A Little Something You Should Know About the World’s Fair

For the Seattle World’s Fair, special Seattle print fabric was produced, as seen here made into a dress | Photo: Megan

Seattle kicked off the celebration of the 1962 World’s Fair a couple of weeks ago with their Next50 celebration. The Next Fifty is an opportunity for Seattle to look to the future. However, when it comes to the World’s Fair, I am not interested in looking forward. I’ve found myself strangely obsessed with the World’s Fairs of yesteryear, and what better way to pay homage to the Seattle fair than with random trivia about World’s Fairs?

– Since I was inspired by my own city’s fair of the future, I will start with the Emerald City. The 1962 World’s Fair included the filming of the movie “Meet Me at the Fair,” starring the King himself, Elvis Presley.  As you can imagine, the crowds were huge—but they weren’t just there for the pompadour. Instead, Americans obsessed with the Space Race were over the moon about an opportunity to see John Glenn

– The first edible ice cream cone was introduced at the fair in St. Louis (1904). Whether it’s truth, or tall tale, the story goes that when an ice cream vendor ran out of cups, a nearby waffle vendor rolled up his product for the crowds of ice cream hungry fair goers

– Contrary to what you may have seen on The Simpsons, the Sunsphere from Knoxville’s 1982 Expo is not filled with Wig Sphere wigs. Instead the eight floors host a number of local businesses, as well as a small restaurant and bar, and a visitors center that offers 360-degree views of the area (and trumps tourist convention by being completely free)

– The 1939 World’s Fair in New York took place during a very difficult time in the world. The pavilions of countries from throughout the world that were supposed to entice and inform visitors about faraway lands became places of mourning. As countries fell to the march of the Nazis across Europe, immigrants gathered in the pavilions of their homelands to remember their nations that no longer existed and be among their fellow countrymen

– The Eiffel Tower was built for the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris, acting as an entryway for fair guests. The original plan was to let it stand for 20 years before taking it down, but it turned out to be not only a valuable landmark, but an important tool for communications. The powerful radio transmitters it held aloft were used to jam German communications in the early days of World War I

– Many people who have read, or heard of, the book “Devil in the White City,” may know that during the 1893 Expo in Chicago, there was a serial killer at work. But did you know that the college and hipster favorite PBR actually won its blue ribbon at this fair

– The last World’s Fair hosted in the US, the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition is the only World’sFair to go bankrupt

– The first World’s Fair was held in London in 1851. Contrary to the belief of many who think of World’s Fairs as a thing of the past, the last Expo was actually held in Shanghai, China in 2010. And what’s more, this year Yeosu, South Korea will host, followed by Milan, Italy in 2015.

Megan hopes you’ll meet her at the fair


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