The films in the Bentsen Film Collection were made during the 1930s and 1940s by Alton Bentsen. Alton was one of six children born to Peter and Tena Bentsen, Danish immigrants who came to the United States to farm. Originally homesteading in South Dakota, the Bentsen family eventually found their way to the Rio Grande Valley, where they bought and developed land in Hidalgo County. Future generations of the Bentsen family became active in banking and financial services as well as politics. Alton Bentsen was a paternal uncle of Lloyd Millard Bentsen, Jr., who served as U.S. Senator, U.S. Treasury Secretary and was the 1988 Democratic Vice Presidential nominee.
The films in the Bentsen Collection feature life in and around Mission, Texas, highlighting agricultural operations and celebrations surrounding the region's all-important citrus industry. The collection comes to TAMI courtesy of the Museum of South Texas History.
The Texas Citrus Fiesta is celebrated annually in Mission, Texas. The region's agricultural industry produces Texas ruby red grapefruits, oranges, lemons, limes, and tangerines. The Fiesta celebrates the culture and farming traditions of the region with a festival, a parade, and the crowning of King Citrus and Queen Citrianna. After being crowned, the King and Queen ride on elaborate floats during a parade that celebrates the citrus fruits that are the livelihood of citizens of the region. The Texas Citrus Fiesta began in 1932 and remains an integral part of the community's culture today.