The southern Appalachian Mountains are buzzing with excitement nowadays, as preparations get under way for the 11 million visitors who will be coming to this region to enjoy the biggest show ever held in the southeastern United States: the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville, Tenn.
Some 19 countries plan to participate in the international event, including — for the first time ever in such a fair — the People's Republic of China. In addition, you'll find a major amusement park, featuring the largest Ferris wheel in the United States plus several new rides never seen before in this country. There will also be performances by such diverse entertainers as Johnny Cash and the Grand Kabuki Theater of Japan, a shopping area with boutiques and merchandise from all over the world and numerous restaurants offering the native cuisine of participating nations. One of the major eating establishments will be housed in the "theme structure" of the fair: the soaring Sunsphere, which is a 266-foot-high steel tower capped by a huge bronze globe.
Though most of the nations coming to Knoxville are keeping mum about the nature of their pavilions, we do know that — in line with the fair's energy theme — Japan plans to show off its world leadership in robot technology. We can probably expect American industrial exhibitors to come up with displays of innovation and technological progress similar to those that highlighted past fairs, which introduced the public to such now familiar things as the telephone (Philadelphia, 1876), the Ferris wheel (Chicago, 1893), the ice cream cone (St. Louis, 1904) and television (New York, 1939).
Include a Visit to the Eco-Village in Your Trip
Our Hendersonville, North Carolina home is only 126 miles from Knoxville. We know that a lot of folks will see this event as an opportunity to combine a World's Fair visit with a look at the exciting goings-on at MOTHER EARTH NEWS' Eco-Village. Besides, being old pros in the energy field ourselves, we think our do-it-yourself approach may provide a refreshing contrast to the high technologies we expect the fair to promote.
We've received reports, too, that even hotels and motels in our area (not to mention those closer to the fair site) are being rapidly booked for the summer season, and the high demand is causing rates to skyrocket . . . some to as much as $100 a night!
For that reason, we're making our own preparations for this unique happening. It occurred to us that we could help a lot of MOTHER EARTH NEWS people out if we extended the time in which the Eco-Village is open to the public (May 29 to October 30 this year), increased our schedule of Show-Hows (short, comprehensive overviews of such subjects as cordwood construction, underground houses, beekeeping, and wind power) to a full seven days a week and expanded our camping area to allow more people to stay on our beautiful mountain property.
What's more, we've put together a World's Fair/Eco-Village package that not only assures you (if you register early enough) of a place to pitch your tent, but also offers two days of Show-Hows and one day at the fair (we'll take you on that beautiful two-hour drive by bus, and thus eliminate any parking hassles in Knoxville) all for the price of $63 per person, not including meals. That cost is even lower for children, senior citizens and groups.
Remember, though, our campsites will still be limited (after all, we have to consider the carrying capacity of the land), so start making your Smoky Mountain vacation plans now!