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The 1890's
"Meet Me at the Fair"



"Meet Me at the Fair"
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.82

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    bang-up, pleasance, stucco, best, legacy, official, fairs, leading, lifelong, anniversary, political, technology, lakeside, carnival, well-known, memorial
     content words:    Columbian Exposition, Disney World, Super Bowl, National Gallery, Midway Plaisance, George Ferris, Wonderful Wizard, Emerald City, White City, Elias Disney


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"Meet Me at the Fair"
By Toni Lee Robinson
  

1     The place to be in 1890s America was the Chicago World's Fair of 1893. The fair's official name was the "World's Columbian Exposition." It was timed to mark the 400th anniversary of Columbus's voyages. The fair was the most important event in the U.S. at the time. It was of major interest to the rest of the world as well. A writer in our time has summed up the impact of the 1893 fair. It would be as if you had rolled today's Olympics, Disney World, the Super Bowl, and the National Gallery, she says, all into one.
 
2     The Exposition celebrated 1890s culture on a grand scale. It covered 633 acres in a lakeside park on the south side of Chicago. Over 200 buildings were constructed for the fair. They were planned by leading architects of the day. Some were finished in dramatic white stucco. The gleaming walls were visible from great distances. The "White City" quickly became a landmark.
 
3     Some 65,000 exhibits greeted awed visitors to the fair. Forty-six nations from around the world took part. There were displays of cutting edge technology like electricity. All types of art were represented, from sculpture to paintings. What kids liked best (as well as any adults who would admit it) was the Midway Plaisance. ("Plaisance" is an old spelling for the word "pleasance," or "pleasure ground.") The Midway "pleasure ground" was a giant amusement park with rides and games. Chicago's fair was the first ever to have such an area set aside just for fun. After the 1893 fair, the name "Midway" came to mean amusement shows like the carnival areas at fairs.

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The 1890's
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