On 5 April 1968, San Antonio opened the gates to Specialised Expo “Hemisfair ’68”, which marked the 250th anniversary of the city’s founding. The event, which gathered 6 million visitors under the theme “The Confluence of Civilizations in the Americas”, was a key moment for San Antonio, transforming the heart of the city.
This weekend, within the framework of its tricentennial celebrations, the Texan city commemorates 50 years of the Expo that celebrated cultural diversity across the western hemisphere. Demonstrating the Expo’s lasting impact, the anniversary is being marked by a range of activities within the former Expo site – HemisFair Park – and a number of buildings dating from the event, most notably the emblematic Tower of the Americas.
To commemorate the Expo’s experience and legacy, a weekend festival programme – ¡Viva HemisFair! – is being held in San Antonio on 6-8 April. The three-day celebration in HemisFair park will include free music and cultural performances, as well as a fashion show from the era, art displays and historical exhibitions.
The Institute of Texan Cultures (ITC), which is based in the Expo’s former Texas State Pavilion, is organising two exhibitions: “VIVA Hemisfair”, which tells the story of the Expo’s preparations using photos and videos from the time, as well as “VIVA ITC”, which focuses on the heritage of the Institute. Both exhibitions will be inaugurated on 6 April and will remain open for the rest of the year.
In the Expo’s former Mexico pavilion, which is now home to the Mexican Cultural Institute, the “Common Currents (1968-2017)” exhibition will use various artistic mediums to tell the story of the city’s evolution since Expo 1968. Additionally, UNAM San Antonio is celebrating the anniversary with the “San Antonio Fandango” exhibition by Momo and Pompa, open between 6 April and 18 May.
Meanwhile, a Historic Home Tours on 8 April will allow visitors to learn more about Hemisfair Park, from before, during and after the Expo. The Tower of the Americas – the centrepiece of the Expo site that remains a symbol of the Alamo city – will also join in the celebrations, hosting a Retro 1960s car show and a wine festival during the anniversary weekend.
Cultural and festive activities marking Expo 1968 will continue throughout the summer within the scope of the city’s tricentennial. The history of HemisFair ’68 will notably be the focus of a special exhibition at McNay Art Museum between 3 May and 29 July.
For more information on all the anniversary celebrations, visit the official websites: hemisfair.org and sanantonio300.org
The Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) is the intergovernmental organisation in charge of overseeing and regulating World Expos, Specialised Expos, Horticultural Expos and the Triennale di Milano.