This film from the Ramon Galindo collection captures Austin's 1964 Aqua Fest celebrations. In addition to the high school marching bands, locally sponsored floats and beauty queens, the parade up Congress Avenue features a show of U.S. military might - including troops, jeeps and floats carrying missiles and warheads. Later at the water ski demonstration, skiers launch themselves from a ramp and strike ballet-like poses as they glide across the river.
The Austin Aqua Festival began in 1962 as Aqua Fest, a ten-day festival that featured local music acts and a variety of water-related events, held in August to boost tourism during a normally slow season. Most events took place on the newly-formed Town Lake and "Festival Beach," a park along the river just east of Interstate 35. The festival included parades, a variety of races, a beauty pageant, and theme nights. In 1980, major Aqua Festival events were moved to the larger Auditorium Shores park, where multiple stages for entertainment shifted the focus of the festival towards ever larger musical acts and away from local talent and water sports through the 80s and 90s. After a few years of higher ticket prices and dropping attendance, the last festival was held in 1998.