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1926-2014: The Amazing History of The Thessaloniki International Fair

These days, the northern Greek port city of Thessaloniki is traditionally attracting thousands of visitors from Greece and across the world, who are coming to the Thessaloniki International Fair (TIF). However, the Fair’s history has several remarkable events, such as the first time frappe coffee was produced and the visitors’ crazy reaction when free candy was given to them.
After four years of research in archives and newspaper material, Kyriakos Pozrikidis created an almanac under the title “75 years in 15 days” where he includes the Fair’s most important moments.
1926: Nicholas Germanos opened the doors of the first Fair, which was housed at an army camp at the area of Stratigeio and covered 7,000 square meters. The first Fair had 600 participating exhibitors and attracted a total of 100,000 visitors.
1927: A year later, at the second TIF, which attracted 200,000 visitors, and while everything was running normally, on the afternoon of September 27, the Fair was sunk in darkness due to a power cut.
1928: The first year that the Greek Prime Minister visited the TIF. Coming from Belgrade, Eleftherios Venizelos made a stop in Thessaloniki and the carpet exhibitors donated a rug to the Prime Minister.
1929: “Life Savers” company distributed free candies to its visitors. Due to the fact that Greeks had just come out of deprivation, the exhibition stand was full of parents who tried to ensure candy for their children.
1935: The 10th International Fair was held without its founder for the first time, since Germanos had passed away in January of the same year.
1941: During the Nazi occupation, the Germans used the kiosks as warehouses and blew up the TIF buildings before they departed from the city. The exhibition, thereafter, remained closed for 10 years.
1951: Prime Minister Nikolaos Plastiras announced the reopening of the TIF. 5 billion drachmas were allocated for this purpose from the American Credit and another 1 billion for advertisement.
1954: The American pavilion presented the first closed circuit television, leaving guests speechless, since it was the first time they could see themselves on the screen.
1955: The TIF and the entire country was marked by the expulsion of Greeks from Constantinople. The Turkish pavilion in TIF closes before the end of the Fair.
1957: Dimitris Vakondios created the first frappe coffee.
1960: The idea of the International Film Festival, first launched by Linos Politis and Paul Zanna, was immediately adopted by the TIF.
1961: The Song Festival moves to Thessaloniki.
1963: Fire in the Patraiki booth due to short circuit in electrical cables.
1964: Miss World Korina Tsopei, along with Miss USA Bobby Johnson, attract all visitors’ eyes at the premises of the TIF and actress Eleni Anousaki made such a sexy appearance that police tried to prevent her from entering the Film Festival’s administration building.
1966: The TIF launched a new institution, Miss Festival. First winner was actress Vera Krouska.
1971: At the opening day of the 36th TIF, the largest Greek ferry was burnt at the Adriatic sea, leaving dozens dead.
Since 1980, the TIF was conducted every year, with less to report however, since its role was mainly commercial.

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