Bays Final Logo Brown

Take a trip to the planet closest to the Sun this fall at Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium! Two new shows begin at the planetarium on September 3.

The main feature for September through November 10 will be “The Transit of Mercury featuring ‘Solar Quest.’” This is a unique showing in the planetarium theater, beginning with a short from Buhl Planetarium all about the Sun. Then visitors will learn about Mercury and the upcoming Mercury transit on November 11 from a live presentation created by Bays Mountain Planetarian, Jason Dorfman. The live content is rich with great full-dome animations, use of the Carl Zeiss ZKP-4 star projector, and a fun activity! The show runs about 40 minutes. Park guests are also invited to a viewing of the Mercury Transit on November 11 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The alternate show for September and October will be “Appalachian Skies – Fall.” This live presentation is about the current spring night sky. Learn what fascinating constellations and planets you might be able to see from your own backyard. This program highlights the spectacular Carl Zeiss ZKP-4 star projector instrument, which generates a fiber-optic star field that’s stunning to see. Bring your binoculars for deep-sky exploration! This show runs approximately 35 minutes.

Quick guide to Bays Mountain’s Planetarium
Main Show – Tuesday-Friday at 4 p.m. | Saturday & Sunday at 1 & 4 p.m.

Alternate Show – Saturday & Sunday at 2 p.m.

Tickets: $5 for non-members, free for members and children under 6

Don’t forget—every Saturday and Sunday through October, visit the dam for SunWatch from 3 to 3:30 p.m. Look through a telescope to witness the Sun up close and in detail. You may even see a sunspot, a dark patch on the Sun’s photosphere that’s usually at least the size of the Earth!

To learn more about Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium, call 423-229-9447 or visit


Bays Final Logo Brown

Cinema Under the Stars is back this fall with two nights of family fun!

Visit the Bays Mountain Amphitheater for an outdoor movie, surrounded by natural beauty and the sounds of the park’s resident animals. Bring a blanket—and your friends and family too—and enjoy this movie night at the park!

Gates open an hour before the movie begins. Tickets are $5 each for ages 6 and above, and are available for purchase at the link. Ages 5 and under are free. The amphitheater is bleacher seating, so you won’t need to bring your own chair, but stadium seats are allowed. Please no food and drinks. Concessions will be available for purchase.

All proceeds will go to benefit Bays Mountain Park. Cinema Under the Stars is sponsored by Knoxville TVA Credit Union. Keep an eye out for info on our October double feature very soon!

Cinema Under the Stars 2019 Schedule

  • September 7 @ 8:30 p.m. – The Sandlot (rated PG)
  • October 5 @ 7 p.m. – Nanny McPhee and Hocus Pocus (double feature; rated PG)

To purchase tickets or to learn more about Bays Mountain Park, visit

kingsport logo

The winning storm drain art entries have been chosen! After receiving over a dozen entries, the Stormwater Department has selected five winners.

Meet your winners!

  • Jessica Fry
  • Joel Hammitt
  • Juanita Mitchell
  • Lauren Whipple
  • Lydia Pruett

“I would like to thank everyone who entered the contest,” said Amanda McMullen, stormwater quality control technician for Kingsport Public Works. “What I like most about this project is the use of art to educate the public about environmental concerns.”

Each of the winners will receive $100 and paint to bring their art to life. The artists will begin painting the first week of September and finishing as weather and time allow. To follow along with the progress of the storm drain art and to meet the artists, check out and like the Kingsport Public Works Facebook page. The public is encouraged to check out the drains, both in progress and when complete, and snap their own photos of their favorite drain.

Sponsors for this contest are all local businesses and include Bank of Tennessee, Kingsport Imaging, Inc., Now or Never Tattoo Gallery, Bishop & Company and VIPSeen Magazine.

A special thanks to Engage Kingsport for partnering with the city on this contest.

What is Stormwater?

As Kingsport grew, the ground became covered with asphalt, concrete and buildings. Without realizing it, an important part of the water cycle was disturbed. Instead of rain naturally filtering into the ground, it flows over roofs, driveways and streets as stormwa­ter. Stormwater can pick up pollutants and transport them into local waterways via the storm drain system. Pollutants include every­day items like pesticides or fertilizers in our yards, oil in our cars, and even soap. When introduced into the waterway, pollutants have a harmful effect on aquatic life and the health of our rivers.

For more information on storm water in Kingsport, please visit


Jessica Fry

sun and water drop art

Joel Hammitt

storm drain with animals around it

Juanita Mitchell

swimming otter

Lauren Whipple


Lydia Pruett

kingsport aquatic center logo

The Kingsport Aquatic Center is our region’s year-round swim facility—and since swimming is year-round at the KAC, so are swim lessons! Fall is a great time to get into the pools and learn. Classes are smaller, which means more one-on-one time for you or your child with the KAC’s American Red Cross-certified swim instructors.

All swim lessons at the Kingsport Aquatic Center are American Red Cross courses. The KAC offers group, private, semi-private and adaptive classes to suit you or your child’s unique needs. Weekday classes include eight sessions, either Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday, and Saturday classes are four sessions. Not sure about your skill level? Don’t worry—we’ll conduct a swim test.

Fall swim lessons begin September 9. If you are an Aquatic Center or YMCA member, weekday lessons are $50 for the first child and $45 per additional child; Saturdays are $25 per child and $22.50 per additional child. For non-members member, weekday lessons are $60 for the first child and $55 per additional child, while Saturdays are $30 per child and $27.50 per additional child.

