Expo Celebration Events
Join the city of Spokane as we recreate the vibrant spirit of Expo '74 during the Expo 50th Celebration. Businesses, organizations, and community members have come together to organize an exciting calendar of events, with each event falling into one of the five categories mirroring the original key pillars: Expo Legacy, Environmental Stewardship, Tribal Culture, Recreation & Sport, and Arts & Culture.
In 1974, Spokane broke records by becoming the smallest city in history to host the World’s Fair. The spotlight was turned not only to the Northwest, but on the environment, as Expo ’74 was also the first environmentally focused World’s Fair. The World’s Fair changed the trajectory of this place and has allowed it to flourish. Millions visited Spokane and sparked its rise into the catalyst for the region’s sustainable growth.
There is much to learn from Expo ’74 and 50 years on, we see the impacts left on the city. Some physical, like a butterfly or a hungry goat, others you can feel when you walk through a place like Riverfront Park.
As we look into the future, this celebration aims to reignite the nostalgia of this international milestone in Spokane’s history. This event meant many things to different people and celebrating this anniversary allows for a reflection into the past and a showcase of what has changed since. It also invites new generations to carry on the mantle of creating a cleaner and brighter tomorrow and to show how important this event was to this area. The legacy of Expo ’74 is worth celebrating and is a powerful reminder to what this community is capable of.
Expo ’74 was the first ever environmentally themed World’s Fair. The questions and conversations Expo ’74 popularized – about sustainability and international environmental issues - continue today.
Celebrating the central theme of Expo ’74 allows us the opportunity to reflect on where we have been, while maintaining the goal of being careful stewards of the land we call home into the future. Together, we can continue exploring new ways to ground ourselves in better practices, and new opportunities to protect and care for the land we inhabit.
Spokane sits within a beautiful region, teeming with life. Our nearby lakes, rivers, mountains, forests and fields are both gorgeous and packed with wildlife, each native species vital to the region and its ecosystem. 50 years in the future, the lessons from Expo ’74 still ripple through the community and continue to inspire generations to protect this place we call home.
Spokane, sp’q’n’I in Salish, means “Children of the Sun.” Many aspects of this beautiful land are rooted in Native American history, telling the stories of original inhabitants and new generations crafting their own narratives. It is a responsibility to ensure that these stories can be shared.
As a centerpiece of Spokane, the magnificent Spokane Falls has been a focal point for Expo ’74 and for our downtown urban park, but its history is rooted as a tribal gathering place. The Spokane Tribe of Indians hosted large communal gatherings while chinook salmon ran the river. Their legacy, both past and present, continues to be a vital piece of Spokane’s future.
Each of the five pillars exemplify a piece of Spokane that truly makes this place unique; tribal culture sits as a focal point between them. Aspects of tribal culture are woven within each of the pillars, similar to how the legacy of Native American history is woven into the region. This pillar allows for the continued celebration and appreciation of the tribes in the area.
Recreation & Sport
The energy and excitement that put Spokane on a world stage in 1974 is very much alive and well in our city. We are active and passionate, pursuing connection, with a healthy dose of friendly competition. Our city continues to make a mark on the global stage with some incredible flagship events that bring the entire city together to compete and recreate multiple times a year. With Expo ’74 as a spark, Spokane has continued to build upon its outdoor events since 1974. Bloomsday was run for the first time, the Centennial Trail was established, and Hoopfest began in the 16 years following the fair. These events are staples of Spokane and have helped bring the community together through activity.
We push beyond the boundaries of what is known as intrepid explorers and outdoor adventurers. From the court to the campground, the track to the trails, we thrive upon resiliency and dynamism.
And it is not just large-scale events, the effect of outdoor activity on a smaller scale is something equally special. It can be as simple as a stroll through the park. There are spaces here in Spokane for activity, and a community around them that supports each other. This area’s beautiful landscape is the ultimate playground that is enjoyed by thousands every day. We live in an amazing place with a community that frequently reminds us, especially when we come together.
Arts & Culture
Spokane is a place where warmth, pride and kindness collide with ambition, creativity and community. It is these aspects that make Spokane stand out in the greater picture of not just the state, but the country and the world. There is a long history in Spokane of combining creative thinking with ingenuity that unlocks innovation. Spokane is home to artists who craft, weave, write, sculpt, paint, dance, perform, sing, play, cook and more. A fusion of ideas and formats can be found here, and we love it.
Our culture is vibrant, eclectic, expressive and interwoven with neighborly help and communal care. Around every corner in the region is support for not only local creators, but our community members in a way that is uniquely Spokane. The legacy of creativity and innovation that shone at Expo ’74 continues to push us forward into new ways of thinking, being and doing. This celebration allows us an opportunity to come together to appreciate each other’s craft and to showcase, yet again, what Spokane can do when its people converge together. Everyone gets the chance to be supported here and all contribute to the ever-expanding tapestry of Spokane’s history and culture.
Expo '74 50th Celebration Events Calendar
Continue to check our calendar for new Expo Celebration events!