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).


September 15, 2010