From April 6 to October 6, 1968, HemisFair ‘ 68 was the official 1968 World Fair (or International Exhibition) conducted in San Antonio, Texas. The fair’s theme was “The Confluence of Americas Civilizations,” honoring the region’s many countries that settled. The festival coincided with the 250th anniversary of San Antonio’s inception in 1718 in 1968. The fair featured more than thirty countries and fifteen corporations.
On November 17, 1965, HemisFair ‘ 68 was granted formal fair status by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), which regulates World Fairs and Exhibitions.
A mixture of government and private resources funded the project, which had an announced price of $156 million. Public funding from the United States included $12.2 million. Housing and Home Finance Agency for the acquisition and clearing of the property, $11 million in publicly authorized town bonds for the building of the Convention Center and Arena, $5.5 million in overall income from the City of San Antonio for the building of the Tower of the Americas, $10 million from the State of Texas mainly for the building of the Texas State Pavilion and $7.5 million from the University of Texas.
The fair was constructed on a 389,000 m2 (96.2 acre) site on Downtown San Antonio’s southwest border. The location was purchased by an eminent domain primarily. Many buildings were destroyed and relocated to create space for the festival in what was deemed a blighted region. Partly with federal urban renewal resources, the project was created. The San Antonio Conservation Society suggested the preservation of 129 buildings on the site; however, an accord was reached on August 9, 1966 to save only 20 current buildings that would be integrated into the festival area. Only 24 buildings have been preserved overall.
In fact, the town expanded its River Walk (Paseo del Rio) one-quarter of a mile into the location as portion of the general HemisFair initiative to connect the River Walk and the HemisFair premises in 1968. As part of the new Convention Center Expansion, the River Walk was extended again in 2001 and is now connected to a small lagoon within HemisFair Park.
This amazing location is located in beautiful San Antonio, Texas, along with these other must-see places of interest:
- Alamo Mission in San Antonio (“The Alamo”)
- The Majestic Theatre,
- Mission Espada
- Arneson River Theater
- The River Walk
- La Villita,
- Tower of the Americas
- San Fernando Cathedral
- Institute of Texan Cultures