Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Drop the boa and nobody gets hurt


 Back in the 1950s the University of Houston students would hold a festival called Frontier Fiesta. 

 They would build a frontier western town on the campus. 

 Complete with saloons, dance halls, and open air stages. 

 They would have dances, stage performers, mock bank robberies, and a parade.

(Does this not remind you of the movie Animal House?)

They had beard growing contests and beard shaving events.

Thousands of people would show up and the students pretty much took over the city of Houston.

 Often celebrities would show up.
Anyone know who this is?
We've been trying to figure it out.

And she brought her little dog!

As with most things, Frontier Fiesta has waxed and waned in popularity over these years. I know that they still have something of a fiesta but it will probably never be the same. The times, they be a changin'.

I have heard that back in the 50s Frontier Fiesta got a little out of hand.

Ya Think?

I find it exciting that these students pulled together to put on something of this magnitude. In 1954 they spent $100,000. When you consider that my parents bought their first house in 1962 for a whooping $17,000, what the students raised and spent on Frontier Fiesta was a boatload of money. If it was just money alone that would be a triumph but they coordinated the whole thing right down to riding horses into the city and robbing the bank. They also worked closely with the PBS station on campus to film a bit one year. I'll post some of that later. 

There is a little University of Houston history for you. Brought to you by the students from the 1950s and the Digital Services department here at the library. There is more stuff at Frontier Fiesta here.

See! I told you I'd be back to goofy pictures and history today.



  1. Michele, you have THE coolest job. Really.

  2. That is the wildest! Who would volunteer to be shaved for that contest?

    Loved reading about this event!

  3. Now THAT is school spirit to be proud of. :-)

  4. That first photo puts a new spin on a Republican dressed in a twin-set and pearls.

    As to where the kid is pointing his gun, now that's just wrong. And wrong on Soooooo many levels.

  5. My hubby says that is Clint Walker in the photo. He sees him on the cowboy channel almost every day.

  6. That is too funny. I live in the Houston area and have not heard of that before, but it was a bit before my time.

  7. Leave it to college kids to use their parent's hard earned money to throw a party. Damn, that party looked like fun though! Well, except the chick with the straight razor too close to the jugular.