Find Posts By Topic

50th Anniversary Countdown Begins

Today begins the one-year countdown to The Next Fifty, six months of events and activities planned in 2012 at Seattle Center that celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, the legacy it left to the region, and the opportunities ahead during the next fifty years.

Today begins the one-year countdown to The Next Fifty, six months of events and activities planned in 2012 at Seattle Center that celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, the legacy it left to the region, and the opportunities ahead during the next fifty years. Many elements of the celebration are already in place, and many more will take shape during the coming year.

Like the 1962 World’s Fair, the 50th anniversary focuses on the future. The Next Fifty draws attention to eight focus areas highlighting the Pacific Northwest’s leadership and innovation over the past half-century, as it compels participants to help create a vision for our future. Exhibitions, speaking forums, live entertainment, fun family activities, interactive experiences, competitions and community discussions will engage local and global audiences to debate our priorities, embrace our challenges and pursue possibilities for the region’s role in the world. 

The key focus areas include:

  • Arts, Culture and Design, Apr. 21 – Oct. 21, 2012
  • History, Apr. 21 – Oct. 21, 2012
  • Sustainable Futures, Apr. 21 – May, 2012
  • Science and Technology, June 2012
  • Global Health, July 2012
  • Learning, Aug. 2012
  • Commerce and the Innovation Economy, Sept. 2012
  • Civic Action, Oct. 2012

Anniversary planners are partnering with a variety of individuals and associations to create this inspiring celebration, enlisting so far 209 individual ambassadors and 110 participant organizations, including American Institute of Architects Seattle, Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas, Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI), Seattle’s Convention and Visitors Bureau, Seattle Global Health Nexus, Seattle Mariners and a broad range of arts, culture, sports, civic and research entities. Nineteen planning committees are currently in place, and volunteers have already donated over 4,000 hours collectively to preparing for the celebration.  Sponsorships and generous in-kind donations also support The Next Fifty.

Seattle Center Foundation will make announcements of The Next Fifty programs and events over the next several months on the new website 2011 events and a sneak preview of 2012 program highlights are listed below. For more information on The Next Fifty planning, public outreach and partnership development as well as lists of ambassadors, participating organizations and ways to support the anniversary celebration, visit or call 206.684.7200.BACKGROUNDER

Events on April 21, 2011

  • Seattle Center Foundation has partnered with Living Social to offer a special World’s Fair Anniversary Package Deal of the Day on April 21st. For only $60, five hundred lucky people will receive a set of collectible 50th anniversary glasses, a $25 voucher at Sky City Restaurant at the Space Needle, four Exhibit Passes to Pacific Science Center and four Round Trip Seattle Center Monorail tickets.
  • The 5 Point Café near Seattle Center will offer a set of Next Fifty commemorative glasses for $17 alone or $22 with a special drink made from local liquors.  More information is available at
  • As part of the countdown, Seattle Center Foundation is also continuing the monthly Buzz activities on the 21st of every month through Oct. 21, 2011. These activities are a fun way to engage in the celebration as we approach the 2012 celebration.
  • The arches at the Pacific Science Center will be lit in red, gold and green to celebrate the countdown to the 50th anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair.
  • The Space Needle will fly The Next Fifty flag on April 21 to mark the one-year countdown.

The Next Fifty 2011 – ways to get involved

A number of early projects lead up to The Next Fifty. While the majority of events during this celebration will take place from Apr. 21 to Oct. 21, 2012, the public is invited to be part of it this year as well.

 Share Your Stories, ongoing
A new website includes a dynamic new feature in partnership with Intersect, KCTS9, MOHAI and that allows people to share their stories and videos of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and connect with people who were there at the same time, creating a collective story from a momentous event in our region’s history.

Party with a Purpose, Friday, June 17
A thousand 20- and 30-somethings will pack Marion Oliver McCaw Hall around the belief that the future of global health is in our hands. Young professionals from around the region will meet people, dance and make an impact. Event proceeds benefit the Infectious Disease Research Institute’s tuberculosis control and elimination efforts in Haiti. The Party with a Purpose is an initiative of the Washington Global Health Alliance. Learn more at, and purchase tickets for $35 at

Tots-n-Tunes, Sunday, August 21
Tots-n-Tunes is Seattle’s largest kindie music festival.  The whole family will be rocking out to the sounds of Grammy-nominated Justin Roberts, Caspar Babypants, Recess Monkey, The Harmonica Pocket, The Not-Its!, The Board of Education, and Johnny Bregar. Chipotle Mexican Grill will be serving its famous tacos, and 100 percent of the proceeds from the event will benefit The Next Fifty.

