Published On: Wed, Jun 28th, 2017

Fourth of July at the Trans-Mississippi Exposition

Independence Day at Omaha’s Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition in 1898 was marked by a memorable parade and a celebration of American victory in the war with Spain, which broke out before the exposition was well underway. Mingling with the vast throng of Americans assembled on the exposition grounds on July 4 were many visitors from abroad who participated in the great event and heard James M. Beck of Philadelphia speak on “As An Eagle Stirreth Up Her Nest.” James B. Haynes’s 1910 history of the exposition described the festivities.
The first grand spectacle of the day was the Parade of All Nations, made up of entries from the Midway attractions. The participants were costumed in the garb of their native countries. The procession began at 10 o’clock, with Grand Marshal Frank C. Bostwick in the lead, accompanied by a detachment of the exposition police. Next came the band from Hagenbach’s live animal show, which in turn was followed by the performing animals from the ring.
Memories of the pioneer celebration of Independence Day were recalled by the appearance in the parade of the Indians and cowboys connected with “Buffalo Bill” Cody’s Wild West. Fifty residents of the Chinese Village in their native holiday garb played musical instruments from China. An interesting feature in the procession was an allegorical representation of an Oriental wedding and attendant ceremonies. The German Village was represented by two large floats, each drawn by six horses, and by five carriages (trimmed in red, white and blue) carrying the management, singers, dancers, and acrobats.

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