Having watched the construction of the Space Needle, Washington State Coliseum, Northwest Court and the many fountains, my sister Sidney Carol (Turner) Noel, took her camera to the fairgrounds whenever she could. Sidney captured some of the development and completion of the fairground structures. Sidney represented our family at the Opening Day festivities.April’s gray weather gave way to the abundant sunshine of May and June. I had completed my first year of work at the downtown library on May 10th, and turned 19 on June 7th. My godparents, Gene and Margaret Ferney, accompanied us down to the fairgrounds for a special kind of celebration, going into the Food Circus to sample some of their wares. It was always a busy area, as was just getting into the grounds, as there was always a good crowd waiting to enter. You used one of your tickets, or one of the Exposition copper coins, entering through turnstiles located at each of the four sides of the grounds.
June 7th was my introduction to the Mongolian Grilled Steak Sandwich, dripping with good juices, the combination of fresh celery and strips of thin, perfectly grilled beef, all nearly enclosed in the savory buns in which the mixture was stuffed. Absolutely delicious – one of my favorites for many years thereafter, as a family-operated venue which gave a lot of us our first taste of more exotic flavors.
Along with that, I had another Orange Julius, which I had come to enjoy rather more than my waistline would like. The pleasure of riding the Ferris Wheel in the Gayway area of the fairgrounds was another treat. We all rode the big wheel, and could see our home from over the top of the Seattle High School Memorial Stadium each time the wheel took us up to its highest point. The Polynesia shop, next to the Gayway, was a beautifully designed building, and like nothing else in Seattle at the time. I did not ride on the Wild Mouse that evening, as I don’t normally do rides after eating. We had time to take the elevator to the top (Eye) of the Needle, so that was enough pleasure for the night, walking all the way around the observation deck, seeing all of our homes (current and former) scattered along the Southeast slope of Queen Anne hill, and my alma mater, Queen Anne High School, looking somewhat dwarfed by our height and distance away. It was a great way to celebrate my birthday, and would remains a fond memory.
Late June and early July brought my Mom’s eldest sister Arline Ovens, and her youngest son, Mike, to stay with us for a few weeks. This meant more time for the fair, and I took several vacation days for the opportunity. we explored the various buildings and exhibits. I purchased postage stamps from the Thailand Exhibit, stamps with the Fair’s logo, and also bought covers cancelled at the Space Needle Post Office.
We took the Skyride across the grounds from the Northwest corner to the area adjacent to the Alweg Monorail Station, in the roughly Southeast corner of the grounds. Mike kept his eyes closed the whole six-minutes of the crossing, although we were only about 40-5- feet above the ground at the highest point. He later served as a Marine paratrooper in Vietnam. I never asked him how he managed to overcome his aversion to heights – I probably should now, since it is all so very far behind us.
All in all, it was great time, and even Mike enjoyed the views from the Top of the Needle as much as the rest of us, although he faced the back of the elevator the whole time he went up.