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Knoxville World's Fair officials may have the last laugh.

They took a lot of guff for the fair's off-the-beaten-track location, crowded layout, and other perceived shortcomings. But the fair, which closed Oct. 31, may do something no other US-based world's fair has done recently: show a profit. Not only did it surpass its goal of 11 million paying visitors, it already has repaid $30 million in loans to its financial backers. Once some pending litigation is resolved, the fair will break even and may realize a profit.

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By contrast, the 1964-65 New York World's Fair lost $21.1 million.m

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