On May 1st, the next world's fair, Expo 2015, opens in Milan. With the theme "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life," it will be the first international exposition with a food theme. Expo 2015 runs for 6 months just northwest of Central Milan. Expected to attract 20 million visitors, 8 million tickets have already been sold.
Unlike past expositions, where smaller countries and those with fewer resources have traditionally been grouped together geographically, Expo 2015 will group these nations in food-themed "clusters" highlighting those countries' relationship to various foodstuffs.
As we enter the last months before opening day, builders are rushing to finish the various pavilions in time for opening. Each week, they present aerial drone video of the site under construction.
Expo 2015 Site Construction as of 16 February 2015
Expo 2015 Site Construction as of 12 February 2015
Expo 2015 Site Construction as of 2 February 2015
Expo 2015 Site Construction as of 19 January 2015
The three largest international events held on Earth are the Olympics, the World Cup, and world's fairs. Unlike the Olympics and the World Cup, however, world's fairs are focused on the visitor and not elite athletes. Anyone can be a part of of a world's fair. Since their inception in London in 1851, over one billion people have visited a world's fair. Known in most of the world as "expos," the largest held so far was Expo 2010 in Shanghai, China.
Since 1851, there have been many events held throughout the world using the names "world's fair," "international exposition," "universal exposition," "world expo," and just "expo." By the 1920's the proliferation of these events lead to the formation of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), and international treaty organization, to help control the quality and frequency of the events. With the notable exception of the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair, all of these events since World War II have been held under the sanction or recognition of the BIE. Our site highlights the major world's fairs held throughout the world, but attempts to have a more comprehensive list in our various timelines.
Next Three World's Fairs: 2015 to 2020
The next world's fairs, Expo 2015 and Expo 2017 will be held in Milan, Italy and Astana, Kazakhstan. On 26 November 2013 the member nations of the BIE selected Dubai, United Arab Emirates as the host for Expo 2020. More information about the bids and the bidding process can be found at ExpoBids.com.
Documentary Asks "Where's the Fair?"
in the United States
Filmmaker Jerry Ford was one of those Americans who assumed expos were a think of the past until he chanced upon a collection of old world’s fair View-Masters. That experience spurred the creation of a documentary that debuted in June 2013 at the Cape Fear Film Festival.
In the documentary, he goes step-by-step talking about the different issues involved: Why we don’t have world’s fair in the United States anymore, why we sometimes don’t have a pavilion at foreign world’s fairs, and why the ones we have created in recent decades have been rushed, mostly uninspired, and clouded by an opaque process. What does this say about the United States as a country?
The filmmakers are currently looking for distribution. A trailer for the film can be found at: WheresTheFair.com and they also maintain a Facebook page.
Join the Conversation
ExpoMuseum has partnered with WorldsFairCommunity.org to discuss world's fairs... past, present, and future. I invite you to join the dialogue or ask a question. It now has nearly 800 members with a wide breadth of world's fair knowledge, interest, and experience. Click the "Discussion Group" tab at left to visit the site.