'Next 50' is meant to remind you to check-out Seattle Center

Apr 19, 2012

Fifty years ago this weekend Seattle kicked off it’s biggest event ever -- the Century-21 World Exposition. Now, city leaders are hoping the public will come check-out what the fairgrounds have become, the city's arts campus. 

Seattle Center now attracts more visitors per year than the World’s Fair did during its six-month run. That’s partly thanks to some major events, such as Bumbershoot and the Folklife Festival, as well as concerts in Key Arena.

Another big draw: more than 30 arts and culture organizations, from the Seattle Rep and Opera, to the Children's Theater and Book-It theater. Seattle Center Director Robert Nellams says one purpose of hosting the 1962 Worlds Fair was to create a civic arts campus.

"Fifty years later we still have this tremendous gift for our community, in the Seattle Center. So what we wanted to do was to honor that past. We wanted to celebrate what we have become. "

The celebration kicks off Saturday, April 21st, focusing on the history of the 1962 fair.

The calendar of events runs through October.  It mostly showcases existing groups based at the center, which you might not know about, or have forgotten about.

There also will be some special attractions, just this year, including:

  • art installations sprinkled in various courtyards and across lawns;
  • a section with children’s rides, where the Fun Forest used to be (starting in late May);
  • an inflatable domed theater - showing "Earth Portal", a history of the universe.

Plus, there's an environmental focus through May, a science festival is coming in June, and global health is the theme for July. Check out their calendar.