World's fair

A world's fair or world fair is a large international exhibition designed to showcase achievements of nations. These exhibitions vary in character and are held in different parts of the world at a specific site for a period of time, ranging usually from three to six months.

Poster advertising the Brussels International Exposition in 1897
Replica of the Gokstad Viking ship at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair
Palace of the railways and great connections at the International Exhibition of Hydropower and Tourism in 1925

The term "world's fair" is typically used in the United States.[1] In French the term Exposition universelle ('universal exhibition'[2]) is used; in other Romance languages such as Spanish, Italian, and Romanian, the translation of the French term is used. In the non-Romance languages of Europe, and in Asia and the Middle East, World Expo or Specialised Expo are commonly used. The short term Expo has been applied to both types of Expos in various locations since 1967.[3]

Since the 1928 Convention Relating to International Exhibitions came into force, the Bureau International des Expositions has served as an international sanctioning body for international exhibitions. Four types of international exhibition are organised under the auspices of the BIE: World Expos, Specialised Expos, Horticultural Expos (regulated by the International Association of Horticultural Producers) and the Milan Triennial. Depending on their category, international exhibitions may last from three weeks to six months.

Milan, Italy, held the most recent World Expo in 2015, while Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan, held the most recent Specialised Expo in 2017. Dubai, United Arab Emirates, was selected to host Expo 2020, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic it was postponed to 2021. Buenos Aires, Argentina, who had been selected to host the next Specialised Expo in 2023, announced its withdrawal with no reschedule date.[4][5]


Exposition universelle in Paris, 1867

In 1791 Prague organized the first World's Fair (List of world's fairs), Bohemia (modern-day Czech Republic).[6][7][8] The first industrial exhibition was on the occasion of the coronation of Leopold II as a king of Bohemia, which took place in Clementinum, and celebrated the considerable sophistication of manufacturing methods in the Czech lands during that time period.[9]

The French tradition of national exhibitions, a tradition that culminated with the French Industrial Exposition of 1844 held in Paris. This fair was followed by other national exhibitions in Europe. In 1851, under the title "Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations", the World Expo was held in The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, the United Kingdom. The Great Exhibition, as it is often called, was an idea of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's husband, and is usually considered to be the first international exhibition of manufactured products. It influenced the development of several aspects of society, including art-and-design education, international trade and relations, and tourism.[10] This expo was the precedent for the many international exhibitions, later called World Expos, that have continued to be held to the present time.

The character of world fairs, or expositions, has evolved since the first one in 1851. Three eras can be distinguished: the era of industrialization, the era of cultural exchange, and the era of nation branding.[11]

Industrialization (1851–1938)

The Yerkes Great refractor mounted at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago

The first era, the era of "industrialization", roughly covered the years from 1800 to 1938. In these days, world expositions were largely focused on trade and displayed technological advances and inventions. World expositions were platforms for state-of-the-art science and technology from around the world. The world expositions of 1851 London, 1853 New York, 1862 London, 1876 Philadelphia, Paris 1878, 1888 Barcelona, 1889 Paris, 1891 Prague, 1893 Chicago, 1897 Brussels, 1900 Paris, 1904 St. Louis, 1915 San Francisco, and 1933–34 Chicago were notable in this respect.[12] Inventions such as the telephone were first presented during this era. This era set the basic character of the world fair.[13]

Cultural exchange (1939–1987)

Ice Follies at the Seattle 1962 World's Fair

The 1939–40 New York World's Fair, and those that followed, took a different approach, one less focused on technology and aimed more at cultural themes and social progress. For instance, the theme of the 1939 fair was "Building the World of Tomorrow"; at the 1964–65 New York World's Fair, it was "Peace Through Understanding"; at the 1967 International and Universal Exposition in Montreal, it was "Man and His World". These fairs encouraged effective intercultural communication along with sharing of technological innovation.

