Pop-up store to benefit Sunsphere Fund

Maria McHaleDowntown, Our Town Arts

In celebration of the upcoming 40th anniversary of the 1982 World’s Fair, Chris Ford, co-owner of Sweet P’s Barbecue, will sell pieces of his World’s Fair memorabilia collection at a pop-up store inside Bliss & Tori Mason Shoes in downtown Knoxville.

“I’ve been curating a collection of 1982 World’s Fair memorabilia for more than two decades,” Ford said. “Some of the pieces were in the original Sweet P’s, and customers started bringing in interesting pieces to sell and trade and it grew from there. With the 40th anniversary of the World’s Fair coming up in May 2022, we’re cultivating excitement by offering some favorite pieces just in time for the holidays – and for a good cause.”

World’s Fair memorabilia.

A portion of the proceeds from the pop-up store will be donated to the Sunsphere Fund, created in 2019 to protect, preserve and maintain the historic structure that was built as a symbol of the 1982 event, which was formally known as the Knoxville International Energy Exposition.

“The Sunsphere is in need of some updates and renovation, and it’s important that we preserve this local treasure,” Ford said. “It’s an iconic image that people automatically associate with Knoxville and a big part of our downtown landscape.”

The pop-up store will open today (11/4) inside Bliss & Tori Mason Shoes, located at 445 S. Gay St., with a welcome party from 5-7 p.m.

The Sweet P’s 1982 World’s Fair collection includes items such as artwork, cookbooks, sets of drinking glasses and memorabilia. New vintage style T-shirts also will be available for purchase with throwback designs as another way patrons can support and celebrate the milestone anniversary.

Maria McHale is an account executive for Moxley Carmichael.

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