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Whatever Happened To World's Fairs?

 
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 941887
United States
04/13/2010 10:44 AM
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Whatever Happened To World's Fairs?
Back when I was a youth -during the late 50's/early 60's- it seemed like there were World Fairs happening almost with the frequency of the Olympics... in fact, I remember naively believing as a child they were somehow related, since the Olympics showcased all the best talent of the sports world and the fairs exhibited all the finest cutting-edge technologies. But, what HAPPENED to them?

In doing a little research, I discovered the first worlds fair was the great Crystal Palace Exposition in London in 1851, then they sort of popped up sporadically through the turn of the century. Did you know the famed Eiffel Tower is a remnant of the 1889 Paris Exposition Universalle?

Then, in 1928, the Bureau International des Expositions was created and based in Paris and they became the "official" sanctioning body to authorise world fairs/expositions [again a similarity with the Olympics and it's own IOC]. But would you believe that since WWII, there have been only FOUR sanctioned world fairs? Belgium in 1958, Montreal in 1967, Osaka in 1970 and Seville in 1992.

[BTW: BIE rules state that fairs can only run for 6-months at a time, no rent can be charged to participants and only one exposition can be held in a single country every ten years - although the back-to-back Seattle/NYC fairs challenged THAT rule!]

Oh, there've been several very impressive un-sanctioned gatherings, including the Seattle af-fair in 1962 that gave the world the Space Needle and monorails [Seattle was actually sanctioned but NYC went ahead and did theirs, anyway!], NYC in 1964-65 [this including the first and only exhibition of Michaelangelo's PEITA outside Italy and the introduction of the newest taste-treat, Belgian Waffles! Younger moviegoers will remember a scene from Men In Black that featured the amazing Globe Of Tomorrow sculpture being ripped apart by an alien craft, but fear not... it still stands today in Flushing Meadows, Queens].

And then there was San Antonio's Hemisfair in 1968 [BTW: the "Tower Of Americas" is still the 2nd highest free-standing tower in the U.S.].

All very impressive, indeed... so where did they GO?

It's now been 18 years since the nations of the world gathered to present their wonders and share them with the rest of the planet, uniting us all in the splendors of everything that is amazing about human endeavor on our planet, and how great was all truly can be when we apply ourselves to a common goal.

It Seems to me we need one about now. Perhaps, more than ever before.
Urso Chappell
User ID: 28058565
United States
11/19/2012 03:36 AM
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Re: Whatever Happened To World's Fairs?
A few corrections I had to add:

1962 Seattle and 1968 San Antonio were both sanctioned world's fairs. Since World Wars II, the only major "world's fair" that wasn't sanctioned by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) was the 1964-'65 New York World's Fair.

Since the last one in North America (Expo '86 in Vancouver), there have been ten world's fairs in 8 countries. They've been held pretty regularly in Europe and Asia.

The most recent ones were Expo 2010 in Shanghai (73 million visitors) and Expo 2012 in Yeosu, South Korea (8 million visitors).

The next one, Expo 2015, will be held in Milan. The site of Expo 2017 will be voted on this week and Expo 2020's host will be chosen in 2013.

For more information:
[link to www.ExpoMuseum.com]
Ed Negre
User ID: 27137066
United States
11/19/2012 03:40 AM
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Re: Whatever Happened To World's Fairs?
I heard there was too much bathroom sex in the european ones, the american ones were solid though. I remember they had one that had a monkey that drove a trebant
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 1868651
Germany
11/19/2012 03:53 AM
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Re: Whatever Happened To World's Fairs?
try a Siggraph convention. Its very similar in theme.
Anonymous Coward
User ID: 9589803
United States
11/19/2012 04:02 AM
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Re: Whatever Happened To World's Fairs?
I went to the World's Fair in New Orleans in 1984. Most memorable for me was walking under one of the Space Shuttles they had there for the exhibit . I would have to pull a photo album out to remember which one. In the background was a half-completed bridge stretching across the Mississippi River. It was an erie sight to see. I still have the mug that says I was there, haha.

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