KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – One of Kingsport’s biggest festivals returned Saturday with BBQ and hundreds of drink options.

Racks by the Tracks was held in the fall of 2021 due to the novel coronavirus postponing its usual springtime date, but the festival got back to tradition this year.

Breweries, and wineries from across the region set up shop at the Kingsport Farmers Market to give attendees tastes of their beverages. On the street, some of the most well-known BBQ joints in the area set up shop. Some were newcomers, but others were no strangers to the Model City event.

“This is actually my first year with Racks,” said Keith Dancy, the head brewer for Great Oak Brewing.

“This is our sixth year,” said John Burgess, owner of Boozy Creek Smokers.

Vendors were thrilled to be back at the festival’s regular time after the difficulties presented by the pandemic.

“Of course, COVID kinda put a damper on everything, but hopefully it’s coming back,” Burgess said. “Hopefully, we can come back and do more events, but then I love Racks. I just love coming here.”

The selection of beers, ciders, wines and seltzers meant there were drinks for just about any palate.

“I’ve brought in ten ciders, one hard seltzer,” said Myron Woods, the head cider maker for Slammin’ Ethyl. “We’ve got several new ones: we got prickly pear, we got blood orange pomegranate, got a fireball style cider, cotton candy, blackberry.”

“We kind of stick [to] really traditional style brewing,” said Dancy. “I stick kind of to a German-style brewing, so we do like today I brought my Kolsch and of course, we do like a West Coast IPA.”

While people at Racks by the Tracks may have different taste preferences, there is one thing they all agree makes the festival great.

“The people, the interaction with the people just getting out and interacting with the crowd,” said Burgess.

“The people, we enjoy having them, laughing and stuff,” said Woods. “I really enjoy them telling me how good things are and how much they appreciate it. That means more to me than anything, best compliment you’d ever have.”

In addition to drinks and BBQ, festival-goers were able to enjoy live music all day with performances from bands paying tribute to Aerosmith and the Eagles on stage.

City officials were thrilled with the turnout and hope it serves as a sign that after two years of uncertainty, Kingsport can once again enjoy its fun traditions.

“Last year, we had to push because of the pandemic into September,” said Frank Lett of Visit Kingsport. “We saw a great rebound but not full capacity. I think this year we’re back to full capacity, being back in our normal month of May. The crowd has been huge today, so I’d say we’re back.”