Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Expo '74: The Spokane World's Fair

Expo '74, the Spokane World's Fair, took place 36 years ago. Spokane, Washington remains the smallest town to ever host a World's Fair.

Was Spokane motivated to host such a thing due to the success of the Seattle World's Fair? I don't remember.

In a 24 year period the Pacific Northwest was host to 3 successful World's Fairs. Seattle's Century 21 World's Fair, Spokane's Expo '74 and Vancouver's Expo 86.

Of the 3, Expo 86 was by far the biggest. I don't remember it as being a lot of fun. I do remember the United States Pavilion at Expo 86 was really bad. The Washington Pavilion, less embarrassing.

I saw Expo '74 near its close. The Spokane River was about dried up, so the big waterfall that was seen in all the Expo '74 commercials was not available for viewing.

I do not remember Expo '74 as being all that much fun. This was the world's first green event, an Environmental Fair. So, General Motors showed cars of tomorrow, you know, great gas savers, electric cars, that, even now, decades later, only sort of exist.

The main thing I remember was somehow managing to sneak in the back way into the USSR Pavilion. It had a real sinister feeling. It was my first up close look at a big Lenin statue. By Expo 86 the Soviets had become all peace loving and less quarrelsome, so their Pavilion was all about loving mankind, to the cheers of the Canadians. I don't remember much cheering in the American Pavilion at Expo 86.

At Expo '74 the Washington Pavilion was a theater, if I remember right, sort of what would now be called a multi-media show. The U.S. Pavilion was a centerpiece of the Spokane World's Fair. All environment oriented. But, all I remember is a cool holograph thing of Chief Seattle, or was it Chief Joesph? Saying some memorably iconic thing that I can't remember.

Anyway, below is a YouTube video that gives a bit of a flavor of the Spokane World's Fair, Expo '74...

No comments: