Memories of Belgian waffles and the Century 21 World's Fair
The secret was in the yeast.
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LAST LABOR Day Jean Sherrard and I did some exploring at Seattle Center for a repeat-photography project we named "Fair and Festival." Through that three-day weekend during Bumbershoot we hoped to match about 100 historical photographs, most of them from the 1962 Century 21 World's Fair, with scenes from the 41-year-old arts festival that has by now, it seems, gone largely pop.
We soon discovered that, given all the changes in the past half century, our project could be bewildering. Lucky for us, collector Ron Edge joined us for two of those balmy afternoons, and with the help of his historical photographs and overlaid maps, we managed to line up a small horde of subjects.
The one we chose for this feature reveals neither the futuristic nor monumental preoccupations of Century 21. Instead we chose waffles, the popular Belgian ones.
My only visit to the fair was from Spokane in the spring of 1962 as a member of the Whitworth College Choir. That our performance was rained out injured our artistic status, but we got a free day at the fair. I headed first for the dazzling fine arts exhibit in Exhibition Hall, and followed it nearby to the short row of faux Flemish storefronts seen near the center of our "then." It sat beside the fair's Boulevards of the World, on the part named Freedom Way (Republican Street). It was there that my (and perhaps your) fond waffle memories were sweetened with strawberries and whipped cream.
And the secret — we learn from Paula Becker and Alan J. Stein in their book, "The Future Remembered, the 1962 World's Fair & Its Legacy" — was in the foundation: the big waffles themselves. The batter was yeast-leavened.
Check out Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard's blog at www.pauldorpat.com.