The 1967 International and Universal Exposition in Montreal was promoted under the name Expo 67. Event organizers retired the term world's fair in favor of Expo (the Montreal Expos, a former Major League Baseball team, was named for the 1967 fair).[14]

Nation branding (1988–present)

1992 Expo in Seville, Spain

From World Expo 88 in Brisbane onwards, countries started to use expositions as a platform to improve their national image through their pavilions. Finland, Japan, Canada, France, and Spain are cases in point. A major study by Tjaco Walvis called "Expo 2000 Hanover in Numbers" showed that improving national image was the main goal for 73% of the countries participating in Expo 2000.[citation needed] Pavilions became a kind of advertising campaign, and the Expo served as a vehicle for "nation branding". According to branding expert Wally Olins, Spain used Expo '92 and the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona in the same year to underscore its new position as a modern and democratic country and to show itself as a prominent member of the European Union and the global community.[citation needed]

At Expo 2000 Hanover, countries created their own architectural pavilions, investing, on average, €12 million each.[15] Given these costs, governments are sometimes hesitant to participate, because the benefits may not justify the costs. However, while the effects are difficult to measure, an independent study for the Dutch pavilion at Expo 2000 estimated that the pavilion (which cost around €35 million) generated around €350 million of potential revenues for the Dutch economy. It also identified several key success factors for world-exposition pavilions in general.[16]


Expo tower for the Osaka 1970 World Expo in Japan

At present there are two types of international exhibition: World Expos (formally known as International Registered Exhibitions) and Specialised Expos (formally known as International Recognised Exhibitions).[17] World Expos, previously known as universal expositions, are the biggest category events. At World Expos, participants generally build their own pavilions. They are therefore the most extravagant and most expensive expos. Their duration may be between six weeks and six months. Since 1995, the interval between two World Expos has been at least five years. World Expo 2015 was held in Milan, Italy, from 1 May to 31 October 2015.

Specialised Expos are smaller in scope and investments and generally shorter in duration; between three weeks and three months. Previously, these Expos were called Special Exhibitions or International Specialized Exhibitions but these terms are no longer used officially. Their total surface area must not exceed 25 ha and organizers must build pavilions for the participating states, free of rent, charges, taxes and expenses. The largest country pavilions may not exceed 1,000 m2. Only one Specialised Expo can be held between two World Expos.[18]

An additional two types of international exhibition may be recognized by the BIE: horticultural exhibitions, which are joint BIE and AIPH-sanctioned 'garden' fairs in which participants present gardens and garden pavilions; and the semi-regular Milan Triennial (not always held every third year) art and design exhibition, held in Milan, Italy, with the BIE granting official international exhibition status to 14 editions of the Triennale between 1996 and 2016.[19]

World Expos

Expo 2000 brickwork, for the World Expo in Hannover, Germany in the year 2000.

World Expos (formally known as International Registered Exhibitions) encompass universal themes that affect the full gamut of human experience, and international and corporate participants are required to adhere to the theme in their representations. Registered expositions are held every 5 years because they are more expensive as they require total design of pavilion buildings from the ground up. As a result, nations compete for the most outstanding or memorable structure—for example Japan, France, Morocco, and Spain at Expo '92. Registered Expositions include Brussels Expo '58, Montreal Expo 67, Vancouver Expo 86, Osaka Expo '70, and Seville Expo '92. Sometimes prefabricated structures are used to minimize costs for developing countries, or for countries from a geographical block to share space (i.e. Plaza of the Americas at Seville '92).

ASIMO at Expo 2005 in Japan.

In the 21st century the BIE has moved to sanction World Expos every five years; following the numerous expos of the 1980s and 1990s, some see this as a means to cut down potential expenditure by participating nations. The move was also seen by some as an attempt to avoid conflicting with the Summer Olympics. World Expos are restricted to every five years, with Specialized Expos in the in-between years.

Specialised Expos

Panoramic view of Expo 2012 Yeosu, in South Korea

Specialized Expos (formally known as International Recognized Exhibitions) are usually united by a precise theme—such as 'Future Energy' (Expo 2017 Astana), 'The Living Ocean and Coast' (Expo 2012 Yeosu), or 'Leisure in the Age of Technology' (Brisbane, Expo '88). Such themes are more specific than the wider scope of world expositions.

The Specialized Exposition, Tsukuba, Japan, popularly known as Expo '85 was held in the city of Tsukuba located near Tokyo. This Exposition is more formally known as "The International Science Technology Exposition".

Specialized Expos are usually smaller in scale and cheaper to run for the host committee and participants because the architectural fees are lower and they only have to customize pavilion space provided free of charge from the Organiser, usually with the prefabricated structure already completed. Countries then have the option of 'adding' their own colours, design etc. to the outside of the prefabricated structure and filling in the inside with their own content.

