BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — It's been nearly 40 years since a World's Fair was held on United States soil. In 1984, New Orleans played host to more than 7 million visitors at the Louisiana World's Exposition.
Today, a campaign is underway to bring the World's Fair back to the U.S., this time just a few miles south of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Nonprofit Minnesota Expo 2027 is the official organization working to secure Bloomington as the host site for the World's Fair in five years.
The theme of the proposed 2027 Expo, "Healthy People, Health Planet: Wellness and Well-Being for All," was chosen by the Minnesota World's Fair Bid Committee with the goal of highlighting "the importance of health and medicine at a global level and to spotlight Minnesota’s unique position as one of the world’s most important centers of excellence and innovation in health, healing, medical sciences, and the promotion of wellness."
The proposed expo site is concentrated in the South Loop neighborhood of Bloomington, situated near the Mall of America and MSP International Airport.
"I was very proud when the White House selected and appointed Bloomington as the official United States designee to host Expo 2027, you think across this entire country, all the fabulous cities have so much to offer-- and we were specifically chosen," Bloomington Mayor Tim Busse said.
Minnesota Expo 2027 predicts more than 13 million visitors would visit the Bloomington fair over a span of three months (93 days) in the summer of 2027, with 90% of attendees being non-residents. Data by Rockport Analytics also suggests international visitors would travel to MSP and other U.S. locations for an average of 12 days, and would spend nearly 3 million total days in the country.
Bloomington City Manager Jamie Verbrugge said as for footing the bill, it will be in parts.
"Over 80 percent of the proposed budget will come through ticket sales and corporate sponsorships," Verbrugge said. "There will have to be some participation at the public level, and often for events like this, we look at things like infrastructure investment. The nice thing about this location is that the laast three decades, the state of Minnesota and the City of Bloomington had already been investing in the infrastructure here; to the point where an independent analysis looked at the site and there is not a better site in the state of Minnesota."
In the wake of the Expo, Verbrugge said Bloomington residents will gain permanent infrastructure.
"We're looking forward to the legacy of an Expo site that we can use for commercial purposes, so we can take this conversation about health and wellness and use this as an incubator for business and research and collaboration around the world," he said. "And that will allow the site to continue to have relevance throughout the future."
Other elements of Minnesota's pitch to secure the fair include:
- More than $700 million in spending from international visitors across the U.S., the equivalent to hosting 93 Super Bowls.
- The creation of more than 33,000 full and part time jobs in the U.S., including 17,000 in Minnesota.
- A $100 per non-resident visitor tax that would generate revenue for state, local and federal governments.
Renderings for the proposed Expo 2027 site in Bloomington, Minnesota
In a statement released in July 2021, the U.S. Department of State threw its support behind Minnesota's bid for Expo 2027, saying in collaboration with the Department of Commerce, it will "work with the Minnesota organizing committee, U.S. businesses and industry, cultural leaders and organizations, and civil society to develop an Expo that promotes American prosperity, strengthens global alliances, and connects our global community."
In November 2022, member states of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) will vote to select a host city for Expo 2027.
The most recent World Expo took place in Dubai from October of 2021 through March 2022. Starting in April of 2025, Osaka, Japan will host the next World Expo.
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