When: Wed., April 24, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Thu., April 25, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Fri., April 26, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sat., April 27, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sun., April 28, 12-5 p.m.
Star Trek, Flash Gordon and Yellow Submarine aren’t exactly the sort of pop culture phenomenons one would associate with the refinery of Fiesta’s Coronation of the Queen of the Order of the Alamo — an opulent ceremony initiated in 1909 by “a group of patriotic San Antonio men who wished to enlarge Fiesta’s annual celebration of the heroic struggle for Texas’ independence from Mexico.” Yet in 1969, Coronation chairman Robert Morris selected a theme that embraced the groovy, outlandish aesthetics of sci-fi, space travel, psychedelia and pop art. Titled the “Court of Time and Space,” the 1969 pageant enlisted local fashion designer, arts patron and onetime Coronation Duchess Margaret King Stanley to create elaborate garments and headpieces for 24 Duchesses, a Princess and a Queen, not to mention stage pages and other participants. A far cry from the intricately beaded, impossibly heavy concoctions of Coronation as we know it today, Stanley’s imaginative designs relied more on the interplay of unusual textiles and embellishments to conjure visions of satellites, planets and galaxies far, far away. A longtime repository for Coronation gowns of yesteryear, the Witte Museum showcases these distinctly San Antonio creations in annual exhibits that typically employ themes to tie together styles spanning courts and decades. Marking an intriguing departure, the museum’s forthcoming “Blast from the Past: Fiesta 1969” turns back the clock 50 years to revisit a time when the world was fixated on space travel and all the future might hold. Boldly going beyond a collection of dresses on mannequins, “Blast from the Past” aims to create a time capsule of sorts via vignettes featuring vintage furniture, decor, photographs, video footage — including the 1969 Battle of Flowers Parade in its entirety — and objects chronicling San Antonio’s ties to NASA missions.