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World's Fair today?At one time, the World's Fair was an exhibition of all things new...

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 30, 2010 at 7:55 AM via web

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World's Fair today?

At one time, the World's Fair was an exhibition of all things new and creative and innovative--products and technologies and sights "wowed" the crowds who came from around the globe to see the amazing sights. We don't have them anymore.  People will make the journey to watch the Olympics, another kind of worldwide spectacle, and they go to amusement parks wherever they can find them.  But those aren't the same, and my fear is that we are no longer "wow-able."  Do you think there's any place for this kind of exhibition anymore?  If so, what do you envision might actually draw the attention of and "wow" the world today? 

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brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 30, 2010 at 9:35 AM (Answer #2)

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It's really too bad. I saw the World's Fair in Spokane, Washington in 1974, Vancouver, B.C. in 1987 and then again in Seville, Spain in 1991, not because I was going there for the fairs, but because I happened to be in those cities when they had fairs going on.  Just like the Olympics, I love the urban renewal and rebirth that takes place when a World's Fair comes to town.

What about a world energy fair?  An international car, alternative energy or space competition/exhibition?  I think we can still be wowed, but they'd have to step up their game a bit.

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scarletpimpernel | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 30, 2010 at 1:38 PM (Answer #3)

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I don't think that we will have anything like the traditional World's Fair.  Unfortunately, conventions and subject-specific shows have taken their place.  We see the auto shows across the country, conventions for computer and communication technology, and even film and TV genre conferences; it just seems like people aren't interested in anything like the World's Fair.  I think that that is unfortunate, because some of the world's most notable manmade landmarks came about because of the fairs.

With the global economy being what it is and with the Olympics bankrupting cities (i.e., Athens), I find it doubtful that anyone would be willing to fund another fair on the scale that the World's Fair used to be.

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 30, 2010 at 2:39 PM (Answer #4)

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I grew up in Spokane and always marveled at the two "leftover" pieces in Riverfront Park from the '74 World's Fair.  Funny, to me they seemed like old nostalgia of a time that "was" and might never be again.

You mentioned amusement parks.  To me, Disney (among others) is becoming to vacation what the mall food court has become to restaurants.  It is convenient, it is full of "culture" (however re-made) and it is instant.  Why spend the time and money traveling around the world when we can do it all at Epcott?  *I'm not saying I agree with this attitude, but I think as our culture moves at a fast-food-high-speed-internet pace, we will continue to lose such one-time gems as the traveling World's Fair.

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amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted July 31, 2010 at 7:00 AM (Answer #5)

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I saw the World's Fair in Knoxville, TN, in the early 80's.  It was amazing, but then again, I was in middle school and easily "wowable". 

I agree that a world energy fair would be great to see--efficient housing, appliances, new fuels, and ways to produce energy that didn't rape the world of her resources.

Another neat thing would be food production for areas that aren't conducive to growing food in the traditional manner.  Anything that would help teach people of the world to grow and produce their own food in order to lessen the starvation of the world's populations would be nice.

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marbar57 | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted July 31, 2010 at 8:20 AM (Answer #6)

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I think a World's Fair or exhibition would be so cool! Since most of today's advancements are in medicine, aerospace, and technology, those subjects would and could "wow" us!  I think you could set it up and have it move around the world, similar to the Olympics.  Two years would be enough time to keep it fresh.  Countries could come together to display what's been developed since the last fair and showcase futuristic designs or prototypes.  And, it could be a time for teaching, too.  Ecological issues such as protecting the rain forests, preventing oil spills, developing and producing alternative fuel, preventing disease, producing more food, etc. could be discussed and displayed in interactive, creative, colorful manners that draw people in to see.  The possibilities are endless!  It could be fun!

Having seen how people flock to sports events like the World Cup and the Tour de France, I know they'd love something like the World Fair! 

 

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martinjmurphy | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted August 3, 2010 at 3:34 PM (Answer #7)

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I'm not sure if anyone who has participated in this discussion is aware, but Expo 2010 is going on right now in Shanghai, China.  It started May1 and runs through October 31.  I haven't really heard anything about it in the news here in the United States.  Its theme is "Better City, Better Life".  Almost 36 million people have visited it as of today (August 3).  Here is a link to the website for Expo 2010 http://en.expo2010.cn/

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Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 4, 2010 at 11:26 AM (Answer #8)

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Thanks for the update!  I did know World's Fairs existed, but they've been so low-key I hadn't even checked to see when and where anything is currently happening.  I appreciate the information.

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