This footage of Austin's 1963 Aqua Fest features scenes of the water skiing championship at Festival Beach and the parade up Congress Avenue. Parade footage includes fantastically adorned floats sponsored by local organizations such as Louis Shanks, The Luling Watermelon Thump, and the LCRA.
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.