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Next week, Kingsport Parks and Recreation is inviting all amateur sleuths and pumpkin patch private-eyes to participate in their 2021 Pumpkin Hunt. Each day, from October 25 through the 28, Pete the Pumpkin will make his way to a different park across the city and lie in wait for the savviest searcher to come and find him. Clues to Pete’s whereabouts will be posted each morning on the Kingsport Parks and Recreation Facebook page.

The first person to find Pete and send a picture of him on Facebook will be declared that day’s winner and will receive a special prize.

“This is a great opportunity to bring the family outside to all our different parks and facilities,” says Renee Ensor, Kingsport Parks and Recreation program administrator.

Only one winner will be chosen each day, so it is important to start searching early. Winning photos will be posted on the Parks and Recreation Facebook page.

For more information, please visit kingsportparksandrecreation.org or call 423-224-2489.

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Kingsport Aquatic Center’s got some Halloween fun headed your way! “Splash & Treat,” a new Halloween event, will be held on October 23 from noon – 3 p.m.

There will be trick-or-treat stations set up in the lobby with candy for the kiddos, as well as door prizes. Jump in the water for some pumpkin races to win a candy prize—individual and relay so the whole family can get involved.

“We are so excited to bring this fun, seasonal event to the Aquatic Center,” KAC Assistant Manager Chassy Smiley said. “We’ll be hosting our ‘Splash & Treat’ event during normal operating hours so that kids coming to splash for the day can also pick up a few treats and some water safety tips, too. There will even be a drawing to win a decorated Halloween pumpkin so we hope everyone will join us for this family friendly event.”

The “Splash & Treat” event will be free with paid admission or KAC membership and will be open to all ages.

To see other fun events, programs and classes coming up, visit swimkingsport.com.

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Join Bays Mountain Park at Bays Mountain Brewing Company this Thursday, October 21 for “A Night with Rangers.” It’s a little like stand-up comedy, but with real nature stories from Bays Mountain Park naturalists.

Rangers are a wealth of knowledge, skills, and stories from 50 years on the mountain. Some stories may seem to be tall tales or even a big fish story—you know, it gets bigger each time it’s told. Enjoy a brew and listen to stories, told by rangers both past and present. This final program in the “Night with Rangers” series features Mark Kilgore, David Taylor and Rhonda Goins.

See if you can distinguish a tall tale or a big fish story. Come out to Bays Mountain Brewing Company for the live conversations that start at 6:30 p.m. Bays Mountain Park will also livestream the program via its Facebook page for those unable to attend in person.

Enjoy a pint of the 50th Anniversary Bays Mountain Ale too! For each pint purchased, one dollar will go back to Bays Mountain Park.

To learn more about Bays Mountain Park and how you can be a part of its 50th Anniversary celebrations, go to baysmountain.com or call 423-229-9447.

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The beloved Christmas Connection is celebrating 42 years of bringing some of the region’s best arts and crafts vendors to Kingsport. Whether you are refreshing your home décor, trying to find that perfect gift, or treating your taste-buds, the Christmas Connection is here to connect you just in time for the holiday festivities. You can find unique gifts and support artisans in our region. Free admission all weekend!

As the weather turns colder, the Civic Auditorium will be filled with a warm and festive holiday glow to put customers in a holiday mood for shopping. The sights, sounds and smells of Christmas will surround shoppers as they shop from the region’s best craftspeople, artisans, artists and creatives. A few of the items you will find include Country Crafts, Home Décor, Fine Woodcrafts, Leathercrafts, Handmade Soaps and Lotions, Candles, Jewelry, Christmas Ornaments, Stained Glass, Wheel Thrown Pottery, Fabric Crafts, Needlework, American Girl Doll Clothing, Pet Accessories and Clothing, Dichroic Glass, Handmade Greeting Cards and Paper Art, Snowmen, Santas, Candied Pecans, Baked Goods and much more!

For this merry 42nd celebration, the vendors will be keeping the event hopping, and music will be serenading the Christmas customers as they shop. On the Main Stage you will find the Christmas Connection Café, serving up country favorites. Outside the front entrance make sure to stop by the food trucks to satisfy your salty, savory or sweet taste buds. We will also welcome the Kingsport Ballet to the entry foyer with their homemade baked goods for sale.

