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Aquarena reunion to welcome, reunite former resort employees

By Alec Jennings
University News Service
October 14, 2009

Aquarena reunion

Texas State University-San Marcos and the River Systems Institute are preparing to host a historic, three-day reunion celebration for former employees of the Aquarena Springs Resort.

The celebration will kick off Friday, Nov. 6 with a social mixer at the San Marcos Conference Center. Former employees from as far back as 1946 and up to 1996 will be in attendance.

"We can't wait to meet these people," said Andrew Sansom, executive director, River Systems Institute. "I think it's going to be one of the coolest things I've been involved in since I've been at Texas State."

Other events will include an open house at the Texas Rivers Center, glass-bottom boat tours and a memorabilia exhibit. A golf tournament, outdoor barbeque and live music are also planned with a Sunday brunch at Saltgrass Steakhouse (formerly Pepper's at the Falls).

Sansom said the opportunity to meet with former employees, in many respects, will be an opportunity to reconnect with alumni who were once employed at the resort, but have since moved away and haven't had an opportunity to return to the community.

"So many students were employed there. It was probably even a bigger part of student life in years past than it is now," Sansom said. "We're excited for the opportunity to reestablish that relationship with alumni."

Aquarena Springs was one of the most popular tourist destinations in Texas for 50 years and employed numerous underwater performers, clowns, pig trainers, glass bottom boat tour guides, divers, aqua maids, gift shop personnel and vendors.

Several other activities and announcements are also planned to coincide with the reunion as well. A book of historic photographs of the park from the 1920s through the early 1990s will be released with proceeds going toward preservation of Aquarena's unique glass bottom boats.

Furthermore, the University Archives, along with the Department of History, will establish efforts to collect stories, oral histories and memorabilia about the Aquarena to ensure that its history is preserved for future generations. Among many items sought after, the archives are looking to receive an aqua maid costume, items sold in the gift shop, letters, papers related to Aquarena postcards and photographs.

To register for this event online, go to http://www.aquarena.txstate.edu/Home/reunion.html or call (512) 245-7544 to request a registration package.