The Seattle World's Fair opened at the Seattle Center on April 21, 1962, putting the city in the international spotlight.

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Fifty-five years ago, Seattle put out the welcome mat to the world and opened the Century 21 Exposition, also known as the Seattle World’s Fair.

The 1962 fair officially opened when President Kennedy tapped a telegraph key in Palm Beach, Fla. (Kennedy had planned to visit in person, but had to deal with the run-up to the Cuban missile crisis.) The Times explained that Kennedy’s tap started an antenna in Andover, Maine, which searched for a star signal nearing the planet.

The signal was an impulse from a star and was directed to the fair to start the ceremony.

By the time the fair closed in October 1962, about 10 million people had visited, including Elvis Presley,  Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, Walt Disney, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Britain’s Prince Phillip, Igor Stravinsky and Ed Sullivan.

Look deeper into our archives for memories of the Seattle World’s Fair.