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Hemisfair Texas & HR Pufnstuf

Updated on August 17, 2011

Vintage 1968 Texas License Plates

Vintage pair of 1968 Texas License Plates showing the "Hemisfair" commemoration
Vintage pair of 1968 Texas License Plates showing the "Hemisfair" commemoration

I was a child of the 60s and was raised in central Texas. I remember hearing a little bit about the World's Fair being held in San Antonio in 1968 but attending something like that was out of the question for my dad.

I do, however, remember the 1968 commemorative Texas license plates that had "HEMISFAIR" on them. These resurfaced when my first husband was restoring a 1968 Mustang and he wanted to put the vintage plates on his car. We hated that the plates were black with white lettering. They just didn't match the Acapulco blue paint job on the Mustang.

The Tower of the Americas in San Antonio, Texas built for the HemisFair '68
The Tower of the Americas in San Antonio, Texas built for the HemisFair '68
Kroftt Puppets posing with 70s rock band Bay City Rollers
Kroftt Puppets posing with 70s rock band Bay City Rollers

The HemisFair '68 was designated as the world's fair and was the first such event designated as such in the southwestern part of the United States. It coincided with the 250th anniversary of the founding of San Antonio, Texas. It ran from April 6-October 6, 1968. (Tomorrow is the 41st anniversary!)

The theme was "The Confluence of Civilizations in the Americas"and more than 30 nations were represented. Neighboring countries, Canada and Mexico, along with Italy, Spain, France, Japan, West Germany, the Republic of China, Korea, and Switzerland were just a few being represented by hosting pavilions on the fairgrounds. Some of the major corporate sponsors for this historic event included Ford Motor Company, Gulf Oil Corporation (now Exxon), Frito Lay/Pepsi-Cola, Eastman Kodak, General Electric, General Motors, IBM, Southwestern Bell, and RCA.

Coca-Cola's pavilion featured the Krofft Puppets. The Krofft character, H.R. Pufnstuf, was originally created for the HemisFair.

The fair was built on just over 96 acres on the southeastern edge of downtown San Antonio. The Tower of the Americas is a 750 ft towering structure that was built for the event and is still in use today. I have visited the tower and seen some nice views of downtown San Antonio.

The city of San Antonio extended part of the San Antonio River Walk, also known as Paseo del Rio, so that they could link the River Walk with the HemisFair grounds. They have since lengthened it some more to connect other portions of downtown. The RIver Walk is lined with plush foliage and quaint restaurants, hotels and shops. It's one of my favorite places to visit.

The HemisFair '68 attracted over 6 million visitors and brought international attention to the city of San Antonio and Texas in general. Even so, the project saw a loss of over $7 million.

For the 20thAnniversary of HemisFair '68, roughly 15 acres was renovated to include cascading waterfalls, fountains, playgrounds and lush landscaping in the vicinity of the Tower of the Americas.

The Opening Theme for H R Pufnstuf


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