List of expositions

List of official world expositions (Universal and International/Specialised) according to the Bureau International des Expositions.[20]

Dates Name of Exposition Country[21] City[21] Category Theme
04/1851 – 10/1851 Great Exhibition  United Kingdom of Great Britain and IrelandLondon World Expo Industry of all Nations
05/1855 – 11/1855 Exposition Universelle / Paris International  FranceParis World Expo Agriculture, Industry and Art
05/1862 – 11/1862 International Exhibition  United Kingdom of Great Britain and IrelandLondon World Expo Industry and Arts
04/1867 – 11/1867 Exposition Universelle / Paris International  FranceParis World Expo Agriculture, Industry and Arts
05/1873 – 10/1873 Weltausstellung 1873 Wien / Austrian International Exposition  Austria-HungaryVienna World Expo Culture and Education
05/1876 – 11/1876 Centennial Exposition  United StatesPhiladelphia World Expo Arts, Manufactures and Products of the Soil and Mine
05/1878 – 11/1878 Exposition Universelle / Paris International Exposition  FranceParis World Expo New Technologies
10/1880 – 04/1881 Melbourne International Exhibition AustraliaMelbourne World Expo Arts, Manufacturing, Agriculture and Industrial Products of all Nations
04/1888 – 12/1888 Exposición Universal de Barcelona (1888)  SpainBarcelona World Expo Fine and Industrial Arts
05/1889 – 10/1889 Exposition Universelle / Paris International Exposition  FranceParis World Expo French Revolution
05/1893 – 10/1893 World's Columbian Exposition  United StatesChicago World Expo Discovery of America
05/1897 – 11/1897 Brussels International Exposition  BelgiumBrussels World Expo Modern Life
06/1898 – 11/1898 Trans-Mississippi Exposition  United StatesOmaha World Expo Isolationism
04/1904 – 12/1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition  United StatesSt. Louis World Expo Louisiana Purchase
04/1905 – 11/1905 Liège International (1905)  BelgiumLiège World Expo Commemoration of the 75th anniversary of independence
04/1906 – 11/1906 Milan International  ItalyMilan World Expo Transport
04/1910 – 11/1910 Brussels International Exhibition  BelgiumBrussels World Expo Works of Art and Science, Agricultural and Industrial Products of All Nations
04/1913 – 11/1913 Exposition universelle et international / Ghent International Exposition  BelgiumGhent World Expo Peace, Industry and Art
02/1915 – 12/1915 Panama–Pacific International Exposition  United StatesSan Francisco World Expo Inauguration of the Panama Canal
05/1929 – 01/1930 Barcelona International Exposition  SpainBarcelona World Expo Arts, Industry and Sport
05/1933 – 10/1934 Century of Progress  United StatesChicago World Expo The interdependence among industry and scientific research
04/1935 – 11/1935 Brussels International Exposition  BelgiumBrussels World Expo Transports
05/1936 – 06/1936 ILIS 1936  SwedenStockholm Specialised Expo Aviation
05/1937 – 11/1937 Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne / Paris International Exposition  FranceParis World Expo Arts and Technology in modern life
05/1938 – 05/1938 Second International Aeronautic Exhibition  FinlandHelsinki Specialised Expo Aerospace
02/1939 – 09/1940 Golden Gate International Exposition  United StatesSan Francisco World Expo Pageant of the Pacific
04/1939 – 10/1940 New York World's Fair  United StatesNew York World Expo Building The World of Tomorrow
05/1939 – 09/1939 Exposition internationale de l'eau (1939)  BelgiumLiège Specialised Expo Art of Water
07/1947 – 08/1947 International Exhibition on Urbanism and Housing  FranceParis Specialised Expo Urbanism and Housing
07/1949 – 08/1949 Universal Sport Exhibition (1949)  SwedenStockholm Specialised Expo Sport and physical culture
09/1949 – 10/1949 The International Exhibition of Rural Habitat in Lyon  FranceLyon Specialised Expo Rural Habitat
12/1949 – 06/1950 Exposition internationale du bicentenaire de Port-au-Prince  HaitiPort-au-Prince World Expo The festival of Peace
