Urban Knoxville: Food fight at Marble City Market (just don't throw a Petro's please)

OK, there were no knuckle sandwiches. But fed up with the way things were going at Knoxville's first food hall, Po' Richard's became the first vendor to leave Marble City Market.

More on that in a bit, but first thing's first ...

I'm Ryan Wilusz, downtown reporter and urban explorer, bringing you a weekend dose of downtown news and happenings ahead of this festival weekend.

What festival, you ask? While I'm rocking and rolling at Shaky Knees in Atlanta this weekend, Knoxville will be enjoying international food, shopping and live entertainment across five downtown stages at Rossini Festival. The free event kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday, and I really wish I could be there.

But if wishes were fishes, we'd all swim in riches. Or something like that?

Point is, Marble City Market wishes Po' Richard's worked out, but Rick Simek told me he has no more money to keep running his vendor stall. His frustration with the food hall comes from what he perceives as a lack of marketing, which he believes caused dwindling foot traffic.

Hey — things don't always work out as planned. Just ask Sunsphere architect Don Shell.

I caught up with the CEO of Community Tectonics Architects to discuss how the Sunsphere was designed and how he envisioned the iconic structure being used over the years. I also met with PBA, which shared how the aging globe could use $2 million worth of upgrades (so could I).

If it weren't for the Sunsphere and the 1982 World's Fair, Knoxville might not be the bustling Scruffy City we love today. There wouldn't be Petro's Chili & Chips, for one, and people wouldn't have been introduced to electric cars, touch screens or online banking in Knoxville — all of which are pretty cool if you ask me. The 1982 World's Fair is still shaping Knoxville culture.

You can even trace the founding of Bonnaroo back to the World's Fair. It's crazy, I know.

And speaking of live music, it's time to ...

Live like a local

Listen local: If you missed the album release party for Connor Kelly & The Time Warp at Pretentious Beer Co. last night, don't worry! The Knoxville native is hosting an "immersive listening party" and music video screening at Central Cinema tonight for the band's album "Distant Forest" and will be performing in Knoxville again on May 20 at the Pilot Light.

Eat and drink local: This weekend, Knoxville will get a taste of Maifest, a traditional German gathering celebrating the arrival of spring. Schulz Brau Brewing Company will have live music, German food, shopping and, as always, delicious beer from noon to midnight all weekend long. The celebration is already under way!

Shop local: Vintage is always in style, and the Retropolitan Craft Fair at The Mill & Mine on Sunday has all your throwback needs. The free event, featuring independent makers from Knoxville and across the region, is happening from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Watch local: Sunday officially marks the 40th anniversary of the 1982 World's Fair opening in Knoxville. What better way to celebrate than with "World of Wonders," the first film examining the history of World's Fairs and its landmarks? The film, made for the fair in Knoxville, will be screening at 3 p.m. at the Tennessee Theatre. But there's a whole lot more planned for this free event, which starts at 1:30 p.m. with self-guided tours of the of the theater and concludes with PBS footage from the World's Fair at 4 p.m.

Support local: "The Scruffy Stuff" is a weekly podcast from Knox News discussing the latest topics and trends in downtown Knoxville. Hosted by yours truly, this week's episode shares how the 200 block of Gay Street could become the next downtown district.

Signing off and staying scruffy, I'm Ryan Wilusz. Cheers to the weekend!

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Food fight at Marble City Market (just don't throw a Petro's please)