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Celebrating the Anniversary of the World's Fair

Photos courtesy of US National Archives

In 1982, more than 11 million people came to Knoxville to experience the hospitality of East Tennessee and cultures from around the world. The 1982 World’s Fair, formally known as the Knoxville International Energy Exposition, ran May 1 through October 31 under the theme “Energy Turns Our World” and would become recognized as the last successful World’s Fair held in America.

More than 50 private organizations and companies took part in the Fair. Participating nations included Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, the United States, and West Germany.

The Amphitheater and Sunsphere, still standing on site today, hosted all official ceremonies and entertainment, including Broadway shows, world-renowned orchestras, ballet and opera companies. The list of entertainers and performers included Johnny and June Carter Cash, Japan’s acclaimed Grand Kabuki, Rudolf Nureyev, Red Skelton, Richie Havens, The London Symphony, and Bob Hope.

Today, Knoxville still draws visitors with history, music, food, culture and festivals that reflect many of the countries represented here years ago. We look forward to the reopening of the Observation deck to the public on February 22nd, 2022.

Join us for the 40th Anniversary of the 1982 World’s Fair and feel the ENERGY of our nature-loving-adventure-seeking-artsy-kinda-town.




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