04/1951 – 05/1951 The International Textile Exhibition  FranceLille Specialised Expo Textile
07/1953 – 10/1953 EA 53  ItalyRome Specialised Expo Agriculture
09/1953 – 10/1953 Conquest of the Desert (exhibition)  IsraelJerusalem Specialised Expo Conquest of the Desert
05/1954 – 10/1954 The International Exhibition of Navigation (1954)  ItalyNaples Specialised Expo Navigation
05/1955 – 06/1955 The International Expo of Sport (1955)  ItalyTurin Specialised Expo Sport
06/1955 – 08/1955 Helsingborg exhibition 1955  SwedenHelsingborg Specialised Expo Modern Man in the Environment
05/1956 – 06/1956 Exhibition of citriculture  IsraelBeit Dagan Specialised Expo Citrus
07/1957 – 09/1957 Interbau  West GermanyBerlin Specialised Expo Reconstruction of Hansa District
07/1958 – 09/1958 Brussels World's Fair  BelgiumBrussels World Expo A World View: A New Humanism
05/1961 – 10/1961 Expo 61  ItalyTurin Specialised Expo Celebration of centennial of Italian unity
04/1962 – 10/1962 Century 21 Exposition  United StatesSeattle World Expo Man in the Space Age
04/1964 – 10/1965 1964 New York World's Fair  United StatesNew York World Expo Peace Through Understanding
06/1965 – 10/1965 IVA 65  West GermanyMunich Specialised Expo Transport
04/1967 – 10/1967 Expo '67  CanadaMontreal World Expo Man and His World
04/1968 – 10/1968 HemisFair '68  United StatesSan Antonio Specialised Expo Confluence of Civilizations in the Americas
03/1970 – 09/1970 Expo '70  JapanOsaka World Expo Progress and Harmony for Mankind
08/1971 – 09/1971 Expo 71  HungaryBudapest Specialised Expo The Hunt through the World
05/1974 – 11/1974 Expo '74  United StatesSpokane Specialised Expo Celebrating Tomorrow's Fresh New Environment
07/1975 – 01/1976 Expo '75  JapanOkinawa Specialised Expo The Sea We would like to See
06/1981 – 07/1981 Expo 81  BulgariaPlovdiv Specialised Expo Hunting
05/1982 – 10/1982 1982 World's Fair  United StatesKnoxville Specialised Expo Energy Turns the World
05/1984 – 11/1984 1984 World's Fair  United StatesNew Orleans Specialised Expo The World of Rivers– Fresh Water as a source of life
03/1985 – 09/1985 1985 World's Fair  JapanTsukuba Specialised Expo Dwellings and Surroundings – Science and Technology for Man at Home
11/1985 – 11/1985 Expo 85  BulgariaPlovdiv Specialised Expo Inventions
05/1986 – 10/1986 Expo '86  CanadaVancouver Specialised Expo Transportation and Communication: World in Motion - World in Touch
04/1988 – 10/1988 Expo '88  AustraliaBrisbane Specialised Expo Leisure in the Age of Technology
06/1991 – 07/1991 Expo 91  BulgariaPlovdiv Specialised Expo The activity of young people in the service of a World of Peace
04/1992 – 10/1992 Expo '92  SpainSeville World Expo The Era of Discovery
05/1992 – 08/1992 Expo Colombo '92  ItalyGenoa Specialised Expo Christopher Columbus, The Ship and the Sea
08/1993 – 11/1993 Expo '93  South KoreaDaejeon Specialised Expo The Challenge of a New Road of Development
05/1998 – 09/1998 Expo '98  PortugalLisbon Specialised Expo The Oceans: A Heritage for the Future
06/2000 – 10/2000 Expo 2000  GermanyHanover World Expo Man, Nature, Technology
03/2005 – 09/2005 Expo 2005  JapanAichi World Expo[22] Nature's Wisdom
06/2008 – 09/2008 Expo 2008  SpainZaragoza Specialised Expo Water and Sustainable development
05/2010 – 10/2010 Expo 2010  ChinaShanghai World Expo Better City, Better Life
05/2012 – 08/2012 Expo 2012  South KoreaYeosu Specialised Expo The Living Ocean and Coast
05/2015 – 10/2015 Expo 2015  ItalyMilan World Expo Feeding the planet, Energy for life
06/2017 – 09/2017 Expo 2017  KazakhstanAstana Specialised Expo Future Energy
10/2021 – 04/2022 Expo 2020  United Arab EmiratesDubai World Expo Connecting Minds, Creating the Future
01/2023 – 04/2023 Expo 2023  ArgentinaBuenos Aires Specialised Expo Creative industries in Digital Convergence
04/2025 – 10/2025 Expo 2025  JapanOsaka World Expo Designing Future Society for Our Lives


