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1982 World's FairIn 1982, the "scruffy little city" of Knoxville, Tennessee welcomed the world to its back yard via the way of the 1982 World's Fair.

Listed below are some basic & fun facts regarding the fair.

Opened: By President Ronald Reagan at the Court of Flags on May 1, 1982

Closed: October 31, 1982

Theme: "Energy Turns the World"

Promos: "The 1982 World's Fair - You've Got To Be There!"

Site of Fair: Abandoned railroad yard next to downtown Knoxville and U.T.

Countries: 22 Nations

1982 World's Fair on Wikipedia - basic info about the 1982 World's Fair held in Knoxville, TN
1982 World's Fair Research Site by Bruce Schulman - detailed info about the fair now on Archive.org
WorldFairPhotos.com - section on the 1982 World's Fair
WorldsFairPark.org - details of the area that remains from the 1982 World's Fair, event schedules, descriptions of fountains, waterfalls, streams, and grassy areas that now envelope the area
Knoxville History Project -  1982 World's Fair in Hindsight
Knoxville News Sentinel Photo Gallery - 1982 World's Fair photos, program, video and more
Visit Knoxville Remembering the 1982 World's Fair - photos from 1982 and from the 40th Anniversary Celebration in 2022
Visitors: Over 11 million total, 87,659 on opening day, and 387,697 during opening week

Ticket Prices: Adults ages 12-54 - $9.95 and Children under 11 - $8.25

Mayor of Knoxville: Randy Tyree

Famous Visitors: U.S. President Ronald Reagan, Bob Hope, Dinah Shore, Phillipines President & First Lady Ferdinand & Imelda Marcos, Crown Prince of Jordan Hassan bin Talal

World Fairs in USA: The 1982 Fair was the last successful World's Fair held in America and first ever in the South.

City's Cost: $46 million in bonds helped fund the 1982 World's Fair. Debt was paid off in May 2007 - two years early.

What Remains: Sunsphere, 216-cubic-foot Rubik's Cube from the Hungarian Pavilion, Strohaus Restaurant (The Foundry), and  the Tennessee Amphitheater are all that remains at the World's Fair Park site.

Prices During 1982: First-class stamps were 20 cents, a gallon of regular gas was $1.30, and the median household income was $20,171.

TV Humor: Part of a Simpson's episode. Bart Simpson and friends take a spring break trip to the 1982 World's Fair site in Knoxville and knock over the Sunsphere. Episode aired March 31, 1996.

Pez Prize: A Pez candy dispenser with an astronaut's head and "1982 World's Fair Knoxville Tennesse" on the side sold on eBay in 2006 for $32,305 - and yes, the state name was spelled incorrectly on the dispenser. 

Petro's: Petro's began its Fritos, chili, cheese, tomatoes, onions and sour cream in a Fritos' bag concoction at the 1982 Worlds' Fair. It was originally know as the "Petroleum Belly" but was eventually shorted to "Petro." More info here.

Sunsphere: The Sunsphere was constructed for the 1982 World's Fair and during that time, it served as the symbol to the Fair. It was also home to a full service restaurant and the Observation Deck, which used to cost $2.00 for the elevator ride up to visit. The Sunsphere closed to the public with the Fair's end and remained vacant or underutilized for most of its post-fair life. More info here.

Sunsphere at World's Fair Park