SUMMERTIME LIVIN’ WOULDN’T BE AS EASY (or memorable) without some papier-mâché—especially a piñata custom-made for the occasion. San Antonio’s Becky Gonzales got into the party business with a one-woman flower booth on Cupples Road, on the city’s West Side. Almost forty years later, her current store is mere yards away from that first outpost and now a full-fledged family operation. Two daughters, Ruby and Diane, one son, Simon Anthony, and grandbaby Miguel help run the shop or craft the piñatas, which are each built on a bamboo frame. Gonzales’s portfolio includes the grocery-chain mascot H-E-Buddy, a seven-foot parrot for news radio station KTSA, and a giant Liberty Bell for Lackland Air Force Base. She’s also fashioned such personal favorites as a mermaid, a Texas map, and two huge elephants—one for a Hindu parade and another for a Republican fundraiser (both “for decoration, not to beat up,” she promises). In honor of warm-weather icon Willie Nelson, we commissioned a four-footer of the Kinky supporter and biofuel guru, just in time for his annual July picnic.

Custom piñatas from $50 to $120. Becky’s Custom Piñatas, 615 Cupples Rd., San Antonio, 210-432-5342.