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Don Wilmeth on:
the midway

Don Wilmeth The organizers of the World’s Fair expected the fair, the exposition, to be the great draw. In reality, the midway was probably more successful, more popular. Why? Because people were truly entertained. It was not just the veneer of culture and learning. There was some of that, and indeed the midway tried to demonstrate certain ethnographic phenomenon, for example. They had villages from Africa as part of the midway. But the midway turned out to be this kind of amalgamation of virtually every kind of entertainment in America at the time. And if it wasn’t in the midway, it was close: Buffalo Bill at the [Higginbeck] Circus were very close to the fair. The midway itself demonstrated the possibility of outdoor amusements from that point on.

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