37902 Travel Guide

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The 1982 World's Fair: An Idea Whose Time Has Come Again

Where: 525 Henley Street [map], Knoxville, TN, United States, 37902
July 19, 2008 at 4:40 PM | by | Comments (2)

Sometimes, it takes a good look back to see the present for what it is. Here, Victor Ozols plumbs the depths of his memory - as well as a handful of very retro websites - to suss out the meaning behind the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee.

I can still recall the commercial jingle: "You've got to be there! The 1982 World's Fair! You've got to be there!" And I was there, a skinny eleven-year-old kid, traveling with his family to take in the cutting-edge concepts of a fair designed to explore the ways in which "Energy Turns the World." A brief look back underscores the fact that history always repeats itself, often in sad, pathetic ways. Just like today, people in 1982 were concerned that the world had become too reliant on fossil fuels, and there was a push to develop alternative energy sources. To that end, national pavilions across the fairgrounds displayed fancy new technology designed to harness the power of the sun, wind, water currents, biomass, and, yes, nuclear technology to provide the energy we'd surely need in the 21st century - even though it was a long way away. But as a Pac-Man-obsessed youngster I was mostly awed by the colorful displays and flashing lights of exhibits from the Philippines to France, and everywhere I turned it seemed like something very important was happening and that big changes were on the horizon.

Related Stories:
· World's Fair Park [Official Site]
· Flashback 1982: You've Got To Be There [gate21.net]
· World's Fair Travel Coverage [Jaunted]

[Photo: Victor Ozols]

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