JP World’s Fair stays dead

May 27, 2011
By
The Jamaica Plain World’s Fair, once a top neighborhood festival in the heart of Hyde Square, is staying dead four years after its last appearance. But once again, organizers are holding out the possibility of its return someday.

“There aren’t any plans for doing the World’s Fair this year,” said Sally Swenson, spokesperson for longtime festival cosponsor the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC).

“It’s such a popular event and really great for the spirit of Hyde and Jackson Squares,” she continued, “so if the economy and funding climate turn around, the JPNDC…would be at least open to the possibility of reviving it in future years.”

The most recent attempt to revive the formerly annual September fest was rained out in 2009. That was supposed to belatedly mark the festival’s 20th anniversary.

The JPNDC and other cosponsors—including the Hyde Square Task Force, Hyde/Jackson Square Main Streets and the Hyde/Jackson Business Association—blamed a lack of funding and staffing for the street festival’s demise.

The World’s Fair began as a giant sidewalk sale in central JP before sputtering to a halt in 1995. It was revived in Hyde Square as a multicultural festival featuring food, vendors, live music and children’s activities.

Swenson said the JPNDC’s staff is one-quarter the size it was in 2007, when the World’s Fair was last held, and its community organizing staff is even smaller, making a one-day event a lower priority.

All of the cosponsors work on other community events in the area, including at Mozart Park and the JPNDC’s Brewery Complex on Amory Street.

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