1829: America’s first world fair
Although fairly small by latter standards, bringing in about 30,000 people, American Institute Fair held in New York City is considered by some to be the first world’s fair in the U.S. Created by the American Institute, the fair was founded in 1829 to encourage agriculture, manufacturing, commerce and the arts. The fair was set up at Niblo’s Garden before being moved on a later date to the Crystal Palace, and it showed off the best products of manufacturing and agriculture. In October 1858, during an annual American Institute Fair, the New York Crystal Palace was destroyed by fire, which began in a lumber room on the side adjacent to 42nd Street. It only took 25 minutes for the entire structure to burn to the ground. Fortunately, no lives were taken, but property loss totaled more than $350,000.
1855: Exposition Universelle
Exposition Universelle was held on the Champs-Elysées in Paris from May 15 to Nov. 15, 1855. Promoted by Napoleon III in response to London’s 1851 Great Exhibition, it was the first of five world exhibitions staged in France in the late 19th century. This fair held over 20,000 exhibitors from 34 different countries. Designed by architect Gabriel Davioud, the exposition’s sole physical remnant is the Theatre du Rond-Point des Champs-Élysées, which originally held the Panorama National. The art and industrial exhibits shown were considered superior to those of all preceding exhibitions. Approximately 5,162,330 visitors attended the exposition with 4.2 million visiting the industrial exhibition and nearly one million entering the Beaux Arts exposition.
1914: Titanic as the catalyst for the first International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea
The sinking of the Titanic on Apr. 14, 1912, was a tragedy but also the catalyst for the 1914 adoption of the first International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). Due to the more than 1,500 deaths and endless questions raised about safety standards, the UK government planned a conference to develop international regulations. Representatives from 13 countries attended the conference and were introduced to new international safety requirements focusing on navigation and life-saving appliances. As a consequence of World War I starting in Europe, SOLAS was not enforced until July 1915.
2007: ScareFest Horror and Paranormal Convention
Everyone loves a good scare, and in 2007 Jeff Waldridge, and Patti and Chuck Starr created the largest Horror and Paranormal Convention in the U.S. A three-day show housing the best in paranormal and horror guests and vendors, Scarefest is held in Lexington, Ky. Fans can shop from over 100 unique and unusual vendors. They can also meet their favorite stars from both genres, attend workshops, seminars and Q&A panels and enjoy independent horror and paranormal activities and many spook-tacular after parties. Many stars greeted guests at the 2013 convention, including actors Malcom McDowell, Chandler Riggs, Rutina Wesley, Sam Trammell, and director and producer Sean Cunningham. This year’s show will be held Sept. 12-14 at the Lexington Convention Center.
2011: Moscow’s massive exhibition center fire
Built in 1939, the All-Russian Exhibition Center (VVTs) burned after a fire started in the Veterinary Pavilion. Although the fire was put out in just under an hour, the structure could not be salvaged. Fortunately, the structure was being used as a warehouse and had no real architectural or historic value nor was anyone injured. Due to a water shortage, firefighters were forced to obtain water from the trademark fountains and a pond located on the premises using an 800-meter tube. The building was originally constructed as the All-Union Agricultural Exhibition, a testimonial to the achievements of the discipline.