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  • Writer's pictureChristina Mantas

Echoes of a World's Fair

In 1968, San Antonio brought together it's brightest and most imaginative minds, to lay out the San Antonio World's Fair. The location chosen was just south of the Alamo, and a historic 1800's neighborhood was vacated. As you visit Hemisfair Park today, you can see the very real homes of San Antonio's families, still standing, renovated for small business and epicurean purposes: And Parking is Free! at the Hemisfair garage, from October 1st, through December 30th. O'Casey's Boutique Inn is just about 15 minutes away from Hemisfair; so you can either hop on the Via! Bus, or take your car down to the garage.

Though the monorail and fair rides of 1968 no longer exist, in it's place, is an expansive jungle gym, butterfly gardens, ping pong tables, and greenery: The business gem of Hemisfair Park, however, is Commonwealth Coffeehouse, and it's expansive patio. It has a perfect view of the 1968 Tower of the Americas behind, and the 1929 Tower Life Building to the front.

The patio opens up to the playground, splashpad and extra-large sandbox. As parents, you can relax with coffee, tea, beer, or wine, while being close enough to supervise your little ones. And the free Wi-Fi and cozy seating provides ample space to work through online classes, between play sessions.

The two houses on the patio, were owned by a Mexican and German family; and if you're lucky enough, you may get to glimpse the staff of Commonwealth, use the cellar for storage.

And just to the left of the sandbox, you'll find 4 chickens in a chicken coop and public garden, cared for by local San Antonio non-profit Gardopia Gardens.

Hemisfair is also home to one of the largest murals in the city: Painted by internationally renowned artist Ruben Sanchez. The mural is titled, "CommUNITY," and it may seem entirely abstract; but take a moment to look at the mural. Ask your children what they see. What do you see?

Want a hint? Someone is playing a guitar.

Hemisfair Park has been home to many events through the decades, including Luminaria- light and music, Muertos Fest, Butterfly Fest, and Super Fun Saturdays. San Antonio is a city of "chain reactions and connectivity" perfectly embodying Ruben's art philosophy; and the '68 Apartments did the city a great service, commissioning the piece.

Walk around the Hemisfair grounds, glimpse the historic homes, and when you're hungry, grab a pizza at Dough!. Hemisfair is a park that leaves it's park on all who have visited, including all of us at O'Case's Boutique Inn. As First Lady Lady Bird Johnson said in 1968, "Hemisfair is... clearly a place for people."

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