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1982 World's Fair anniversary events scheduled through the summer

The celebrations include music, road races, and deep dives into the history and impacts of the iconic 1982 expo in Knoxville.

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — The start of May marked the official start of the 40th anniversary of the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville, and celebrations will be happening through the rest of the year in honor of the transformative time in Knoxville's history.

From 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on May 21, Visit Knoxville is planning a kickoff celebration at the site where it all happened: World's Fair Park. It'll include cultural exhibits, technology demonstrations, vendors, a ferris wheel, merchandise and fireworks.

RELATED: 'Such a good time': WBIR alumni recall audacious, hectic, rewarding launch of 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville

There are plenty of other events happening through May and the rest of summer into fall.

  • On May 4 from 5 to 6 p.m., the Knoxville History Project will host When the World Came to Knoxville: Remembering the 1982 World’s Fair”, an evening program at the East Tennessee History Center.
  • On Sunday, May 22 at 7 p.m., the public is welcome to join the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra for a free concert at the Tennessee Amphitheater for an evening of “out of this world” music featuring works by John Williams, Aaron Copland, Beethoven and more.
  • On May 28, the Knoxville Track Club is hosting its EXPO 10k/5k, marking the 45th running of this annual event. The kids' mile run lines up at 7:00 a.m., and the other races kick off at 7:30 a.m. This year, a special Expo half marathon has been added to the event to celebrate the anniversary.
  • The “You Should Have Been There” World’s Fair Exhibition is ongoing until October 9 at the East Tennessee History Center.
  • The 1982 World’s Fair 40th Anniversary Celebration exhibit is on current display until Fall 2022 in the Elaine Altman Evans Exhibit Area located on the first floor of Hodges Library at UT. Memorabilia and images are drawn from collections in the Betsey B. Creekmore Special Collections and University Archives.
  • Another World’s Fair exhibit will open on July 23 at the Farragut Museum, including items from the museum’s permanent collection as well as a few loans from their committee members.
  • On August 3 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., the East Tennessee Community Design Center will host a Celebration of World’s Fair Park at the Tennessee Amphitheater.
  • Visit Knoxville said it is planning to close celebrations in October with a concert, similar to the 2021 Sunsphere Sundays series.


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