The Space Needle and Monorail depicted on this 1962 stamp

The majority of the structures are temporary and are dismantled after the fair closes. Landmark towers from several fairs are notable exceptions. By far the most famous of these is the Eiffel Tower, built for the Exposition Universelle (1889). Although it is now the most recognized symbol of its host city Paris, a number of influential contemporary critics opposed its construction, and there were demands for it to be dismantled after the fair's conclusion.[23]

Other major structures that were held over from these fairs:

Seattle – World's Fair sign at 47th and Aurora, 1962
The Unisphere, from the 1964 World's Fair in New York City, USA in the early 21st century
  • 1964 – New York City: Many structures still stand
  • 1967 – Montreal: Among the structures still standing from Expo 67 in Montreal are Moshe Safdie's Habitat 67, Buckminster Fuller's American pavilion the "Montreal Biosphere," the Jamaica Pavilion, the Tunisia Pavilion, and the French pavilion (now the Montreal Casino).
  • 1968 – San Antonio: San Antonio kept the Tower of the Americas, the Institute of Texan Cultures and the Convention Center from HemisFair '68.
  • 1970 – Osaka: The Tower of the Sun was left standing, but was neglected after the conclusion of the Expo '70. After restoration to the structure was completed, the museum inside the tower was re-opened on 18 March 2018.[28]
  • 1974 – Spokane: Spokane still has its Riverfront Park that was created for Expo '74—the park remains a popular and iconic part of Spokane's downtown.
View of 1982 fairgrounds, with the Sunsphere
  • 1982 – Knoxville: The Sunsphere from the Knoxville World's Fair remains as a feature of Knoxville's skyline.
  • 1984 – New Orleans: The main pavilions of the 1984 New Orleans World's Fair became the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, which is also known for its use as a shelter of last resort during Hurricane Katrina.
  • 1986 – Vancouver: In Vancouver, many Expo 86 projects were designed as legacy projects. Of note are the Skytrain, Science World and Canada Place.
  • 1988 – Brisbane: The Skyneedle, the symbol tower of Expo '88 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, still stands. Other survivors are the Nepalese Peace Pagoda of the Nepalese representation, now at the transformed World Expo '88 site South Bank Parklands, and the Japan Pond and Garden from the Japanese representation, now at the Brisbane Mount Cooth-tha Botanic Gardens. In 2018 the World Expo 88 Art Trail was re-birthed and dramatically expanded as part of the 30th Anniversary of World expo 88, now forming a Major tourist attraction in its own right.[29]
  • 1992 – Seville: The pavilions of Expo '92 in Seville had been converted into a technological square and a theme park.
  • 1998 – Lisbon: The main buildings of Expo '98 in Lisbon were completely integrated into the city itself and many of the art exhibition pieces still remain.
  • 2005 – Nagoya: The home of Satsuki & Mei Kusakabe, built for the 2005 Expo in Aichi, remains operating at its original site in Morikoro Park and is a popular tourist attraction.
The China pavilion at the Expo 2010; repurposed as a museum.
  • 2010 – Shanghai: The China pavilion from Expo 2010 in Shanghai, the largest display in the history of the World Expo, is now the China Art Museum, the largest art museum in Asia.
  • 2015 – Milan: The Italian Pavilion of Expo 2015 remains on the original site.

Some world's fair sites became (or reverted to) parks incorporating some of the expo elements, such as:

Poster for the 1900 expo

Some pavilions have been moved overseas intact:

The Brussels Expo '58 relocated many pavilions within Belgium: the pavilion of Jacques Chocolats moved to the town of Diest to house the new town swimming pool. Another pavilion was relocated to Willebroek and has been used as dance hall Carré[35] ever since. One smaller pavilion still stands on the boulevard towards the Atomium: the restaurant "Salon 58" in the pavilion of Comptoir Tuilier.

Many exhibitions and rides created by Walt Disney and his WED Enterprises company for the 1964 New York World's Fair (which was held over into 1965) were moved to Disneyland after the closing of the Fair. Many of the rides, including "it's a small world", and "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln", as well as the building that housed the Carousel of Progress are still in operation.

Disney had contributed so many exhibits to the New York fair in part because the corporation had originally envisioned a "permanent World's Fair" at the Flushing site. That concept instead came to fruition with the Disney theme park Epcot, an extension of the Walt Disney World Resort, near Orlando, Florida. Epcot has many of the characteristics of a typical universal exposition: national pavilions, as well as exhibits concerning technology and/or the future, along with more typical amusement park rides. Meanwhile, several of the 1964 attractions, relocated to Disneyland, have been duplicated at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Occasionally other bits and pieces of the fairs remain. In the New York City Subway system, signs directing people to Flushing Meadows, Queens remain from the 1964–65 event. In the Montreal subway at least one tile artwork of its theme, "Man and His World", remains. Also, a seemingly endless supply of souvenir items from fair visits can be found, and in the United States, at least, can often be bought at garage or estate sales. Many of these events also produced postage stamps and commemorative coins. The 1904 Olympic Games, officially known as the Games of the III Olympiad, were held in conjunction with the 1904 St. Louis fair, although no particular tie-in seems to have been made. The Exposition Universelle (1900) Paris was also loosely tied to the Olympic Games.

