KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – Street banners were installed up and down Center Street, marking the beginning of Fun Fest season in Kingsport.
The nine-day event officially kicks off Friday, but organizers told News Channel 11 that there are plenty of pre-festival activities to keep them busy.
“There’s some free events of course going on for this week; the Civil War event is tonight. Tomorrow is the trash barrel painting, which is always a huge hit and already breaking records for numbers this year,” said Emily Thompson, Executive Director of Fun Fest. “So if you want to bring the whole family out to Allendale Mansion, you’ve still got time to go by the Fun Fest store and you can register to reserve a barrel.”
The trash barrel painting event will be held at the Allendale Mansion Tuesday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and those barrels are also kept on display throughout the year.
Thompson said in previous years, the festival typically registered between 175-200 barrels. This year, that number has already surpassed 300.
Thompson said last year’s 40th-anniversary festival was a hit, and organizers are still riding that high.
“You’re kind of starting to see that excitement build for those that maybe haven’t been out for big events yet. And you know we’re really pumped for nine days of Fun Fest,” she said.
There are several events across Kingsport that residents will be able to enjoy throughout the week, including the Downtown Kingsport Association’s Street Fair on Saturday.
“This event has been going on for quite a few years, and it’s grown over the past several years, kind of morphed into this just really fun, an eclectic event that draws folks from all across the region,” said Robin Cleary, Downtown Kingsport Association Executive Director.
The event will feature an international component with food, performances, crafting activities and booths from different countries around the world. Entertainers have been booked to perform throughout the event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., including Irish step dancers, an African drum and dance group, belly dancers, trapeze artists and Appalachian performances.
The event will be located along the 100 block of Broad and Shelby Streets, as well as on Market and Main Streets stretching from Shelby to Commerce Street.
“An event where everybody is just having a good time. It’s good, kind, positive vibes, and I think we all need as much of that as we can get nowadays,” Cleary said.
It’s also a family-friendly event.
“The event ‘touch-a-truck,’ which will take place on Main Street, that’s a fabulous event for children they get to climb on the fire trucks and the police cars and the dump trucks and the garbage trucks and they can honk the horns and turn on the sirens,” Cleary said.
A full list of Fun Fest events leading up to the official kick-off on Friday can be found HERE.