Kingsport reacts to Fun Fest cancellation, impact on businesses

Local Coronavirus Coverage

KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – Sadness swept through Kingsport this afternoon.

“Fun, food, festival, happiness, we’re already kind of depressed being stuck in the house all day everyday,” Kingsport resident Kelia Harris said.

Kingsport Fun Fest is special to these people.

“Tradition, I’ve been doing since I was little and I moved away and I picked right back up when I moved back to town so tradition they’re cancelling a tradition,” Harris said.

Visit Kingsport and the Kingsport Chamber make the difficult decision today to cancel the festival.

“It’s heartbreaking because canceling Fun Fest, we’ve had it for 39 years and the communities all over the area look forward to this each summer but we really had to do it with people’s health and safety in mind,” Fun Fest director Lucy Fleming said.

Kingsport businesses are struggling too. Tracy Rafalowski owns Action Athletics, a sports apparel company in Kingsport.

He was expecting to make all the t-shirts that Kingsport would sell to Fun Fest visitors.

“Yeah it’s a big boost for us, it’s 8,000 tees that’s a lot of tees and that’s usually what it ends up being,” Rafalowski said.

But that income he was expecting to see this summer, will not come.

“Yeah I was totally bummed out it’s gonna hurt a lot of people,” Rafalowski said.

They just have to accept that this had to be done.

“That’s the kind of world we’re in right now,” Rafalowski said.

You can find Michael Epps on Facebook and Twitter.

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