World Expo fan

By Fred Steinberg
This item appears on page 12 of the June 2021 issue.

My first World Expo exposure was Expo 67 in Montreal, Québec, but I became an inveterate fan after attending HemisFair ’68 in San Antonio, Texas, and Expo ’70 in Osaka, Japan.

Held every two to three years, world’s fairs started in London with the 1851 Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations, followed by the 1855 Exposition Universelle in Paris.

I have attended World Expos in five countries, from Italy to Japan, and am always excited to find each holding a unique perspective, though all feature the current technological developments and future concepts.

I always look forward to seeing how contributing countries and companies view the future, observing in subsequent years how their predictions do or do not evolve.

As an architecture and buildings buff, I was excited to view the giant Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome at Expo 67, the concept of which never fully took off. But I was blown away by the spherical-shape concert hall with wraparound sound at Expo ’70, which led to major changes in concert halls around the world.

My wife, Maria, a culinary arts teacher, and I are dedicated foodies, so you can imagine how excited we were to find that the theme of Milan’s Expo 2015 was “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.” Featured were evolving food concepts, including vegan fare, plant-based versions of popular meat dishes, innovative entrées made from waste food, and insect recipes popular in Southeast Asia.

It was most interesting to try versions of the first two of those food options and to see how popular they have become. The jury may be out for an extended time regarding the latter two, which were not to our taste.

Originally scheduled for Oct. 20, 2020-April 10, 2021, Dubai’s Expo 2020 was, of course, delayed a year due to the pandemic. It has been rescheduled to Oct. 1, 2021-March 31, 2022. Its 1.7-square-mile site is part of a new city, Dubai South.

Expo 2020’s theme will be “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” with a focus on the global challenges humanity is facing. There will be three sub-themes, each with its own pavilion: Sustainability (environmental issues), Mobility (transportation) and Opportunity (challenges and solutions).

More than 190 countries will participate, and a new, dedicated train line will link the Expo site with downtown Dubai, some 20 miles distant.

Visitors to the Expo should allow time to also visit Dubai, in its own way a man-made city of the future that has risen from the desert and where everything seems over the top, including the world’s tallest building. (See my article “Three Days in Dazzling Dubai,” Aug. ’11, pg. 48.)

COVID disrupted our plans to attend the Dubai Expo in 2020, but we are now considering going in late winter 2021, pending the end of COVID concerns plus other plans we may make.

New York, NY

Editor’s note: COVID-19 safety measures will be in place throughout Expo 2020, with masks required at all times and regular temperature checks. A 1-day Expo pass will cost AED120 (near $33). A 3-day Expo pass (AED260) does not need to be used over consecutive days. Tickets were not yet available at press time. Visit