A month before the fiesta, St. Frances de Paula Church was packed when the bishop from San Antonio came to town for confirmations. Father Bard informed the bishop that 27 boys and girls would also make their first communion; among them were Mrs. Martinet’s daughter, Lizzie; Judge Luby’s daughter, Addie; Judge Moses’ daughter, Fannie; and Valentine Puig’s daughter, Amada. The girls were all dressed in white. They performed for the bishop with Areta Garcia and Priscilla Buckley performing special parts.
In 1888, Fiesta–it was not yet called Pan de Campo–began on May 5 and ran for 10 days until May 15. Don Nasario Pena was in charge of the fiesta planning activities. Fever about the upcoming fiesta began as early as March. The fiesta featured musicians from Mexico; marches by the gun club; a baseball tournament with teams from San Diego, Corpus Christi, and other towns; horse racing; and wheel barrel and sack races. The fiesta in San Diego always attracted large crowds.
The five-gun matches of American Blue Rock traps were a three-day event sanctioned by the National Association of Rifles. Baseball games were expected between the San Diego Uniques and Stars and visiting teams. The Uniques issued a challenge to Corpus Christi teams to come to fiesta for one to three matches any day during fiesta. The entry fee was $25 per team. Nightly concerts were planned with a group and a theatrical troupe from Monterrey providing the entertainment. Lone Star Brewery of San Antonio donated three barrels of beer, one of each of day of Gun Club tournament.
As a prelude to the fiesta, a horse race was scheduled for April 2, between M. Corrigan’s little mare and Ferman Lopez’s little sorrel horse. Each put up $300 on and the winner took home $600. When race day came, the town was flooded with cowboys, ranchers, and horse racers. A considerable number of bets were placed with a lot of money changing hands. J. J. Dix and Jesus Trevino served as race judges, and Corrigan’s mare won by about two lengths.
Perhaps to cover his losses, Ferman Lopez sold three or four carloads of horses later in the month at $14 per head. It was considered cheap price. Some buyers took 100 head. Things were just not going Lopez’s way. In April, Andres Arredondo was being held on a $200 bond for assaulting with intent to kill Lopez on the line of separating Duval and Nueces counties. The motive was not reported, but maybe he lost a bet at the races or perhaps to rob him of the carload of money he made selling horses.
The Gun Club elected Judge James Luby its president, C. Tibilier vice-president, B. Miret captain, F. Tibilier lieutenant, and W. P. Croft secretary-treasurer. The club had plans of buying or leasing and then improving new grounds for their events. Many local citizens and businesses contributed to the Gun Club for a match during the fiesta. Each contributed $5, except for N. G. Collins who gave $25.
Contributors included F. K. Ridder, E. Martinez, Cayetano Rios, R. H. Corbett, Antonio Rosales, Mrs. Martinet, Charles Hoffman, W. B. Croft, Paul Henry, J. O. Luby, John Buckley, Pena & Miret, and F. Gueydan & Co. Not all who pledged contributions to the gun club fulfilled their promises. Competition for donations was strong, as the baseball team also asking for contributions to cover fiesta expenses.