August 20

Georgians at Chicago World’s Fair

August 20, 1933 - statewide

On August 20, 1933, Governor Eugene Talmadge led 500 Georgians to Chicago’s Second World’s Fair, where it was Georgia Day.

The fair was officially known as the “Century of Progress Exposition.” With the country mired in the Great Depression, Gov. Talmadge predicted “events of this kind will surely turn the trick and bring back prosperity.” The main idea behind the fair was to encourage consumer spending. The Georgia delegation did its part in their six-day stay.

The Midway had clubs like the Old Morocco, where future stars Judy Garland and the Andrews sisters performed. The Streets of Paris peep shows had famous fan dancer Sally Rand. The fair also housed exhibits that would shock us today, including Darkest Africa, with its offensive portrayals of native Africans, a “midget city” complete with “60 Lilliputians,” and, notable by its absence, no woman’s pavilion.

The Chicago World’s Fair hosted 48 million visitors in its two-year run, including the Georgians who traveled there to tout the state’s progress on August 20, 1933, Today in Georgia History.