A Confluence of Photographs
HemisFair in Action

HemisFair '68, a $156 million dollar, six-month long event, coincided with the city's 250th birthday. Native San Antonian Henry B. Gonzales, the nation's first Hispanic Congressman, worked tirelessly with local businessmen and civic leaders like William R. Sinkin, H. B. Zachry, Marshall Steves, and Tom Frost, to bring the world's fair to San Antonio as a catalyst for international commerce and trade. The city's multicultural make-up, combined with its location near the border, provided the ideal location to host a fair honoring the peoples of the Americas, while showcasing San Antonio's development potential.

The chosen theme, "Confluence of Civilizations in the Americas," would be carried out through exhibits that reflected "the interaction of old-world traditions, native American cultures, and the spacious new world environment." Thirty nations and 15 corporations sponsored exhibits or provided shops, entertainment, food, and fun. From April 6 to October 6, HemisFair attracted over six million visitors. After paying an admission price of $2 for adults and $1 for children, fair goers found themselves immersed in an exciting and forward-thinking world. They could talk on a picture phone and match wits with a computer in a game of Tic-Tac-Toe - innovative technology at the time - at the Bell Pavilion. General Motors offered examples of futuristic cars and kitchens, while Gulf Oil TouRide let visitors test out their driving skills on a mini-highway.

Live performances included a waterski show and a variety of international bands, dancers and singers, including well known artists like the Ballet Folklórico, country music's Grand Ole Opry, and jazz great Louis Armstrong. One of the most popular performances of the fair was given by the Voladores de Papantlá, the "Flying Indians" from Mexico, who leapt head first from a 114-foot tall pole, each man secured only by a single rope.

About this Image:
1) Visitors could thrill to carnival rides on Fiesta Island or take a more sedate cruise on the water trolley that included a circuit around the water show lagoon. c.1967, HemisFair '68.

2) This handy map, showing the layout of the park, came in a souvenir booklet provided compliments of the Pearl Brewing Company. Copyright: H.M. Gousha Co., a subsidiary of the Times Mirror Co.

3) The Goliad Food Plaza, located across from the Federal pavilion, was one of 28 eateries on the fair grounds. Inside its covered and air conditioned courtyard, patrons could choose international fare from 23 different stands.

4) The Voladores, or "Flying Indians," performed in the Plaza del Mundo/Pepsi-Frito Lay Pavilion. An accompanying mock Aztec sacrifice, complete with topless maiden, drew continuous crowds. c.1967, HemisFair '68. Click Here to see videos of HemisFair and the Voladores.

5) A skyride and a mini-monorail system provided bird's eye views of the park. Three monorail trains - red, blue, and green - completed a 1.5 mile circuit in 10 to 12 minutes. Here, the green train passes the round Confluence Theater and the corner of the U.S. Pavilion Exhibit Building. Photo courtesy of Marmon Mok Architecture.

Courtesy of San Antonio Conservation Society Foundation
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19682) 1968
19823) 1982
19684) 1968
19685) 1968