Bloomington is one of five finalists competing to host the global Specialized Expo 2027 (it will be held from May 15 to Aug. 15, 2027), which is commonly known as the World’s Fair in the United States. If Minnesota is chosen for the expo, it would be the first time the event has been held in the U.S. since 1984 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The competing cities are Phuket, Thailand; Belgrade, Serbia; Malaga, Spain; and San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina.
The federal government endorsed the Minnesota bid, and the U.S. Departments of State and Commerce are coordinating with the state’s team to promote the effort among the member countries of the Bureau of International Expositions, an organization based in Paris, France, that oversees and regulates the expos.
The theme of the Minnesota bid is “Healthy People, Healthy Planet.”
“Minnesota is known worldwide for its health care community, for its medical technology community, and for health and wellness generally,” says John Stanoch, president and CEO of Minnesota USA Expo. “The theme is even more relevant in light of the global pandemic.”
When asked to highlight the strengths of the Minnesota USA Expo bid, Stanoch emphasizes the theme, but adds, “[Centrally located] Minnesota is the gateway to the United States, and we have demonstrated experience pulling off major events,” including two Super Bowls, two World Series, the MLB All-Star Game, and the NCAA men’s and women’s Final Fours, he says. “I think we’re in a strong position.”
The expo sites are adjacent to Mall of America near Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in Bloomington’s South Loop district. The sites are served by the airport, the light rail system, and Interstate 494, so significant infrastructure expenditures are not needed—which is another selling point for the Minnesota bid, Stanoch adds. He also says the Specialized Expo will be self-funded through ticket sales, sponsorships, and licensing and merchandising. “We have not asked for public [funding] as a component of the expo,” he says.
The expo is projected to generate 34,000 full- and part-time jobs, primarily in construction and hospitality, and to bring $2.5 billion into the regional economy. Some 14.3 million visitors are forecasted to attend.
Minnesota USA Expo filed a bid dossier in June 2022 to host, and after another presentation this fall and a site visit, the Bureau of International Exhibitions will choose the location of the expo in June 2023.