World’s Fair returns to Chicagoland


ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill. — The 1933/34 World’s Fair returns to Chicagoland on March 30th. The hours are 10am to 4pm and it is being held at the Elk Grove Holiday Inn, 1000 Busse Road (Rt. 83 and Landmeier Rd.) in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. Admission is $6, $5 skyridefor seniors over 64. Early 9am Preview admission is $20.

Collectors and dealers will meet to buy, sell and trade items related to World’s Fairs from 1876 to the present. The main focus will be on the 1933/34 Chicago World’s Fair. This year our show celebrates the 80th anniversary of the 1934 World’s Fair.

There will also be items from the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition and other Chicago related ephemera. There will be some items from other World’s Fairs including: 1904 St. Louis, 1939-40 New York, 1962 Seattle,1964-65 New York, Expo ’67 and most other World’s Fairs. There will be over 20 tables of World’s Fair items for sale! Though there are few traces left in the area where the fair took plac – between Roosevelt Road and 39th Street along the lakefront including the area where Meigs Field was located (now Northerly Island Park) – Rick Rann and Bob Conidi are bringing the fair back to Chicago at this show!

There will be continuous showings of home movies and newsreels on video from the 1933/34 Chicago World’s Fair. There will be a special display of 1933 World’s Fair memorabilia.

World’s Fair collectors and fans of the fair are invited to come and relive one of the brightest moments in Chicago’s history. (Two of the stars on Chicago’s flag commemorate the 1893 and 1933/34 Fairs!)

The history of the fair: Over 39,000,000 people attended Chicago’s second World’s Fair sandorduring 1933 and 1934. (The first being the Columbian Exposition held in 1893.) The theme “A Century of Progress” referred to the one hundred year period from the founding of Chicago in 1833, to the year of the fair, 1933. One of the guiding principles of the fair was “Progress Through Science”. Many companies had working factories at the fair, where people could see the products being produced. Some of the items actually produced on the fairgrounds included Firestone tires, White Owl Cigars, Hiram Walker Whiskey (at the 1934 fair, as Prohibition ended at the end of 1933), Wonder Bread, and even Chevrolet automobiles.

The signature attraction of the fair was the Sky Ride. The Sky Ride had two observation platform towers which were 628 feet high (64 stories high). These platforms were taller than any building in Chicago at the time. Visitors could pay 50 cents and either go to the observation deck at the top of the towers (and see up to four states on a clear day) or ride in one of twelve double decked rocket cars at the 219 foot level. Each of the rocket cars held 36 passengers and traveled back and forth over a third of a mile over the fairgrounds.

The fair had many memorable buildings and attractions including the Sky Ride, Havoline’s 227 foot tall thermometer tower (with neon tubing showing the current temperatures to fairgoers) and the Travel and Transport Building with a suspended roof. It is amazing that this fair was privately financed at the height of the Depression and was one of the few World’s Fairs to make a profit! When the fair’s accounts were settled in 1935 the profits were donated to area museums and some of the exhibits from the Fair were moved to area museums.

There are few traces left in the area where the fair took place – between Roosevelt Road and 39th Street along the lakefront including the area where Meigs Field was located (now Northerly Island Park). The Adler Planetarium, the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum and Soldier Field all pre-dated the 1933-34 World’s Fair, but were incorporated into the plan of the Fair. These landmarks were incorporated into the Museum Campus by Mayor Daley in the 1990s.

For more information contact Rick Rann, PO Box 877, Oak Park, IL 60303 708-442-7907 or Bob Conidi at (630) 467-0100. Or check the website for updates: or e-mail

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