Celebrate the 60th anniversary of the 1962 Seattle World's Fair

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Sixty years ago, the Century 21 Exposition opened its doors to the public amidst bells, balloons, and celebratory fighter jets. In the six months between April 21 and October 21, 1962, nearly ten million visitors flocked to the fairgrounds, what we now call Seattle Center, including celebrities like Elvis Presley, Vice-President Lyndon Johnson, and Walt Disney.

With themes of modern science, space exploration, and the future, the Exposition, more commonly referred to as the Seattle World’s Fair, helped shape the world of science and technology and put Seattle on the map.

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of this city-changing event, we’re looking back at how some of Seattle’s most iconic structures, the Space Needle and Seattle Center Monorail, were born. We also remember some of the features that have moved on, like the Bubbleator and Skyride. And last but not least, we honor some of the movers and shakers who made the six-month-long event possible.

The party starts tonight with a live celebration from the top of the Space Needle with historian Feliks Banel. We'll look back at the fair and look ahead at what’s next for Seattle Center. Tomorrow, the festivities continue at the Seattle Center’s Armory Food & Event Hall.


TONIGHT: Join us LIVE to celebrate the anniversary of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair

Spirit of '62: Celebrating the Seattle World's Fair

Join local historian Feliks Banel live tonight on Seattle Channel at 7:30 p.m to look at how the Seattle World’s Fair changed our city. Original fair staff will share memories and current local leaders talk about lessons learned from the fair that still apply to Seattle’s present and future. Live from the Space Needle!


It’s a party! Happy Birthday Seattle Center!

Seattle Center celebrates 60 years

Tomorrow marks the 60th anniversary of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, which attracted nearly 10 million attendees in its six-month run at Seattle Center.

Join the celebration – with the theme “New, Now, Next” -- at the kick-off event at Seattle Center on Thursday, April 21. The fun starts at 10:30 a.m. in The Armory Food & Event Hall with remarks from Mayor Bruce Harrell and Seattle Center Director Robert Nellams, music by DJ Mike Steve and Seattle Opera, a spoken word performance by Seattle’s Youth Poet Laureate, as well as a free digital photo booth, Trophy Cupcakes, and much more! Share your favorite Seattle Center memories on social media with #SeattleCenter60.


Seattle World’s Fair: a trip down memory lane

The 1962 Seattle World's Fair

Meet Elvis Presley’s Seattle World’s Fair wrangler, the security guard who literally fell right into Presley's movie “It Happened at the World’s Fair,” and some of the folks behind the scenes whose planning and hard work made the fair a huge success before most people even knew how to find Seattle on a map.


Rev. Phyllis R. Beaumonte & the fair that changed Seattle

Phyllis Beaumonte

Born and raised in Seattle, Rev. Dr. Phyllis Ratcliff-Beaumonte says she’s proud to have worked on the team that brought the 1962 World’s Fair to Seattle, and she should be! Her boldness earned her a job as manager of advanced ticket sales which grossed over $4 million before opening day, and attracted tourists, locals, and big-name celebrities from around the world.


Monorail maintenance team has a one-track mind

Vintage photo of Seattle Monorail showing one train moving away, one coming towards

Each of the Seattle Monorail trains has traveled over a million miles and has shuttled millions of passengers between Westlake and Seattle Center. The 1962 fair attraction still carries visitors and Seattleites alike, but not without a little (okay, more than a little) elbow grease and a lot of love. There’s a whole team that works hard to keep the vintage trains in tiptop shape. Have a look behind the scenes at what it takes to keep the Monorail moving.


Skyride gets a second life at the Washington State Fair

Vintage image of the Skyride at Seattle World's Fair

Sixty years after the Seattle World’s Fair, one of its most beloved rides is still going strong. The Skyride gondolas carried visitors across the Seattle Center campus for 18 years after the fair concluded, and now do the same at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup. See how the Skyride has fared since the fair.


U.S. Science Exhibit, now Pacific Science Center, designed by Seattle native

Pacific Science Center

Seattle native, Garfield High School grad, and University of Washington alum Minoru Yamasaki was the architect of the U.S. Science Exhibit, now known as the Pacific Science Center. Its gothic arches, narrow vertical windows, and open plazas became part of Yamasaki’s signature style. He also designed Rainier Tower and what we now know as Puget Sound Plaza, but his most famous work was on New York City’s World Trade Center.


“Please step to the rear of the sphere”

The Bubbleator at the Seattle World's Fair

The Bubbleator, the Seattle World's Fair’s Jetsons-esque elevator, has since lived many lives in many locations. It began its career by lifting countless visitors in what we know today as the Climate Pledge Arena. But what happened to it after the fair? Learn more about the sphere’s well-rounded history and where it is now.


The Space Needle: Renovating an icon

The Space Needle: Renovating an icon

The Space Needle’s recent $100 million renovation speaks to the thrill seeker in all of us.The Seattle staple now boasts the world’s first and only revolving glass floor, another 17 tons of glass throughout the structure, and a swanky new cocktail bar. Plus, there are slanted glass benches for the most daring among us to “hang out” over the city.