After years of planning and construction HemisFair ’68 opened its gates to the world at 9:00am on the morning on Saturday April 6, 1968. Members of the Fair’s Executive committee including San Antonio Mayor Walter Mcallister and U.S. Congressman Henry B. Gonzales were on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony and to welcome the first visitors thru the gates.
The inaugural ceremonies were held in the new convention center arena just before 10:00am, included in the list of dignitaries who spoke was First Lady of the United States Lady Bird Johnson.
Through the day several pavilions and attractions held dedication/grand opening ceremonies open to VIP’s and fairgoers alike.
According to the KLRN documentary, the opening day grand finale as a VIP dinner in the new convention center followed by a performance of the opera “Don Carlo” in the new convention center theater. The performance was a joint venture between the San Antonio Symphony and the New York Metropolitan Opera.
Newspaper coverage of Opening Day
Below are scans of the main section of the San Antonio Light printed on opening day. (Click on images for a closer look)
Opening Ceremony Program
Below are scans of the program of the opening ceremonies held in the new convention center arena. (Click on images for a closer look)
Below is a scan of an image in my collection of Lady Bird Johnson presenting the opening speech in the convention center arena. (Click on image for a closer look)
Below is an image of L-R: Gov. John Connally, Lady Bird Johnson and Nellie Connally in front of the enterance to the Texas Pavilion. (Click on image for a closer look)
Press image from opening week. (Click on image for a closer look)