cols. 2-3:
Unlike past years, the crowds were discouraged from following the tradition of calling out, “Show us your shoes!”

In years past, many of the 51 contestants—but not all—would lift a leg to reveal a funny shoe—sometimes even giant boots or sneakers—under their fancy parade costumes. The crowds would laugh and applaud their approval.

Pageant director Leonard Horn said that state pageant directors, at their meeting in November, asked the national pageant to drop the “shoe” tradition.

“They were concerned that some contestants utilized the tradition more than others,” he said.

MySA.com
Nothing rains on parade but good cheer (April 27, 1996)
Roy Bragg Express-News Staff Writer San Antonio Express-News
Page (912 Words)
(...)
“Show us your shoes!” at the elaborately dressed Fiesta royalty. (...) George Riveria of San Antonio said the teasing tradition started four years ago. 

New York (NY) Times
No, Not That Pageant
By BILL KENT
Published: September 15, 1996
LAST year, Miss Perfectly Disgusting, a 280-pound comic drag performer who calls himself Chunky Marinara, didn’t win the Miss’d America Pageant.
(...)
Though Atlantic City nightclubs have had drag shows for well over a century, the performers generally have not crossed paths with the contestants in the Miss America Scholarship Pageant. One exception has been the Pageant Parade, where Mr. Gladue, as Chunky Marinara, appeared in the company of Tinsel Garland, Sandy Beach and other Atlantic City-based drag performers, at the intersection of the Boardwalk and New York Avenue, Atlantic City’s gay nightclub street; there the drag performers would entreat the passing pageant contestants to ‘’show us your shoes,’’ on the theory that any contestant who was secretly a man in drag would be revealed by the size of his shoes.

MySA.com
Difference between Mardi Gras, Fiesta revealed in revelers’ calls (April 13, 1997)
Elda Silva Express-News Staff Writer San Antonio Express-News
S.A. Life Page 9G (533 Words)

Fiesta San Antonio has been compared with New Orleans’ Mardi Gras countless times.

Both annual festivals are, after all, resounding testaments to the human will to party. The essential difference between the two celebrations, however, can be summed up in two phrases, says cultural anthropologist Michaele Haynes -Mardi Gras’ “Show us your boobs!’’ and Fiesta’s “Show us your shoes!’’

19 September 1998, Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger, “If the shoe fits, flaunt it: Miss America hopefuls kick up heels at parade” by Mark Garrity, pg. 1:
The “show us your shoes” schtick began in the 1970s, according to two versions of the legend.

The sanitized version goes like this: A group of men watching the parade from a New York Avenue hotel balcony were looking down into the convertibles driving by and noticed something the groundlings could not see. Some of the Misses had dressed for the occasion only from the ankles up. Some wore slippers, and one had on a pair of $3 sneakers. From then on, they began shouting, “Hey, show us your shoes!” whenever a contestant passed by.

The other story goes like this: A local transvestite called Tinsel Garland made it an annual event to crash the parade lines dressed as Dorothy from “The Wizard of Oz.” The crowd - appreciative of her iconoclasm - would shout, “Show us your shoes!” as Tinsel with her ruby red slippers sashayed by. The year was 1975.

Either way, a tradition was born and now the shoe parade is the highlight of the week for those who enjoy a harmless walk on the wild side.

19 April 2002, San Antonio (TX) Express-News, “Parades at the heart of Fiesta” by Hector Saldana, pg. 9J:
The battle cry at the Battle of Flowers Parade is “Show us your shoes!

23 April 2004, San Antonio (TX) Express-News, “Parade-goers might need umbrellas” by Scott Huddleston, pg. 1A:
He said one of his nieces, a decade or so ago, started the popular tradition of yelling “show us your shoes” to Fiesta queens.

Fiesta 2008 on MySanAntonio.com
Show S.A. Life your favorites shoes
Web Posted: 03/21/2008 11:29 AM CDT
Michael Quintanilla
San Antonio Express-News

It’s a refrain almost everyone shouts, especially during Fiesta: “Show us your shoes!”

Now it’s our turn, here at S.A. Life fashion central, to send the same shout-out. So listen up, ladies, because I want you to “Show us your shoes!”

In conjunction with our annual spring shoe calendar, which will be published Thursday, featuring the newest styles — one for each day in April — we want to showcase some of San Antonio’s favorite shoes.

That’s where you and your pretty little feet come in. Here’s what you do: go to MySanAntonio.com and enter the Keyword: Yourshoes. Fill out the form and upload your jpeg photo (remember, you gotta wear your shoes!). In the caption field tell us in a short sentence why these are your faves and then look for them online at MySanAntonio.com. Come April, we’ll chose one pair to team with the latest looks.

The Canadian Press
Viva Fiesta! Texas town parades, parties in annual 10-day celebration
Mar 25, 2008
SAN ANTONIO — In late April, tiny pastel bits of a giant San Antonio party show up everywhere: trickling from your hair, embedded in the carpet under your desk, stuck to your furniture.
(...)
Fiesta began in 1891 with flower-decorated carriages and ladies pelting each other with blossoms in a “battle of flowers” at the Alamo. The event was meant to commemorate the 1836 Battle of San Jacinto, where Texans won independence. (The Texans actually lost at the Alamo, which took place before the San Jacinto fight, but few around here say that aloud.)

The Battle of Flowers parade is still a major Fiesta event. It’s an official holiday for city workers and schoolchildren, observed this year on April 25. Another major parade with lighted floats is held the following night.

Many people decorate their clothing or hair in flowers, and the crowd yells, “Show us your shoes!” at the queens and princesses riding floats. The royal riders lift the hems of their ball gowns to reveal everything from Chuck Taylor high-tops to ice skates.

(Trademark)
Word Mark SHOW US YOUR SHOES
Goods and Services (CANCELLED) IC 036. US 102. G & S: charitable fund raising services in the nature of offering promotional materials and events with proceeds to charity. FIRST USE: 19890721. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19890729
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 74441672
Filing Date September 30, 1993
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition August 16, 1994
Registration Number 1861991
Registration Date November 8, 1994
Owner (REGISTRANT) SHOW YOUR SHOES, INC. TA SHOW US YOUR SHOES CORPORATION NEW JERSEY P.O. Box 409 Hammonton NEW JERSEY 080370409
Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
Register PRINCIPAL
Live/Dead Indicator DEAD
Cancellation Date November 23, 2001

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Sunday, April 06, 2008 • Permalink