How It Began-
Frontier Fiesta History
By Lil Crittenden
IT'S FRONTIER FIESTA time again at the University of Houston. Six-shooters, spurs and Stetsons have taken the place of textbooks and slide rules on the campus. The occasion for the new campus look is the opening of the annual student show April 22-26 at
Fiesta City north of the main campus on Cullen Boulevard. Here the
students will relive the wild and woolly West for five days and
ASSEMBLED ON A seven acre site, Fiesta City consists of 25
different shows and concessions, each housed in all-weather buildings of rustic log construction. Crowding the midway are saloons,
opry houses and casinos with such typical names as the Bella Union,
Silver Moon Saloon, Golden Nugget Casino and Wells Fargo.
THE IDEA FOR THIS student endeavor was born back in 1940
when a group of campus leaders, in search of a way to boost school
spirit, got together, and FRONTIER FIESTA began to take root.
The proceeds from this enterprise were to go toward a fund to
build a Student Union Building. The active members of this initial
meeting were Henry Taub, Jack Valenti, Johnny Goyen, Joe Potter, Joe Koppel, Dick Schill, Norma Jean Schwecke, Ray Campbell and John Sargent.
ON APRIL 24, THE first Fiesta was to have opened with Joe
Potter as its first general chairman. Students worked day and night
building, rehearsing, making costumes, contracting for food and
cold drinks to be brought to the campus for onlookers (no one knew
whether anyone would show up or not) to enjoy. Even some of
the faculty members were pressed into service. Dr. W. W. Kem-
merer, the University's new president elect, can be remembered
for his help in building a dance floor for the Taxi Dance. The
opening day was 24 hours away.
THE RESULT—it rained the night before and continued for
two days and nights. Naturally, the Fiesta was postponed until the
following week, and on Thursday night, May 1, 1940, FRONTIER
FIESTA City was opened for three days to the public. Some 5,000
people, mostly friends and relatives of the performers, viewed the
THIS YEAR OVER 150,000 people are expected to fill the midway bringing in a gross profit of over $100,000. The net profits will
go toward the building of a new student activities building in honor
of Mr. and Mrs. Hugh Roy Cullen, who have given millions of
dollars to the University.