Friday, December 30, 2005

On This Day: 1905 -- Bleak Fair Paris Opens

(Click to enlarge)

On December 30, 1905, to mark the reclusive eccentric's birthday, Bleak Fair -- "The Bleakest Fair on Earth" -- opened to an unroarious reception in Paris, France. Legend has it that up to 20 million disappointed souls had to be turned away on the first day. The ceremonial opening ribbon was cut by Theodore Roosevelt, who announced, "This is the weirdest thing I've ever seen." It is estimated that the equivalent of the entire population of Luxembourg passed through its main gates in a single hour. The fair remained open to the public until 1907, when a carelessly extinguished cigar caused a lady to complain that it was vulgar, thus ending a unique spectacle of this century.