The worlds fair

What ever happened to the Worlds Fair? Why don’t we have them anymore?

They still have them. The Bureau of International Expositions runs them. There was one last year in Japan. I think the last one in the US was in New Orleans in 1984.

My guess as to why we don’t have them is the expense of putting it together. The costs of preparing a site, constructing pavilions and marketing the event are quite daunting. I guess a lot can be taken up by sponsors.

I would think that if it was done right you could make it a profitable event. For a lot of US cities tring to gain an international profile, a world’s fair would be a nice way to showcase itself.

There still are what used to be referred to as World’s Fair in the U.S. (and I think Universal Exposition in various other English-speaking countries); nowadays they’re usually branded as “Expo”, followed by the year it took place. Last year there was Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan, with robotics attracting most of the attention of visitors (IIRC Honda presented some of the latest results of its labs).

They have somewhat degenerated, of course. In the 19th century, those exhibitions used to be events of international rank where state of the art technology was presented to both laymen and experts. Now they’re some sort of - overly expensive - amusement park people visit for fun. Expo 2000 in Hanover, Germany, was something of that kind: Fun to walk through, but quite expensive both for the visitors and the state which subsidized it.

I always wondered about the grounds of expo sites after the event is over. The New York 1964 World’s Fair site is largely abandoned, with some of the buildings remaining on the site. In a city with such astronomically expensive real estate, why hasn’t the site been redeveloped?

Because it’s a city park – Flushing Meadows Park. This was the case after the 1939 World’s Fair as well, on the same site (The New York City pavilion from the 1939 fair was also in the 1964-5 World’s Fair).

it’s not supposed to be developed.

I read the thread title and instinctively responded: “No, it isn’t.” :slight_smile:

The World’s Fair in New Orleans actually went bankrupt.

This depends on the city. Hanover, for example, is an established city of exhibitions that is host to a number of international fairs and commercial shows, and IIRC the Expo ground there is still being used as an exhibition area. Other cities turn their former Expo grounds into residential areas (I guess that’s what Montreal did after its Expo - was that 1967?). Very much the same as the Olympics. Nowadays, architects don’t only compete in building astonishing structures for the events themselves, but they also try to find concenpts on how integrate their works into urban life afterwards.

San Antonio hosted the worlds fair in 1968 - Hemisfair. Most of the buildings and grounds were used afterwards for many other things. It has been renovated several times and most of it has been in use ever since. The Tower of the Americas is currently going through an update and still defines the downtown skyline of San Antonio. The only really special part of Hemisfair that I regret didn’t last too long after the event was the monorail. It only ran on the fairgrounds, but was pretty neat. It probably wouldn’t attract much attention today, but back in 1968 it looked like the wave of the future. San Antonio could sure use a modern light-rail transportation system now. Should have ridden on it when I had the chance.

The problem is, financially, it almost never works. The only US World’s Fair that I know of to make a profit was the 1933 Chicago Century of Progress Exposition.

The Seattle Center grounds, with the Opera House, Space Needle, and monorail to downtown, and leftovers from the 1962 Worlds Fair.

Can you beleive Spokane held a World’s Fair?

I am an eyewitness to this incredible fact. It was pretty fun. Great coaster, and good Cold War “we are better that the Russkies” stuff

Many World’s fairs have a gimmick, like Seattle introduced Belgian Waffles to the world. And I think St Louis invented the Teddy Bear

Expo 2000 was held at the Hannover Messe, a vast permanent exhibition grounds, which was there before and after the fair. I believe that’s where CeBit, the IT trade fair, is held each year.

Most of the site of Expo 86 in Vancouver has been redeveloped into residential - mostly condominium highrises. The eastern portion of the site still has a few of the original buildings: the Plaza of Nations and BC Pavillion are still used for some special events, and Science World has been Science World for so long now I can’t even remember what it was during Expo. Also, on the other side of the downtown peninsula the former Canada Pavillion is currently the convention centre.

The World Expo in 1988 was held in Brisbane in Australia. The site was an area of land along the south bank of the Brisbane River which had been rather derelict. It was remodelled into a cultural/recreational area once the Expo was over.

are you sure it was seattle? at least i had my first belgium waffle at the spokane world’s fair.

it had a killer merry go round too.

2010 world’s fair will be in shanghai we can have a dopefest.

Since I was living in Spokane at the time, I have no trouble believing it. The theme for Expo 74 was the environment. Most countries’ exhibits were fairly good about this, but the Soviet exhibit basically said “the land belongs to the state and we’ll screw it up any way the state says to”. Their exhibit was generally considered to be the worst at the fair.

Spokane’s fair grounds are now a city park. Before the fair, that area was an ugly-as-sin rail yard in between downtown and the river. This has to count as one of the best ever upgrades as a result of a world’s fair.

St Louis’s fair is noted for the invention of the ice cream cone, although apparently this isn’t true.

World’s Fairs used to be the one place where people could see the latest in technology and culture from all over the globe. Electronic communications (especially the internet) now make it possible for people to learn about this stuff without leaving home. I just don’t see much reason for people to go to Worlds Fairs any more, unless it’s to sample the cuisine at the San Marino Pavilion.

Was Ray Nagin the mayor then?
:smiley: