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We've discussed the single day attendance records for several expositions including Montreal and Shanghai.  However, Erik Larsen points out in The Devil In The White City that the World's Columbian set a record of over 751,000 visitors in one day, Chicago Day, on October 9, 1893.  Would this qualify as the single largest crowd in one day for any world's fair?

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Chicago Daily Tribune, 10 October 1893

751,026 including 713,646 paid and 37,380 passes.

https://www.newspapers.com/clip/24430301/chicago_tribune_10_oct_1893record/

 

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There was an expectation that the attendance for the closing ceremonies (October 30, 1893) might surpass that of Chicago Day.  However, Mayor Carter Harrison was assassinated in his home just prior to the end of the Fair and closing ceremonies, complete with a recreation of Columbus' landing (on the shore of Jackson Park, the site of the Fair) were cancelled.  Instead, a memorial service was held at the Fair.  

The Columbian's numbers are impressive.  

For example, the Ferris Wheel had 1, 453, 611 paid visitors with several thousand more who were given free passes.  On Chicago Day, nearly 35,000 rode the Wheel.

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On October 16, 2010, Shanghai Expo 2010 claimed a single-day attendance record of 1.03 million visitors, with a grand total of 73 million visitors.

Sources: 

ChinaSmack - Expo 2010 Single Day Attendance Record

ExpoMuseum - Expo 2010 By The Numbers

New York Times - Expo 2010 Total Attendance Figures

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That's what I wondered about.  But as I recall, many of those visitors were bussed to the fair per government "request" specifically to boost attendance and to establish records.  Erik Larsen's account of the crush of visitors at the Columbian on Chicago Day is wonderful.  60,000 visitors by 10 AM and the 64th Street main gate and the ticket sellers we're standing up to their ankles in silver dollar coins.  And that was just one gate.  By day's end, the Fair had collected several tons of silver dollar coins.  The thought that 30 thousand visitors rode the Ferris wheel that one day is remarkably illuminating.                

Many fair historians still wonder how the enforcement of Sunday Blue laws by an act of Congress may have cost the Fair five million additional visitors.  Ironically, Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, just outside of Jackson Park averaged 25 to 30 thousand visitors during the Fair's Sunday closures.

Despite all of this, the Columbian did set a exposition attendance record and it closed in the black after paying off all of its debts in September of 1893. And the Columbian eclipsed the records set in Paris in 1889

 

 

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"Chicago Day" was held to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. There were a reported 713,646 paid admissions to the Fair and over three-quarters of a million of people inside the gates of the White City that day. "Could it be possible that 754,000 were assembled together to celebrate a peaceful event?" asked one reporter.

https://worldsfairchicago1893.com/2018/10/09/chicago-day/

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Expo '70 held the record one-day attendance figure until Expo 2010.  September 5, 1970, 835,832 visitors were recorded, with several thousand turned away.  The following day, the attendance reached 777,098 with officials closing the gates at 3 p.m., turning away thousands.

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Would truly love to have been at the 1893 WCE. But I did at least make it to Expo 2010 in Shanghai. And bused in or no, I can absolutely say I've never been any place more teeming with people in my entire life. 

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I wonder if the Columbian's attendance numbers were ever clearly recorded as containing the greatest world's fair single day attendance until the second half of the 20th Century.  I wonder because the BIE, for whatever it's worth, seems to control such things and there was no BIE in 1893 and, therefore, no officially sanctioned exposition.  

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