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Timberwolves owner helps mount campaign to host first expo on U.S. soil in 40 years

If Minnesota is chosen for the event — themed "Health People, Health Planet" — it would be held in Bloomington near MOA in 2027.

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — For more than 150 years, cities across the globe have hosted what's called the World Expo — most recently in Dubai.

Leaders from Minnesota were there to campaign on behalf of the United States, because for the first time in a long time, an expo could be coming here.

Just like a city has to win its bid to host a Super Bowl, like Minneapolis did in 2018, so, too, does the U.S. to host the next "specialized expo," a scaled-down version of the World Expo.

A still-impactful event, that if local leaders get their way, would be in Bloomington in 2027. 

"We rock a State Fair and this is like nine state fairs," said the Minnesota USA Expo President and CEO John Stanoch, who is now on a year-long campaign to convince an international committee the city can host the three-month event.

It's called "Healthy People, Healthy Planet" — the first ever theme of its kind. 

Stanoch says it's relevant not only because of the pandemic, but also due to Minnesota's renowned medical industry.

"There's more that makes us alike on a global basis and we're all concerned about our health and wellness," said Stanoch. "That's something that unites people; it's not unique to any nation."

Four other countries are in the running to host the expo, including Argentina, Serbia, Thailand and Spain. It was last held in the U.S. in 1984 in New Orleans, which boasted a monorail and a gondola. 

Stanoch's vision includes building a pavilion on a 30-acre site near the Mall of America to house 170 countries. 

"It's going to be a great educational opportunity for all visitors," said Stanoch. "Then we will put on weeks of robust programming around the theme of Healthy People, Healthy Planet."

He expects the event to bring in revenue dollars, 13 million visitors and 33,000 jobs in the 90-day period that summer, along with plans to create a more lasting legacy on the land. 

"May through just before the State Fair, it's pretty sweet around here, so we'll be showing the World the best we have to offer," said Stanoch.

The Minnesota USA Expo Board also voted to elect two new co-chairs, including Robert Clark and Mark Lore, a limited partner of the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

“As my relationship with Minnesota continues to deepen, so does my desire to support this great state in any way I can," said Lore. 

As for the work that still needs to be done, Minnesota USA Expo will submit a formal presentation to the international committee next month, followed by a reception in Paris. The committee will eventually visit the Bloomington site in the fall.

The new host is expected to be announced in June of 2023. 

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