Find Posts By Topic

Countdown to The Next Fifty is On!

The Next Fifty begins on Saturday, April 21 with a full day of celebration and concludes on Sunday, Oct 21, dates chosen to coincide with those of the 1962 World’s Fair The anniversary celebration presents a packed six months of compelling and thought-provoking community discussions, cutting edge visual arts, live entertainment, exhibits and attractions, and family fun.

One month and counting to Opening Day of The Next Fifty, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, Seattle Center announces a packed six months of compelling and thought-provoking community discussions, cutting edge visual arts, live entertainment, exhibits and attractions, and family fun. The Next Fifty begins on Saturday, April 21 with a full day of celebration and concludes on Sunday, Oct 21, dates chosen to coincide with those of the 1962 World’s Fair.

 Similar to the 1962 World’s Fair, The Next Fifty looks to the future for much of its inspiration and programming ideas. The hope is to create synergies that will inspire a shared vision for the region in the years ahead. Hundreds of community volunteers have worked tirelessly over the past 18 months to plan the hundreds of activities and attractions of The Next Fifty. The broad support will bring about an extraordinary golden anniversary celebration that honors the past, celebrates the present, and envisions future possibilities.

 Arts, culture and design and history tie together the six months. The individual months focus on key areas of regional leadership and development, including:

  • Sustainable Futures, April 21 – May 31
  • Science and Technology, June
  • Global Health, July
  • Learning, August
  • Commerce and the Innovation Economy, September
  • Civic Action, October

 The newly printed Next 50 Guide contains descriptions for many of the exhibits, demonstrations, live performances, speakers, panel discussions, films, children’s attractions, and community gatherings. Information on additional activities can be found online beginning on April 15 at

 Here are just some of the anniversary activities listed in the Next 50 Guide:

  • Opening Day sponsored by Bartell Drugs
  • Earth Day
  • One to the World™ Digital Classroom
  • Next 50 Digital Channel
  • Seattle Takes Care
  • House of the Immediate Future (Habitat for Humanity)
  • Seattle Center Playway
  • Earth Portal:  A Guided Tour of the Universe
  • World Vision’s Step into Africa
  • Looking Forward:  the New Heros, photographic exploration
  • Next 50 Film Series presented by Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF)
  • Future of Film Expo and Festival presented by NFFTY
  • red black and GREEN:  a blues
  • Trash Fashion Futures
  • Emerald City Search
  • World’s Fair Employee Reunion Picnic
  • Seafair Honors The Next Fifty
  • Seattle Center Big Birthday Bash
  • Living City Design Competition Exhibit presented by International Living Building Institute
  • Environmental Justice Network Alliance – Middle School Showcase
  • Energy Weekend, Water & Habitat Weekend, Food & Waste Weekend
  • Urban Intervention Design Ideas Competition:  presentation and exhibit
  • Mobility Day and Alternative Vehicle Rally
  • Sustainable Communities at Northwest Folklife Festival
  • Seattle Science Festival, Science EXPO Day and Science Festival Week
  • Science Luminaries Series
  • Academy of Interactive Entertainment Summer Cyber Camp
  • SpreadingScience Panels
  • Seattle Mini-Maker Faire
  • P4 Medicine:  Why Seattle is Leading the Charge
  • Ashoka’s Youth Venture Community Panels and Showcase
  • WBBA Life Science Innovation Northwest Conference International Delegation Reception
  • Global Health Nexus “Be The Change” Student Competition
  • Agency, formerly Party with a Purpose
  • Groundswell: A Night For Global Health
  • Health Fair Day
  • Building Faithful Partnerships in Global Health
  • Global Health Experience
  • Classroom of the Future Exhibition Launch
  • Classroom of the Future Exhibition
  • People ● Passion ● Purpose (P3):  A Learning Conversation and P3:  Join the Conversation
  • Education in the Next 50
  • Seattle Marathon 10K Race presented by Next 50
  • People ● Passion ● Purpose (P3):  A Learning Odyssey 
  • Beyond Oil –  Transforming Transportation in the 21st Century
  • Seattle Center Big Birthday Bash sponsored by Bartell Drugs
  • Ethnic Chambers Exporting Seminar
  • Innovation in our Region – Cultural, Social, Technological Futures
  • Women in Innovation Summit 2012 – Women of The Next Fifty
  • Innovation as a Team Sport Speakers series
  • See It. Be It. Career Discovery Fair
  • The Next Fifty Gubernatorial Debate
  • Neighborhood Film Project “A Story Runs Through It – Charting a New Course of Action”
  • Seattle’s Social Innovation Fast Pitch presented by Social Venture Partners
  • iLEAP Global Summit on Social Innovation and Civic Action
  • Closing Day with Seattle Symphony Orchestra sponsored by Bartell Drugs

The six-month celebration makes use of the entire Seattle Center campus. Many of the planned events, including most exhibits and weekend gatherings, are free and open to the public. Hands-on activities for families and children will occupy Next 50 Plaza, located to the west of EMP Museum, along with several experiential exhibits in Next 50 Pavilion. International Fountain Pavilion (formerly Northwest Craft Center) will house the history exhibits and a photographic exploration of young social entrepreneurs. Many of the evening and weekend events, including conferences, performances, speakers and film series, will be presented in the Intiman Playhouse.

 A number of the organizations that reside at Seattle Center are partnering with The Next Fifty to present concerts, festivals, theatrical performances, lectures and competitions. Several of the Festál cultural weekends contain elements that honor and recognize the anniversary. In the warmer months, the celebration makes use of outdoor spaces for concerts, parties and picnics.

 Visitors to The Next Fifty will discover significant changes in the Armory/Center House, including:  new interior spaces in the atrium area, larger storefront windows and doors, exposed structural steel, and a 60-foot long exterior deck facing onto the campus. New food vendors offering fresh, local food and beverages will move into the renovated areas during the first months of the anniversary celebration. The atrium space, designed by Graham Baba Architects (GBA), now reflects the building’s authenticity and historic place in the community, harkening back to its origins with a new name “Seattle Center Armory.”

 Seattle Center Foundation is heading up the 50th anniversary celebration, working with 19 volunteer committees to plan the events, cultivating partnerships to enable the programming and capital development, and reaching out to the region to ensure broad community participation. The Foundation estimates that in 2011 only volunteers devoted over 10,000 hours to The Next Fifty.

 Funding and promotional partners include:  206 Inc., 4Culture, Bartell Drugs, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, City of Seattle, Global Health Nexus, Grousemont Foundation, Hill & Knowlton Strategies, KOMO 4 TV, KUOW 94.9 Public Radio, One to the World, Safeco Insurance:  A Liberty Mutual Company, Seattle Center Monorail, Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, Sheraton Seattle Hotel, TPN (The Production Network), Washington Economic Development Commission, and World Vision.

 The organizers of the World’s Fair left the legacy of Seattle Center to allow for a place in the core of our region for the community to gather for celebration, contemplation and renewal.  In keeping with their vision, The Next Fifty is challenging our rich and varied community to engage in the critical discussions of our day, essential gatherings, and inspiring presentations. For more information on The Next Fifty and Seattle Center, visit or call 206 684-7200.