World's Fair 40 logo

General Information

What:  The 40th Anniversary of the 1982 World’s Fair Kick-off Celebration will be held on Saturday, May 21 on the World’s Fair Park Performance Lawn in conjunction with the Children’s Festival of Reading on the Festival Lawn.

Activities include the following:

  • Cultural and technology displays and exhibits
  • Performances at the World’s Fair Amphitheater
  • Makers Market with local vendors and crafters
  • A Ferris wheel and Arcade Truck
  • Food trucks and beer including:
    • Petro’s, Buddy’s Bar-B-Q, CJ’s Taco’s Enjoy Latin Food, Big O’s Famous BBQ, Alebrijes Mexican Food, Smoky Mountain Kona Ice, Mucho Gusto, Captain Muchacho’s, Kazoku Hibachi Express, Treetop Coffee Shop, Denton’s, Rainbo Shaved Ice & Funnel Cakes, Orale Mexican Food Truck and Waffley Good
  • 40th Anniversary merchandise
  • The evening will close with a brief fireworks display programmed to ‘80s music

Time and Place:

10:00am – 9:00pm – Performance Lawn
10:00am – 5:00pm – Festival Lawn

Admission: Free! Nominal fees for food, beverage, and games.

Entertainment Schedule

Entertainment Stage (on the Performance Lawn)

Evie Andrus

12pm - 12:45pm Evie Andrus

Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music. Learn more.

Nick Horner

1pm - 1:45pm Nick Horner

Singer-Songwriter. Learn more.

Josh Smith

2pm - 2:45pm Josh Smith

Alt-Country & Americana. Learn more.

Zach Russell

3pm - 3:45pm Zach Russell

Singer-Songwriter. Learn more.

Haley Labelle

4pm - 4:45pm Haley Labelle

Singer-Songwriter. Learn more.

Heidi Gilson

5pm - 5:45pm Heidi Gilson

Singer-Songwriter and Guitar Virtuoso. Learn more.

Kelsi Walker

6pm - 6:45pm Kelsi Walker

Singer-Songwriter. Learn more.

Zack Miles

7pm - 7:45pm Zack Miles

Singer-Songwriter with Folk, Americana & Bluegrass Influence. Learn more.

Tennessee Amphitheatre (presented by TVA)

Go! Contemporary Dance

11am - 11:45am Go! Contemporary Dance under the direction of Lisa Hall McKee

Learn more.

Asian Festival presents Greetings from Consul-General of Japan: Yolcli Matsumoto and special performances

12pm - 12:45pm Asian Festival presents Greetings from Consul-General of Japan: Yoichi Matsumoto and special performances

Learn more.

Dancing at the World's Fair

1pm - 1:45pm “Was History Made in Tennessee – You had to be there!” presented by Jack Neely

Learn more.

Drums Up, Guns Down featuring The Kuumba Watoto Dancers

2pm - 2:45pm Drums Up, Guns Down featuring The Kuumba Watoto Dancers

Learn more.

HoLa Hora Latina presents Pasion Flamenca Ballet Folklorico Mexicano

3pm - 3:45pm HoLa Hora Latina presents Pasion Flamenca Ballet Folklorico Mexicano

Learn more.

World's Fair Logo PNG

3:45pm - 5pm Stage Break

World's Fair 40th

5pm - 5:45pm “Remembering the 1982 World’s Fair” Q&A with Bill Williams, Jack Neely & Bo Roberts, President of the 1982 World’s Fair


6pm - 6:45pm The Knox St. Patrick’s Day Parade presents Micah McAllister

Learn more.

Knoxville Gospel Opera Choir

7pm - 7:45pm Knoxville Opera Gospel Choir

Learn more.

Sunsphere Information

The 4th floor observation deck of the Sunsphere is a paid attraction operated by Visit Knoxville – and the only floor open to the public. It features a 1982 World’s Fair timeline, gallery, memorabilia, interactive touchscreens and a gift shop.

Access is provided at the base of the Sunsphere. Admission is $5 for adults; FREE for children 12 and under with a paying adult. Your ticket reserves a 30-minute time block with a 40-person maximum per time block. Proceeds benefit The Sunsphere Fund.

On Saturday, May 21, the Sunsphere will open at 10am. The last time block available to reserve will be 6:30pm.

Tickets can be purchased in advance at

What Should I Bring with Me?

  • Sunscreen
  • Hats
  • Walking shoes
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Credit Card ONLY for beer purchases
  • Cash and credit card for other purchases

What Should I Leave at Home?

  • Motorized vehicles or scooters (unless necessary for persons with disabilities)
  • Picnic supplies or coolers
  • Outside food/beverage or alcohol
  • Skateboards, bicycles, skates, skate shoes
  • Tents, canopies
  • Firearms, laser pointing devices or weapons of any kind
  • Remote-controlled vehicles or aircrafts, including drones
  • Stickers
  • No soliciting   
  • No unauthorized vendors will be allowed

All attendees and their bags/belonging are subject to search and prohibited items will be removed at the discretion of security staff.

First Aid

First Aid Stations will be located on the Performance Lawn and near the security building on the Festival Lawn.

Road Closures

Saturday, May 21

  • 7:00am – 10:00pm – World’s Fair Park Drive between Grand Avenue and Clinch Avenue
  • 9:00am – 10:00pm – Clinch Avenue just past entrance to Knoxville Convention Center to 11th Street

Parking & Transportation

  • Parking is provided free on weekends in several Downtown Parking Garages
  • Downtown Knoxville is serviced by a free trolley system. You can find the route map here.

Visit for more information and continuing event updates.

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