1982’s World Fair in Knoxville Tennessee

World Fairs are expensive. Take, for instance, the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee. Knoxville is not a particularly large city, but with a little bit of inspiration and a lot of dollars it hosted a World’s Fair that drew over 11 Million people to explore its theme Energy Turns the World. It wasn’t that the fair wasn’t profitable: there were 57 hard-earned American dollars of profit for investors, but the fair cost the city 46 million dollars. Twenty-five years after the opening of the fair, the city finished paying for it. Around the same time, a remodeled Sunsphere opened to the public, and can be rented for hundreds of dollars or thousands of dollars depending on the month and if there’s a home football game.

Two facts about the fair: Fashionistas and folks obsessed with clear things may recall, or delight to learn, that the Jelly Shoe was introduced to America at the fair. The slanted building in the top photo is the American Pavilion. (Other than its 1991 destruction of due to structural failures, the six-story pavilion remains a mystery to me).


2 Comments 1982’s World Fair in Knoxville Tennessee

  1. Lawrie September 15, 2010 at 9:02 AM

    I heard they keep unsold wigs in the SunSphere now…

  2. Bryon March 15, 2011 at 4:53 PM

    I remember going to “The World’s Fair” in Knoxville when I was a kid and it was so amazing. I was so overwhelmed with the size and all of the “high tech” things I didn’t understand. What stood out to me the most were samples of milk that didn’t have to be refrigerated. It was sweet and didn’t taste like milk really, but I wonder to this day what it was. Almond or rice milk, or perhaps UHT milk? Hey, that would be a great thing to bring in the car on the trip for cereal. My kids will surely not forget their iPhones since they can watch live or recorded TV on it. I have my DISH Network employee DVR connected to a Sling box which sends TV to our phones. Now I don’t have to keep shopping for child sized restraints to stop my kids from killing each other on trips.

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