Whether you have been enjoying the Christmas Connection for years or you are trying it out for the very first time, this artisan and craft fair has something for you! Kingsport’s Annual Christmas Connection, a free admission event, is to be held November 12 and 13 at the Kingsport Civic Auditorium and is sponsored by the Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts. Staff will be working with the Civic Auditorium and following all the current protocols carefully. There will be socially distanced booths among other safety precautions.

Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts is excited and blessed to be able to continue this tradition for its 42nd consecutive year serving the artists and the community. Thank you for supporting your local artisans!

DATES/HOURS:
Friday                    Nov. 12            10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Saturday              Nov. 13            10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

For more information on the Christmas Connection event, please visit www.EngageKingsport.com  or call 423-392-8414.

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The Kingsport Farmers Market’s Fall Festival is back for 2021. Visit the market on Saturday, October 16 from 8 a.m. to noon for pumpkins, sweet fall treats, festive home décor and so much more!

Along with your favorite vendors, the Kingsport Farmers Market will celebrate the fall harvest with live music, kids’ activities and plenty of fun.

Here’s the day’s activities:

– Bring the kids! Join in mini pumpkin painting while supplies last.
– Dance to the beat with live music.
– Grab some fall produce from our market vendors!

As part of the festival, the market is also hosting a Pumpkin Carving Contest. Enter to win prizes in two categories—Best Carved and Best Decorated—in 12 & under and 13 & up categories. Pumpkin check-in begins at 8 a.m., judging starts at 11 a.m., and entrants must pick up their pumpkins by noon.

Come early and get in the fall spirit with the Kingsport Farmers Market!

The Kingsport Farmers Market is open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, please visit kingsportfarmersmarket.org.

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When the Office of Cultural Arts (OCA) put out a national call for artists for the show, artists all across the country responded.

“With an artist from New Jersey and an artist from Key West, Florida, we are proud that we can bring a diverse group of artists to exhibit in the show,” said Hannah Powell, Coordinator for the Cultural Arts program. “Our department strives to not only highlight the local talent that we have in the Kingsport area, but we also like to import various artists’ work to share diverse creativity with the community of Kingsport.”

This year, the OCA is bringing eight new sculptures to the downtown area of Kingsport. Two of the artists are new to the exhibition, while two of the artists have exhibited in Kingsport before.

“For those who really enjoyed C.R. Gray’s ‘Popsicles’ at the Kingsport Farmers Market, I’m sorry to report the sculpture has been replaced,” said Powell. “The good news is, it has been replaced by another one of the same artist’s treasures that is perfect for the market location: ‘Watermelons.’”

Jim Gallucci is also returning, this time bringing two arches, one at City Hall, “Monarch Migration,” and one on the corner of East Market and Commerce Street, “A Flock of Blackbirds.”  Powell hopes that those visiting the art galleries like Cindy Saadeh, Suzanne Justis and Up Against the Wall will find his blackbirds arch to be a nice touch to the artistry found on Market Street.

New artist, Nathan Leslie, comes from North Carolina. Three of his sculptures can be found along the downtown strip of Broad Street. Two, “Family” and “Growth,” will be at the intersection with Main Street, and his third one, “Joy,” is a pop of color in the City Hall garden along Church Circle.

The other new artist is Mary Angers of New Jersey. Mary brings a sculpture called “Twisted” at Broad and Center Streets that resembles the line structure found in the Noland Plan for the city. Her second sculpture, “Timeless,” can be found on Broad Street at its intersection with New Street.

Though sculptures have been delivered and installed throughout the month of October, the official opening of the exhibition is October 23 with a reception at City Hall, 415 Broad Street.  Shuttle rides to view the sculptures will begin at 10 a.m. Maps will also be provided for those who prefer to walk. Charlie Brouwer, guest juror, will be visiting to share his insight into the artwork he chose for show.

For more information on the Sculpture Walk, please visit www.EngageKingsport.com  or call 423-392-8414.

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This fall, Lynn View Community Center is excited to provide a festive schedule of free events for the whole family to enjoy.

On October 16th, the center will host its Fall Family Fun Night- a night of costumes, kickball, and prizes. From 6:00-7:00 pm, children in attendance can get into the Halloween spirit with free costumes and face painting. Kids will also have the opportunity to enter into a raffle for a free bicycle, with several bikes of different sizes up for grabs. Raffle winners will be announced at 7:00 pm. After the raffle prizes are awarded, the whole family can get in on the fun with a family-friendly kickball game from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m.

