Visit Knoxville is pleased to announce a World’s Fair 40th Anniversary Kick-Off Celebration to take place on May 21, 2022, from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. at World’s Fair Park. This event is free to the public and follows the reopening of the Sunsphere’s 4th Floor Observation Deck to the public on February 22, 2022.

Activities are still being added, but to-date include the following:

  • Cultural exhibits on the World’s Fair Performance Lawn and performances at the World’s Fair Amphitheater presented by TVA
  • Technology and Maker demonstrations and vendors
  • A memorabilia collectors meet up/swap meet
  •  A Ferris wheel & energy exhibits
  • Food trucks and beer
  • 40th Anniversary merchandise
  • The evening will close with a brief fireworks display programmed to ‘80s music

For exact times for these activities and more events to be added throughout October 2022, please visit A closing event in October will be announced later in the year.

The May 21st event and others taking place through October 2022 are being coordinated by Visit Knoxville, the City of Knoxville, Knox County, and several community partners that make up the 40th Anniversary Committee.

The Sunsphere’s 4th Floor Observation deck will also be open, tickets can be purchased at

“We are thrilled to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the 1982 World’s Fair,” said Kim Bumpas, President of Visit Knoxville. “This event really put Knoxville on the map as a destination, and we are passionate about continuing that legacy as a premier destination for visitors from around the world. We hope the community will join us for a big day of reminiscing 40 years ago and making new memories today in World’s Fair Park!”

“I am so excited to walk back in time during our World’s Fair 40th Anniversary celebration,” said Mayor Indya Kincannon. “So many people have reached out to my office wanting to share their World’s Fair stories and memorabilia from the 80s. This is a great opportunity for us all to come together and celebrate this history-making event and how it helped shape our city.”

Simultaneously, the 16th Annual Children’s Festival of Reading will celebrate 1982 and the 40th anniversary of the World’s Fair in Knoxville with authors, illustrators, storytellers, arts & crafts, toddler town, and more at the Festival Lawn in World’s Fair Park from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. To learn more about this event, please visit

The following evening on Sunday, May 22 at 7 p.m., the public is welcome to join the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra, led by Music Director Aram Demirjian, at the Tennessee Amphitheatre for an evening of “out of this world” music featuring works by John Williams, Aaron Copland, Beethoven and more. This concert is free and open to the public. No tickets are required. Visit for more information.

Visitors can also experience the ongoing exhibit presented by the Museum of East Tennessee History entitled “You Should’ve Been There!” which is on display until October 9, 2022. In celebration of the 40th Anniversary of the 1982 World’s Fair, the exhibition’s theme is not only a nod to the international exposition’s marketing catchphrase, “You Have Got to Be There! The 1982 World’s Fair!”, but also an acknowledgement that four decades removed, there is a generation of East Tennesseans who were not alive to experience the historic event. To learn more about the exhibition, please visit

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. Tourism is the second highest grossing industry in the state of Tennessee. Knoxville/Knox County annually produces over $1 billion in travel spending. For more information, visit