Get Ready for Fall Break Camp!

Is there a better way to spend a week off school than playing fun games and sports, doing crafts and taking field trips? Kingsport Parks and Recreation doesn’t think so! Parents can sign their kids up now for Fall Break Camp. It starts October 16 for ages 6-12 and the cost is $20 per child.

During camp week, kids will be learning new games, enjoying their favorite sports, crafting up new projects and even taking a trip to the Kingsport Aquatic Center to swim!

Spots are limited so sign up today at V.O. Dobbins. Camp is from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (for an extra $10, kids can be dropped off at 8:00 a.m. and picked up at 5:00 p.m.) Kids will need to bring their own lunch and snacks. The camp will be held at V.O. Dobbins, located at 301 Louis Street.

For more information, please call Renee Ensor at 423-224-2489 or visit

Genealogy… Life in the Past Lane Workshop Series

Genealogy of families is not only important, but also fun to discover! During Family History month, the Kingsport Public Library will be hosting its third annual genealogy workshop series every Thursday in October from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The workshops are free and you do not have to register to attend.

The genealogy workshop series will feature four speakers on key topics of interest for those looking into their family’s history and genealogy. These topics are geared to all levels of experience and offer something for everyone, from beginners to advanced genealogy enthusiasts. Check out the information flyer here!

Speakers and topics will include the following:

October 5:  Lori Thornton, Professional Genealogist will present two 1-hour sessions:

  • Cousin Harry’s Tree Adventure and Other Newspaper Discoveries

Join us as we look at how newspapers contain more than just obituaries. Find information on your ancestors and their communities that will enhance your family history narrative.

  • Exploring Your Ancestor’s World with Maps

Learn how maps can add so much to your ancestral search. Find print, electronic, and database sources to assist you in learning more about your ancestor’s world.

October 12: Jessica McNeely, Technical Services Assistant for Holston River Regional Library:

  • Genealogy for the Next Generation

This workshop will focus on how to set up the next generation of genealogists for success.  She will discuss how thorough and organized record keeping and labeling can help future generations build off your work.

October 19: Charlotte Dade, Daughters of the American Revolution Genealogy Consultant:

  • Documenting Your Ancestors

This workshop will include examples of documents you can use when researching your ancestors, what is included on each, how to use this information, and where they can be found.

October 26: Trent Hanner, Senior Reference Librarian for the Tennessee State Library and Archives will present two 1-hour sessions:

  • Research at the Tennessee State Library and Archives

In this program, we will discuss the history and genealogical significance of Tennessee’s official repository of history. Come learn about this vital institution’s heritage, resources, and services.

  • Online Genealogy with a Tennessee Focus

Genealogical websites abound on the internet, but which ones have the information you actually need? This workshop will explain the partnerships that the TSLA has established with websites like Ancestry and FamilySearch, and how these connections benefit your genealogical research.

Visit or call the reference desk at 423-224-2539 for workshop details.

Fall Colors Showing At Bays Mountain

Bays Mountain Park’s vibrant colors are on the way. The predicted peak time to view the fall colors is a little bit earlier this year, from Oct. 10 through Oct. 20.

Park visitors have many ways to view the leaves this fall, from barge rides to hiking and biking. Barge rides run daily Monday through Friday at 3 p.m. and on the weekends at 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

“There are 110 tree species at Bays Mountain,” said Tom Bowman, retired Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium park director. “The differing pigment levels and combinations of all of these species produces the array of fall coloration we enjoy in our area.”

In addition to the regular barge rides, Bays Mountain will also be having a night barge ride on October 14 at 7:30 p.m. and a twilight barge ride on October 25 at 6:30 p.m. Reservations for barge rides can be made by calling the park.

Starting November 1, the park will move to winter hours. During winter hours the park grounds are open Monday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Nature Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information on Bays Mountain, or to reserve a spot on the barge ride, please visit or call 423-229-9447.

Bays Mountain Park in fall

Photo Credit: Rick Currie

Rise Together Kingsport

Creating a sculpture celebrating the combined hopes and dreams that are the community of Kingsport, Rise Together Kingsport is a project by the City of Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts, the Tennessee Arts Commission and artist Charlie Brouwer.

The project provides an opportunity for anyone in the community to participate in creating a sculpture signifying the combined hopes and dreams that depend on, build upon and support each other in Kingsport.

“I borrowed a ladder from a neighbor many years ago,” said Brouwer. “I needed it to get things done around my house. From borrowing that ladder, a relationship was built.”

