JP World’s Fair cancelled this year

June 27, 2008
By

JOHN RUCH

HYDE SQ.—The Jamaica Plain World’s Fair, which would have marked its 20th anniversary this September, has been cancelled.

“It’s not going to happen,” said Richard Thal, executive director of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC), one of four local groups that organize the popular annual street festival.

The Hyde Square festival usually draws thousands of people with its dozens of vendors, three stages of live music and children’s activities.

Thal and JPNDC Community Organizing Director Juan Gonzalez blamed staffing turnover and fund-raising problems for the cancellation. Organizers last year warned that those troubles could lead to the festival’s demise.

“It takes a tremendous amount of work to put on the fair every year,” Thal told the Gazette. “All the organizations that do it were really stretched thin.”

The plan is for the World’s Fair to return next year in what would still be called its 20th anniversary.

“It’s better to have a break and do something bigger next year,” Gonzalez said.

“The hope is there will be a really big splash for the 20th anniversary,” Thal said.

This isn’t the first time the World’s Fair has been called off. The festival began as a large-scale sidewalk sale in the Central JP business district. It grew larger, but sputtered to a halt in 1995. Various community organizers then relocated and revived it in Hyde Square.

The groups that organize the World’s Fair—also including Hyde/Jackson Main Street, the Hyde Square Task Force and the Hyde/Jackson Business Association—are staging plenty of other community celebrations this summer.

All of those organizations are involved in the July 19 National Night Out crime watch festival the JPNDC is hosting at its Brewery Complex. Like the World’s Fair, National Night Out will feature live music and children’s activities.

Other events will run through summer, including the Task Force’s slate of youth activities. And in September—the usual time for the World’s Fair—the JPNDC will host a community barbecue at The Brewery. [See the Happenings listings for more information.]

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