Outdoor special events are not new. Almost 150 years ago, the first official words fair was held. The Centennial International Exposition of 1876 was held in Fairmount Park on 450 acres of land. 10 million people attended from all over the world. Among the products that were first publicly displayed at the Exposition were Alexander Graham Bell's Telephone, the typewriter and Heinz Ketchup. It was an amazing display of the latest and greatest machinery and innovations of the day.
Today, this type of event would be held in a tent city, but in 1876, large tents were not yet available. So, over 200 buildings and 3 miles of fence were erected for this event. Most of these buildings were temporary and were dismantled after the event. The most amazing of these structures was the Main Exhibition Building. It was the largest building in the world at the time. Its construction began at each end of the building and met it the middle. It was completed in 18 months. Today, only four of the original 200 buildings remain, including Memorial Hall which now houses the Please Touch Museum.
I am amazed by the tremendous amount of cost, labor and resources required for the buildings for this event. Today, a similar event could be housed in a much more cost effective, environmentally friendly fashion. In 2012, Karl's Event Services/Arena Americas erected the world's largest temporary structure. It included flooring, lighting and much more. With the advent of large tents and structures, large special events have become much more economical and flexible.