Founded in 1786, Knoxville is the third-largest city in the state of Tennessee, behind Memphis and Nashville.
Knoxville is also the home of the University of Tennessee’s primary campus. The university’s sports teams, called the “Volunteers” or “Vols”, are extremely popular in the surrounding area. In recognition of this popularity, the telephone area code for Knox County and eight adjacent counties is 865 (VOL). Knoxville is also the home of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, almost entirely thanks to the popularity of Pat Summitt and the University of Tennessee women’s basketball team.
With annexation attempts stalling, Knoxville initiated several projects aimed at boosting revenue in the Downtown area. The 1982 World’s Fair— the most successful of these projects— became one of the most popular world’s fairs in U.S. history with 11 million visitors. The fair’s energy theme was selected due to Knoxville being the headquarters of the Tennessee Valley Authority and for the city’s proximity to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The Sunsphere, a 266-foot steel truss structure topped with a gold-colored glass sphere, was built for the fair and remains one of Knoxville’s most prominent buildings
The city also hosts numerous art festivals, including the 17-day Dogwood Arts Festival in April, which features art shows, crafts fairs, food and live music.
Autumn on the Square showcases national and local artists in outdoor concert series at historic Market Square, which has been revitalized with specialty shops and residences. Every Labor Day brings Boomsday, the largest Labor Day fireworks display in the United States, to the banks of the Tennessee River between the University of Tennessee football stadium and downtown.