Current and upcoming expositions

2020 Dubai

Expo 2020 will be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates as a Registered Exposition, though it has been postponed because of COVID-19. The new dates are 1 October 2021  31 March 2022.[36] Despite being postponed, organizers will keep the name Expo 2020 for marketing and branding purposes.

The bidding process for this larger sized exposition formally began in 2011, with four cities being selected to participate in the final round of votes:

Other participating cities and countries that were not selected for the final voting process to host Expo 2020, or did not submit bids for consideration by the BIE:

2023 Buenos Aires

Expo 2023 will be held at the Argentine capital and will have a theme of “Science, Innovation, Art and Creativity for Human Development. Creative Industries in Digital Convergence”.

Four countries had submitted bids to host Specialised Expo 2022/23:

At the end of the project examination phase, BIE Member States voted for Buenos Aires as the host city of Expo 2022/23 via a secret ballot at the BIE General Assembly, held in November 2017.[59]

2025 Osaka

Expo 2025 will be held at the Japanese city of Osaka and will have a theme of “Designing Future Society for Our Lives!”.

Four countries had submitted bids to host World Expo 2025:

Osaka made its official bid for the Expo on 24 April 2017[60] with the theme “Designing Future Society for Our Lives”.[61]

The Azerbaijani capital entered its candidacy before the deadline[62] under the theme "Human Capital".

The French capital was the first to declare its candidacy,[63] under the theme "Sharing our Knowledge, Caring for our Planet".[64] The candidacy was withdrawn in January 2018 because of budget constraints.[65]

The Russian city entered its candidacy on 22 May 2017[63] under the theme "Changing world: inclusive innovation is for our children and future generations".

At the end of the project examination phase, BIE Member States voted for Osaka as the host city of Expo 2025 via a secret ballot at the BIE General Assembly, held in November 2018.


Potential host countries may apply to host 2030 expo between 6 and 9 years before its proposed opening date.[66] Once one country has submitted an application, alternative countries have 6 months to submit theirs.[66]

At the 167th BIE general assembly both Korea and Russia indicated their intention to bid for this expo.[67]

  • Busan
  • Moscow

Non-BIE efforts

The only Expo to be held without BIE approval was the 1964–1965 New York World's Fair;[68] the sanctioning organization at Paris denied it "official" status because its president, Robert Moses, would not comply with the BIE rule limiting the duration of universal expositions to six months. The Fair proceeded without BIE approval, and turned to tourism and trade organizations to host national pavilions in lieu of official government sponsorship. Many countries participated in that fair, including several newly independent African and Asian states.[69] The two World's Fairs in New York (1939–40 and 1964–65) and the Century of Progress in Chicago (1934-1935) are the only two-year world expositions that have been held.[citation needed]

Frederick Pittera, a producer of international exhibitions and author of the history of world's fairs in the Encyclopædia Britannica and Compton Encyclopedia, was commissioned by Mayor Robert F. Wagner Jr. of New York City in 1959 to prepare the first feasibility studies for the 1964 New York World's Fair. Pittera was joined in his study by Austrian architect Victor Gruen (Inventor of the 'Shopping Mall'). The Eisenhower Commission ultimately awarded the world's fair bid to New York City against several major U.S. cities.[70]

Because the U.S. government withdrew its membership in the Bureau International des Expositions from 2002 to 2017,[71] Worlds Fair Nano is the first private effort in history to host a six-month World's Fair.[72] Worlds Fair Nano is organizing a series of mini-World's Fairs around the country called World's Fair Nano in cities like San Francisco[73] and New York City[74] in order to build excitement for the six month World's Fair, which Worlds Fair Nano hopes to organize within the decade.[when?]

The Los Angeles World's Fair is another non-BIE effort.[75]

Walt Disney World in Florida is hosting a perpetual world's fair at its EPCOT exhibit, called World Showcase.

International Horticultural Exhibition

The BIE, since 1959[76] grants recognition to the International Horticultural Exhibitions (Category A1) approved by the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) subject to it meeting certain criteria including being approved by the BIE general assembly.[77]

International Horticultural Exhibitions (upcoming in italics):