Registration begins in person and online at 8 a.m. on Saturday, August 24. To make online registration easier, please create an account before the day of registration. If an account is created after 5 p.m. on Friday and before 8 a.m. on Monday, you will not receive a password until Monday at 8 a.m. Google Chrome and Firefox are compatible web browsers. YMCA members who plan to register online need to show their YMCA card to the KAC front desk staff in order to update the system to reflect your YMCA membership.

Fall Schedule

  • September
    • Registration: 8/24-9/6
    • M/W Classes (8): 9/9-10/2
    • T/Th Classes (8): 9/10-10/3
    • Saturday Classes (4): 9/7-9/28
  • October*
    • Registration: 10/5-10/6
    • M/W Classes (8): 10/7-11/6
    • T/Th Classes (8): 10/8-11/7
    • Saturday Classes (4): 10/12-11/9
    • *No classes 10/14-10/19
  • November*
    • Registration: 11/9-11/10
    • M/W Classes (8): 11/11-12/9
    • T/Th Classes (8): 11/12-12/10
    • Saturday Classes (4): 11/12-12/10
    • *No classes 10/27-10/29

For a detailed description of our classes, to set-up an account or register, visit or call the Aquatic Center at 423-343-9758.

ThinkTennessee Graphic

Current Kingsport Mayor Pat Shull and previous Mayor John Clark have joined an effort to increase civic engagement with nonpartisan think tank ThinkTennessee.

According to a release from ThinkTennessee, the state “once led the way on civic engagement,” but today voter turnout in the state is almost always near the bottom of the pack — in 2014 the state came in last in voter turnout and in 2016, Tennessee ranked 49th. Local elections almost always have lower voter turnout than national elections.

From the release:

To combat this trend and share best practices for increasing civic engagement, ThinkTennessee is joining with city and county mayors across the state to launch the Tennessee Mayors Growing Civic Engagement project. This project is the first of its kind in the nation.

Participating mayors will identify specific actions they can take to increase civic engagement, from deepening engagement with local youth by creating Mayor’s Youth Councils to convening community members to discuss the importance of civic participation.

“When it comes to increasing civic engagement at the local level, mayors know best,” said Shanna Singh Hughey, ThinkTennessee president. “We’re thrilled to help mayors from all parts of the state and both sides of the political aisle come together to help move Tennessee forward.”

Over the course of the project, ThinkTennessee will provide mayors with individual guidance and facilitate a community of practice to help tackle common challenges and scale solutions. At the end of the year, ThinkTennessee will share a summary report highlighting lessons learned and success stories from participating communities so that others might replicate what they achieved.

Aside from Shull, the following cities and mayors are also participating:

  • City of Franklin: Mayor Ken Moore
  • City of Nashville: Mayor David Briley
  • City of Chattanooga: Mayor Andy Berke
  • City of Columbia: Mayor Chaz Molder
  • City of Memphis: Mayor Jim Strickland
  • Chester County: Mayor Barry Hutcherson
  • Shelby County: Mayor Lee Harris
  • Weakley County: Mayor Jake Bynum
  • Williamson County: Mayor Rogers Anderson
farmers market logo

Mayor Patrick W. Shull has proclaimed the week of August 4 as National Farmers Market Week in Kingsport!

Kingsport Farmers Market joins markets across the country in celebrating National Farmers Market Week from August 4 to 10. The Kingsport Farmers Market will be celebrating the week with all week long with at our regular markets , Evening at the Market, and Tomato Fest. Come by to try our Farmers Market Scavenger Hunt!

After our regular market on Wednesday, join us for another Evening at the Market on August 8 at 5:30 p.m. Visit with your favorite vendors while Matlock & Company plays a concert—and don’t forget to stop and get your “I Heart Farmers Markets” temporary tattoo! Tag the Kingsport Farmers Market in a picture on Facebook or Instagram for the chance to win a KFM swag bag.

The 15th Annual Homegrown Tomato Fest will take place during our Saturday market on August 10 from 8 to 11 a.m. at the market. This celebration of the juicy, red fruit features tomato contests, free tomato tastings (including many heirloom varieties), free tomato refreshments, tomato-growing advice, tomato recipes, activities for kids and fun for the whole family.

Gather your finest and/or funkiest tomatoes and enter them in the contests for Best Tasting, Biggest, Prettiest, Ugliest, Most Bizarre and/or Best Dressed Tomato. Make an extra batch of your favorite salsa recipe and compete for bragging rights in the Best Salsa Contest. Admission is free and there are no entry fees. Entry forms may be downloaded from the SAPS website,  Entries will be accepted from 8 to 9 a.m. for all contests, winners will be announced after 10 a.m. Homegrown Tomato Fest is sponsored by the Southern Appalachian Plant Society (SAPS).

Kingsport Farmers Market merchandise—shirts, hats, mug and canvas totes—are all on special this week to celebrate, too. Show your love for the market with some merch!

The Kingsport Farmers Market began in 1977 and currently hosts over 110 farmers and crafters selling a wide variety of products. National Farmers Market Week is a celebration of these farmers and the benefits of having local produce and goods available to the Kingsport community.

“Farmers markets play a vital role not just in generating real income for farmers, but in forming a healthy, prosperous food systems,” says Jen Cheek, Executive Director of the Farmers Market Coalition. “By providing the opportunity for farmers to connect directly with consumers, markets serve as education centers. Vendors are teaching customers about agriculture and sharing recipes and new foods with their neighbors. Markets are making people and communities stronger and healthier.”

For more information on Homegrown Tomato Fest, contact Dennis Marshall at 423-288-3675 or For more information on the Kingsport Farmers Market, or to sign up for our monthly newsletter, please visit