by Martha Rose Woodward
It has been 30 years since the 1982 World’s Fair took place in Knoxville. Many look back on it as a magical time “when the world came to Knoxville.” All in all, it was a good thing for the city and most people have fond memories of Expo ‘82. Celebrations of the event are planned for the upcoming months.
Bill Landry visited the Sunsphere and World’s Fair Park on May 1st in preparation for an upcoming event to be held on Wednesday, May 16 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. in which he is the featured speaker. Tickets are on sale for $16 each or $120 for a table of 8.
Landry was on hand to be interviewed for an upcoming special to be aired on Community Televisiion of Knoxville. Channel 12 Comcast and Charter and Channel 6 for Knology.
Landry said that he worked at the fair as an actor. “I was a fake captain on a riverboat,” he said. He worked on one of the barges that took guests on a ride up the river to points of interest. Landry said that he gave a lecture 4 to 6 times a day about the history along the river to a group of approximately 75 that was seated inside the barge in a theatre.
He said that he remembered working long hours and that it was hot, very hot. “There was no air-conditioning on the barge and that summer was one of the hottest on record,” he said. Landry said that he did visit the fairgrounds and view the exhibits, the pavilions, and watch the parade, but, he was so tired every day from the work and the heat that all he wanted to do when his shift ended was to go home and rest.
Landry was employed by TVA and spent two years after the fair closed traveling the river visiting ports of call all along the way. He said that it was during those years that he met many of the people who would later become topics for shows on the Heartland Series.
Landry said that he always knew he would write a book because his life had been full of stories. As a writer, actor, speaker and entertainer in general, Landry said that he was always looking for the story. Working on the Heartland Series provided him with the opportunity to hear thousands of stories—mysteries, comedies, ghost, historic and the ones“told to him as the truth.” Landry’s book, Appalachian Tales & Heartland Adventures includes:
100 of Bill’s favorite stories, people and adventures
Available in hard ($49) or soft copy ($27)
10 X 9 inches
Landry said that he has been pleased with the success of his book and plans to write a second book.
Tickets for the event on May 16 can be purchased by calling 865 951 0319. Make checks payable to Sunsphere Account and mail to Landry Luncheon, 939 Chickamauga Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37917