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40th Anniversary of the 1982 World's Fair Kick-off Celebration will be on Saturday

The celebration will include a makers market, cultural and technological displays as well as tons of performances at the World's Fair Amphitheater.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The 1982 World's Fair left a huge, historic mark on Knoxville. Around 40 years later, people still look back at the fair's splendor. It featured the latest technological advancements, like solar panels or touchscreens, and brought 22 countries together for 184 days.

Over the weekend, people will have a chance to get a taste of what it was like to go to the fair. The 40th Anniversary of the 1982 World’s Fair Kick-off Celebration will start on Saturday at 10 a.m. During the event, World's Fair Lawn will be packed with celebrators and festivities.

Organizers said there will be a Ferris wheel and an arcade truck, giving people a chance to see Knoxville from a whole new perspective. Just like how the 1982 World's Fair shared the latest technological advancements with the world, displays of different cultures and technologies will fill the celebration on Saturday.

The World's Fair Amphitheater will host performances and a makers market is expected to attract local small businesses, sharing new cuisines and gadgets. Then, to cap it all off at 9 p.m., there will be a fireworks display programmed to music from the 1980s.

The event is free, and a list of performances at the amphitheater is below.

  • 11 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.: Go! Temporary Dance, under the direction of Lisa Hall McKee.
  • 12 p.m. - 12:45 p.m.: Asian Festival presents Greetings from Consul-General of Japan: Yoichi Matsumoto and special performances.
  • 1 p.m. — 1:45 p.m.: “Was History Made in Tennessee – You had to be there!” presented by Jack Neely.
  • 2 p.m. — 2:45 p.m.: Drums Up, Guns Down featuring The Kuumba Watoto Dancers.
  • 3 p.m. — 3:45 p.m.: HoLa Hora Latina presents Pasion Flamenca Ballet Folklorico Mexicano.
  • 5 p.m. — 5:45 p.m.: “Remembering the 1982 World’s Fair” Q&A with Bill Williams, Jack Neely & Bo Roberts, President of the 1982 World’s Fair 
  • 6 p.m. — 6:45 p.m.: The Knox St. Patrick’s Day Parade presents Micah McAllister.
  • 7 p.m. — 7:45 p.m.: Knoxville Opera Gospel Choir.

Admission will be $5 for entrance to the Sunsphere, but it will be free to children under 12 years old. World's Fair Park Drive between Grand Avenue and Clinch Avenue will be closed from 7 a.m. through 10 p.m. for the celebration. Clinch Avenue, past the entrance to the Knoxville Convention Center to 11th Street, will also be closed from 9 a.m. through 10 p.m.

The Children's Festival of Reading will also be held during the celebration.

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