Modernity knocks on the door
The General National Exhibition had its own Press Information Office, which supported journalists from around the world. First faxes were sent by radio transmission and advertising films were shown to the public. It would take a week for a visitor to make a complete tour of the exhibition. All industry branches and areas of businesses life operating in Poland at that time were represented at the exhibition grounds. The National Oil Society built a hall in the form of an oil rig. The Experimental Institute presented the most interesting Polish inventions, including an electric lamp that changed colours, a composite building material designed to replace the brick, a new meat preservative that eliminated the freezing process, a speed measuring device to be used on roads and fire-extinguishing grenades. For the first time the symbols of circle and triangle were used to mark women's and men's toilets.
Two thousand pigeons
One of many attractions of the General National Exhibition (PeWuKa) were pigeons. The organisers released 2000 of these birds on the opening day and one of them played a significant role in this event. The opening ceremony was held on 16 May 1929, at 10:00 am. The representative hall of the exhibition was opened for Ignacy Mościcki, President of the Republic of Poland, who entered it accompanied by the Squadron of Honour of the 15th Cavalry Regiment. In his presence the ceremony started by performing the exhibition anthem, written by Emil Zegadłowicz and composed by Feliks Nowowiejski. The anthem was followed by opening speeches. A few minutes later, the President cut the red and white ribbon and released a white homing pigeon.
First radio transmissions
During the General National Exhibition, the first live coverage of a football match was broadcasted by Polish radio. On 11 August 1929, players of Warta Poznan (champions of Poland ) faced a team from Denmark - Philips Eindhoven (currently PSV). The commentary was provided by Ludomir Budziński and the coverage lasted for 115 minutes (it continued throughout the break) without any interference. The sports commentator earned 80 zloty (PLN) for his work and for 20 zloty he bought a pair of patent leather shoes for a student ball, as he was a medicine student. The match was won by players from Poznan and the final score was 5:2. Another sport event held during the Exhibition was the first international match of Poland national field hockey team. It was played on June 23. Unfortunately, Poland team consisting of players from all over the country lost 0:4 with Czechoslovakia
Smog on PeWuKa?
The area of the exhibition covered 65 hectares, so the organizers were forced to ensure efficient transportation for visitors moving between buildings and attractions. In order to handle the internal transport within the fairgrounds, the organisers purchased in France 21 battery-driven chassis and based on them, Poznan tram workshops at Gajowa St. constructed roofed carriages with a capacity of ten passengers each. This eliminated combustion-based vehicles and related air pollution from PeWuKa area. During the 138 days of the exhibition, this form of transport was used by 800,000 trade fair visitors.
To Poznan from the Moon
One of the biggest entertainment during the General National Exhibition was an amusement park, called Luna Park at that time. Its main point was a is a giant, two-kilometre, roller-coaster. The term 'amusement park', now widely understood, was used for the first time in Poland 90 years ago during the exhibition in Poznan. However, the full name of the place was "Mr Twardowski Amusement Park." Its entrance was decorated with sculpture by Franciszek Kalfas, which depicted the legendary Polish nobleman who sold his soul to the devil. He looked at the visitors from the Moon and encouraged to enjoy lunar adventures.
Former hotel turned into hospital
Some of the investments made for the General National Exhibition were the largest, the most modern or most spectacular projects of that time. The fountain constructed in Wilson Park and designed by Roger Sławski, chief architect of the exhibition, was the largest in Europe. Hotel Polonia intended for fair visitors (currently a military hospital) was the largest hotel in interwar Poland. Moreover, the Central Restaurant was the largest Polish catering facility. Five hundred waiters were able to serve 2500 guests at once!
Erotic City Poznan
The first Polish peep show was also organised during PWK. Before the exhibition, this kind of performance could only be seen in Paris. Poznan attraction was called "The most beautiful women of the world." It was organised in two rooms furnished as bedrooms and separated from the public by a mesh and covered by a curtain. Two undress ladies were present in the bedrooms. They could be seen by audience after raising the curtain, but it was raised by a lever only when a visitor hit the marked point. Accurate hit guaranteed an exciting view.