 Run/Walk for The Next Fifty, Saturday, August 27
The Seattle Marathon Association is teaming up with Seattle Center to offer the first annual Seattle Marathon 10k Race: Presented by The Next Fifty. This inaugural 10K will be held on Saturday, August 27 in conjunction with and to benefit the Seattle Center 50th Anniversary Celebration in 2012. Register at:

Reserve a Piece of History
The Future Remembered: The 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and Its Legacy, a new book on the history of the World’s Fair and Seattle Center developed in partnership with, can be ordered online. This 300-page, image rich coffee-table book will be released in October 2011. Books may be reserved at

Artist Call
Seattle Center will issue an international art/project call in 2011 for temporary and permanent artworks to be installed at Seattle Center during The Next Fifty celebration in 2012, including an art/project call specifically for youth. Applicants will be asked to boldly envision the future and respond to a distinct point of view:  “Illuminating Today’s Challenges, Imagining Tomorrow’s Possibilities.”

Green Lid International Design Contest
In the fall of 2011, Seattle Center will host an international design competition for a 4-acre “green lid,” a re-claimed open space and public gathering place envisioned at the heart of Seattle Center. The competition is a project of The Next Fifty in partnership with AIA Seattle, a chapter of the American Institute of Architects.


The Next Fifty 2012 sneak Preview

Planning continues on activities associated with each of the key focus areas. In addition, competitions, exhibits and opportunities for fun and learning will fill Seattle Center grounds over the six months of celebration.

Seattle World’s Fair Documentary
KCTS 9’s one-hour When Seattle Invented the Future documentary tells the story of how the Century 21 Exposition began as a promotional stunt to put Seattle on the map but wound up shaping the future of a city. Through historical photographs and motion pictures of the Seattle World’s Fair, When Seattle Invented the Future brings to life the textures and sounds of Seattle in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s and the excitement and ambition the Fair ignited. The documentary premieres on KCTS 9 in February 2012, with distribution to public television stations nationwide.

History Exhibit
The Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI), Seattle Center Foundation and are working together to create an onsite exhibit featuring artifacts and memorabilia from the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, and they will present a travelling exhibit on the history of all world’s fairs.

Seattle Opera Simulcast in KeyArena
Seattle Opera will simulcast the opening night of Madama Butterfly, the beloved opera by Giacomo Puccini, at KeyArena in May 2012. This public viewing will offer the magic of a full opera performance to thousands of additional patrons.

Special Dance Production by Mark Morris – Pacific Northwest Ballet has commissioned Mark Morris to create a work dedicated to the 50th Anniversary of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair.

SIFF Film Series  – Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), in partnership with The Next Fifty, will be hosting a series of films and forum discussions throughout the six months of the celebration. The series will highlight The Next Fifty focus areas. Keep an eye out for announcements on ways young people can explore The Next Fifty through the medium of film.

Seattle Science Festival – As part of the 50th anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair, Pacific Science Center and collaborators from throughout the region are joining forces to present the first-ever Seattle Science Festival in June, 2012. The month-long series of events includes several days of science and technology-related activities and programs offered at venues around Seattle, a distinguished lecture series featuring luminaries from the science world, and a large-scale Science Expo at Seattle Center, featuring hands-on exhibits, experiments, demonstrations, games, and live performances to engage, educate and entertain audiences of all ages.

Festal Fabric of American Project (FFAP) – FFAP:E=mc2 engages contemporary people in a contemporary world and expresses their passion, pride and point of view on ethnicity and heritage in the 21st Century. People participate by choosing a culture and answering a simple question, submitting a response by coming up with an image and text or a video and sharing the results. Funded by the Lila Wallace Foundation and Washington State Arts Commission. 

King Tut: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs – Step into one of history’s most treasured stories in Tutankhamen: The Golden King and The Great Pharaohs, on exhibition at Pacific Science Center, May 24, 2012-January 6, 2013. With more than twice the number of artifacts than the original Tut exhibit that toured in the 1970s, the exhibit features more than 100 objects from King Tut’s tomb as well as artifacts from ancient sites representing some of the most important rulers throughout 2,000 years of ancient Egyptian history.