July 4th celebration will be part of World's Fair 25th anniversary

July 4th celebration will be part of World's Fair 25th anniversary

Dancing chickens joined Mayor Bill Haslam for the announcement. Dancing chickens joined Mayor Bill Haslam for the announcement.

May 1, 2007

KNOXVILLE (WATE) -- City officials say there will be a big July 4 celebration as part of the 25th anniversary of the 1982 World's Fair.

The July 4 celebration will begin at 2:00 p.m. and include an international festival featuring food and entertainment, the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra performing songs of the '80s and the World's Fair and an exhibit of World's Fair memorabilia by the East Tennessee Historical Society.

The exhibit, called "When the World Came to Knoxville 25 Years Ago," will be at the East Tennessee History Center downtown and will run from May 29 until Sept. 9.

The center will display a separate exhibit of memorabilia at World's Fair Park on July 4.

The World's Fair Celebration will be held in conjunction with the city's annual Festival on the Fourth, which is also held in World's Fair Park.

"People were already coming for the Festival on the Fourth so this seemed like a good time to do it," Mayor Bill Haslam said.

The Festival on the Fourth  will also feature the return of the restored Rubik's Cube to the Fair site, where it once graced the Hungarian Pavilion.

The East Tennessee Historical Society is repairing the giant replica of the puzzle, which was a wildly popular toy at the time of the World's Fair. The Rubik's Cube is one of the few surviving icons from the Fair.

Haslam says the city will also take down the fences around the Tennessee Amphitheater on the fair site and re-open it to the public, hopefully this fall.

Haslam said people will be able to use the Amphitheater almost like a "picnic pavilion. We won't have official events but people will be able to use it and take down the ugly fence, which I think is the most important thing."

The Foundry, an old 19th century factory that became the popular Strohaus during the World's Fair, remains at the site. The more than 20 international pavilions, including the Chinese, United States and Australian Pavilions are long gone.

Today, World's Fair Park is home to numerous events and shows.

The World's Fair cost the city $42 million to put on but it generated more than half a billion dollars in economic development.

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