Individuals, families, organizations, schools, churches, and businesses are invited to lend ladders to be connected together in a monumental sculpture towering in front of the Renaissance Center and spilling across its lawn to Center Street.

The ladders can be real extension and stepladders, or any form or size of ladder – including handmade ladders from any material. The ladders can be as creative or expressive, or as plain as the owners want them to be. All ladders will be registered and tagged, and lenders will be recognized on the list of lenders posted on the Rise Together Kingsport website and on a sign at the sculpture. The owner of a ladder may even choose to have the name of the lender be someone they wish to honor, or remember.

The Office of Cultural Arts is accepting ladders now until October 14th. Ladders can be dropped off at the Renaissance Center during designated times or can be picked up if you do not have a way of transporting the ladder. The drop-off times are September 30th and October 7th from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., October 1st and October 8th from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., October 6th from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., October 9th to 13th from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and October 14th from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The temporary sculpture will be completed on October 14th and will remain on exhibit until November 13th when it will be dismantled and all ladders returned to their owners. For those who do not want their ladder back, they will be donated to Holston Habitat for Humanity.

The artist, Charlie Brouwer has led similar projects in 13 other U.S. communities from Allentown, PA to St. Louis, MO – for information and a video, visit

For more information on Rise Together Kingsport or lending a ladder, visit To arrange for your ladder to be picked up, please call 423-392-8414.

rise together flyer


Dobyns Day Celebration

As our city finishes her 100th birthday, it is significant to look back to 1917 when our first Kingsport mayor, Mayor J.W. Dobyns, was appointed.

On Saturday, please join us at the Kingsport Chamber in the Tennessee Room at 10:30 a.m. for the Dobyns Family video debut, along with a special Q&A with members of the Dobyns family. Vince Staten from the Kingsport Times News will also be in attendance, sharing stories of the family.

After the video event, attendees are invited to lunch to continue discussion and fellowship at Macado’s, a local downtown Kingsport restaurant.

In 1917, Tennessee Governor Tom Rye appointed James Wiley Dobyns as Kingsport’s first mayor. Dobyns, a successful Virginia farmer, had moved to Kingsport in 1906 to manage the newly established Kingsport Farms, which surrounded the current Rotherwood mansion.

When his two-year appointment as Kingsport’s first mayor ended, he was elected for three more consecutive terms. Under the new mayor’s leadership, Kingsport became the well-planned model city initially proposed by financiers John B. Dennis and J. Fred Johnson.

 Always enterprising and hard-working, Mayor Dobyns became president of the Kingsport Building and Loan Association, the manager of Kingsport Stores, and the first president of the Dobyns – Taylor Hardware Incorporated. During his last term as mayor, shortly before his death in 1923, he was elected director and vice president of the Organization of Kingsport Tobacco Market, Incorporated.

Today, the Dobyns name is woven throughout Kingsport’s first 100 years. The family’s legacy of tireless dedication to their fledgling community is the source and embodiment of what we know today as the ‘Kingsport Spirit.’

Humanae: Work in Progress

On October 5, Kingsport will celebrate the mural installation of Humanae, a collection of portrait photos revealing the true beauty of human color. In partnership with the Downtown Kingsport Association and Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts, downtown Kingsport is the next location for this international project exhibit.

Humanae is an internationally acclaimed project by artist Angelica Dass, a Brazilian artist living and working in Madrid. As a young elementary student Angelica was baffled by the words used to describe skin tones. Through the Humanae project she has documented and labeled an on-going array of human color through the Pantone system. The project has been showcased in numerous exhibitions and talks around the world. Through the 2016 TED Global in Vancouver, her issues and philosophies of the project have reached a global audience.

“The Humanae mural is more than a public art piece. It is an opportunity to unify and celebrate the people of Kingsport around the idea that there is beauty in our differences.” – Bonnie Macdonald, director of Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts.

The celebration will take place on the corner of Market and Broad Streets in Downtown Kingsport. After a short ceremony at 4:30 p.m., the public can enjoy cake pops, art projects and selfies with the mural installation. The mural will be displayed on the side of the State Theater along Market Street, and will remain on exhibit through January 1, 2018. A photo installation will also be displayed in the Atrium Gallery on the second floor of the Renaissance Arts Center.

Inspired by the Humanae project local physician and avid computer programmer, Dr. Wes Eastridge has also programed a color selection exercise and is providing a lesson book of color experiments and science through his website MinhaCor Name Your Color, allows the user to manipulate color, hue and saturation to match their own unique skin color and create a name for their specific color. You can see MinhaCor in action at Art in the Heart Gallery on Broad Street.