The fall fun continues on November 6th as Lynn View Community Center hosts its glow dodgeball tournament. All ages are welcome to play. Participants are encouraged to wear their best bright, neon colors to glow in the night. Games will begin at 7:00 p.m. and end by 9:00.

For those who might be adults in age but are kids at heart, the Lynn View Community Center is hosting a Parents Game Night on November 13th from 7:00- 9:00 p.m. Adult participants will be split into teams and will compete in a game of Tron tag, which is dodgeball played with foam frisbees. While the adults are at play, kids in attendance will be supervised by staff and entertained with games, crafts, and a movie.

For more information about Kingsport’s parks, please visit kingsportparksandrecreation.org.

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The City of Kingsport is asking residents to participate in its upcoming community survey. The survey is designed to provide a baseline of how the Kingsport government is serving residents, to gauge perceptions of the city, and to make comparisons with peer communities.

Kingsport contracted with Polco/National Research Center, Inc., an impartial third-party firm that provides municipal governments with a low-cost, high-quality method to conduct community research. The survey centers on community livability and includes questions about the quality of life in the community, local policies, demographics, rating of local government services, the emergency services departments and questions about how residents are getting city information.

“We’re excited to engage with our residents and hear their feedback on the services the city provides and any additional wants or needs we could work on for our community,” said Jessica Harmon, assistant to the city manager. “From this survey, we’ll have the ability to see where Kingsport stacks up by benchmarking ourselves against over 600 communities across the county that have administered the National Community Survey.”

A random and scientific sample of 2,700 households will receive invitations to participate in the mail and their confidential responses will be weighted and analyzed. Kingsport strongly encourages all households who receive the survey to respond, since the more responses received, the more accurate the results will be.

In addition to the survey of randomly selected households, the city will also provide an online survey that all Kingsport residents will have the option to respond. The online survey will be posted on the city website and promoted across social media channels beginning about six weeks from now.

For more information, please visit www.kingsporttn.gov or call 423-229-9381.

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A new amphitheater is coming to Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium next year. Eastman has given a lead gift for this project in honor of its centennial celebration in 2020, and the City of Kingsport has matched that donation.

The Bays Mountain Park Amphitheater has been home to many events and programs over the years, whether it’s a night at Cinema Under the Stars, a summer day camp activity or live storytelling at Campfire Tales. This venue has been an important part of BMP’s programs since the park’s early foundational days.

“In celebration of Eastman’s 100th anniversary, we proudly support this project at one of Kingsport’s most iconic attractions, Bays Mountain Park,” said Perry Stuckey, Eastman Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer. “For more than 100 years, Eastman has proudly called Kingsport our home, and parks like Bays Mountain and its beautiful green spaces are one of the many contributors to our city’s quality of life. We are proud to invest in ensuring that Kingsport remains a sustainable community and a desirable and attractive place to live and work.”

The new amphitheater will be roughly the same size as the current one, but located at a more central area in the park, closer to the Nature Center. It will have a lower level with restrooms and changing rooms, outdoor seating for 341 occupants and ADA parking. Guests will be able to access the new amphitheater more easily, allowing BMP to expand the programs it offers there and furthering its mission of educating the region about the natural area that surrounds us.

The deer habitat and fox habitat will receive updates as part of this project as well, due to their proximity to the new amphitheater site. These projects come at the end of a momentous year for Bays Mountain Park as it celebrated its 50th anniversary. Other improvements announced this year include the Fox Den Playground and a 3.75 mile legacy trail, currently under construction.

“The announcement of this amphitheater is a great way for Bays Mountain to finish a fantastic 50th year,” said Kingsport Mayor Pat Shull. “I’m happy to see the city come together with Eastman to support the future of one of Kingsport’s greatest natural resources.”

Dineen West and GRC Construction are also partners on this project. The bidding process will begin on Bays Mountain Park’s new amphitheater in early 2022, and construction is expected to be complete that same year. The project will cost an estimated $1 million.

To learn more about Bays Mountain Park, go to baysmountain.com or call 423-229-9447.

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Do you want to learn to shoot an arrow at a target and hit the bullseye? Kingsport Parks and Recreation is offering a fall archery class at the Lynn View Community Center!

A certified instructor will teach classes run from October 19 through November 16 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. The program is open to ages 7 and up and all equipment is provided.

For more information or to register for this class, please visit www.kingsportparksandrecreation.org or call 423-224-2489.