Knoxville, TENN - In partnership with the City of Knoxville and Knox County, Visit Knoxville announces plans for the World’s Fair 40th Anniversary Celebration to take place throughout 2022. The Sunday announcement continues the Sunsphere Sundays theme Visit Knoxville promotes via social media. The photo opp with the world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales mimics the timeline when they were here in November 1981 to mark the official kickoff (see attached photo). The Clydesdales were last here in 2014 (see attached photo).

WHEN: Sunday, December 5 12:15-4:00
WHERE: Festival Lawn at World’s Fair Park

The public is welcome to come watch the pageantry
Visit Knoxville President Kim Bumpas
Welcome and introduction of Mayor Indya Kincannon and special guests

City of Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon
The importance of the 1982 World’s Fair and personal memories

Visit Knoxville President Kim Bumpas
Celebration timeline and details, including plans to reopen the 4th Floor Observation Deck of the Sunsphere 

•    The Sunsphere will reopen on February 22, 2022 (2.22.22)
•    Knoxville will celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the World’s Fair at individual events between May and October 2022
•    The “official” kick off in May begins with a concert at the World’s Fair Amphitheatre on Friday, May 20th and continues with a full day of festivities on Saturday, May 21st. That Saturday, the Park will play host to international food and festivals, technology partners, entertainment, history walks with Jack Neely, representation from Knoxville’s Maker Community, and a variety of family-fun activities. The Children’s Festival of Reading on Saturday will be a special highlight. An anniversary exhibit at the East Tennessee History Center will take place March-October.

Visit Knoxville will have Sunsphere items from the Visitor Center Gift Shop for sale on site. Proceeds from the sale of these items help support the Sunsphere Fund. Details online at: Online shopping at:

Since 1982, the Sunsphere has served as an iconic feature of Knoxville’s skyline. It’s the only structure of its kind in the world. When one considers other structures created for other World's Fairs – Eiffel Tower (1889) and the Seattle Space Needle (1962), its significance of the Sunsphere is apparent. Visit Knoxville created the Sunsphere Fund with support from Knox County and the City of Knoxville in 2019 to preserve and maintain this historic structure. Monies from the fund are utilized for enhancements to the experience on the 4th floor Observation Deck.

When the World Came to Knoxville
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 Fair’s 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.

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. 

#worldsfair40         #sunspheresunday        #knoxrocks

Visit Knoxville (Knoxville Convention and Visitors Bureau) is the official CVB for the City of Knoxville and Knox County. Visit Knoxville is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, private company that works together with the community, business leaders and local and state government to further develop Knoxville as a premier leisure, meetings and travel destination. For more information, visit

Kristen Combs 
Director of Communications
Visit Knoxville
865.342.9127 o
865.306.4341 c