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Sugar Land Heritage Foundation Collection - Parade and HemisFair (1968)

Sugar Land Heritage Foundation

Silent | 1968

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  •  Dulles High School marching band 
  •  Tourists take in the view from the Tower of the Americas in San Antonio 
  •  HemisFair ‘68, a six month long festival celebrating San Antonio’s 250th anniversary 
  •  John H. Wood, Jr. Federal Courthouse, built as the Confluence Theater for HemisFair ‘68 and renamed after the assassination of Judge John H. Wood, at the hands of Charles Harrelson (father of actor Woody Harrelson) in 1979 
  •  The Danza de los Voladores de Papantla (Dance of Papantla's flyers), a ritualistic dance traditionally performed by the Totonac and Olmeca Indians in Mexico as an act of worship 
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This 1968 home movie begins with a Future Farms of America parade in downtown Sugar Land. The Dulles High School marching band parades down the street, passing homes, a dry goods stores, and an Enco gas station. The second half of the footage travels to San Antonio during the 1968 HemisFair. With a theme of “The Confluence of Civilizations of the Americas,” the festival gathered numerous international, corporate, and local pavilions and presented the brand-new Tower of the Americas.
The 1968 HemisFair was a World’s Fair held in San Antonio to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the city’s founding. It was the first World’s Fair to be held in the southwest, and its theme was “Confluence of Civilizations in the Americas.” From April 6 to October 6, 1968, the HemisFair welcomed over 6 million visitors. Famous attendees included Bob Hope, Louis Armstrong, Princess Grace of Monaco, President Johnson and his family, and Texas Governor John Connally. There were many attractions including exhibits, a monorail, a lagoon, and a variety of performances. Perhaps the most controversial was a show called the “Flying Indians of Papantla,” during which four men tied to ropes revolved down a 114-foot pole. The complaints stemmed from a mock sacrifice at the beginning of the show, which involved a chicken and a topless woman. This was swiftly edited out of the show. 
The popular River Walk was extended in order to meet the site of the fair, and many new buildings were constructed in the downtown area to accommodate exhibitions from over thirty countries and fifteen organizations. Some of these buildings remain, most notably the Tower of the Americas, which was the main symbol of the fair. The area is now known as HemisFair Park.