Humanae Exhibit sponsors include Eastman, Downtown Kingsport Association, Tennessee Arts Commission, City of Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts, Engage Kingsport, Friends of Humanae.

For more information on Humanae project, visit or

HUMANAE event poster

Update: Eastman

Kingsport Site Update: 4:15 p.m

Eastman has removed the precautionary shelter in place advisory for most personnel at its Kingsport site. We’ve also removed the precautionary shelter in place for the surrounding community within a half-mile radius. Eastman’s near neighbors can resume all normal activities. We appreciate the cooperation from all our neighbors and community during this time. In an event like this, we take every precaution to ensure the safety of our employees and our site neighbors.

Update: 1:24 pm

KCS Update

Kingsport City Schools is returning to normal operations.  Afternoon dismissal procedures and after-school activities will take place as normal.

Update: 1:05 pm

Eastman has removed the precautionary shelter in place advisory Wednesday for its corporate campus and surrounding community, except for those within a one-half-mile radius of the intersection of John B. Dennis and Moreland Drive in Kingsport, and personnel inside the Kingsport plant perimeter.

The shelter in place advisory was issued in an abundance of caution in response to a process upset in the coal gasification area of its Kingsport manufacturing site.

No injuries have been reported. The incident was reported to the proper regulatory authorities.

We expect to have an assessment by 3 p.m. ET whether the localized shelter in place advisory will be lifted.

Eastman will continue to share additional details as they become available.



Eastman Statement

Around 10:00 a.m. ET, we experienced a process upset in the coal gasification area of our Kingsport manufacturing site.
The upset created a loud noise and a visible plume.
No one was injured.
In an excess of caution, our employees are currently sheltered in place as we are working to secure the area.
Until more information is known, near neighbors are advised to do the same.
That means to stay indoors, turn off your HVAC system. More information will be updated on, the Eastman Care line 423-229-CARE and local media.
We have reported the incident to the proper regulatory authorities.

Kingsport City Schools Statement

Purely as a precaution at the recommendation of local authorities, Kingsport City Schools has moved to a shelter-in-place status as an apparent situation at Eastman is investigated. KCS is in communication with Eastman and the Kingsport Police Department and will continue to update as more information is received. Normal school operations will continue as students remain inside during this time. We will continue to communicate with Eastman and KPD and provide updates as they become available.

Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium to be host site for National Public Lands Day

On Saturday, September 30, volunteers at Bays Mountain will join hundreds of thousands of fellow Americans at public land sites across the country to give back to the lands where we play, learn, exercise and relax in celebration of the 23rd annual National Public Lands Day (NPLD) – the nation’s largest, single-day volunteer effort for public lands.

NPLD, coordinated each year by the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) with support from national sponsor Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc., brings together volunteers from across the country to improve and restore the lands and facilities that Americans use and enjoy every day. Each year, NPLD volunteers provide tens of millions of dollars’ worth of services in one day that would otherwise take limited park staff months to accomplish.

Volunteers at Bays Mountain will get their hands dirty from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., removing brush or improving the parking lot area.  Volunteers will meet at the Herpetarium to begin their day.

“Your work will help ensure that Bays Mountain Park and Planetarium continues to be a beautiful place for all to enjoy,” said Megan Krager senior naturalist at Bays Mountain Park.

Pre-reservations are required by signing up at the Nature Center or calling (423) 229-9447. For more information please call Megan Krager at (423) 229-9490.

national public lands day

Kingsport Aquatic Center Outdoor Water Park Closing for the Season

The Kingsport Aquatic Center Outdoor Water Park closes September 30.

The indoor Olympic pool and three heated pools are open year round and are open to all swimmers. The indoor pool hours are Monday through Friday, 5:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6:00 p.m. Open swim begins at 11 a.m., Monday through Saturday and at noon on Sundays.

Admission fees have changed for the fall, winter and spring seasons.

  • 48” & taller: $8
  • Under 48”: $6
  • Senior (55+): $6
  • 2 & younger: FREE

Half-price admission will be offered after 7 p.m. Monday-Friday and after 4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.

The Outdoor Water Park will reopen in May of 2018.

For more information, please visit or call 423-343-9758.


Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 (AEP5) national impact study completed in the Great Kingsport Area provides evidence that the nonprofit arts and culture sector is a significant industry in the Greater Kingsport area—one that generates $29.5 million in total economic activity. This spending—$9.6 million by nonprofit arts and cultural organizations and an additional $19.9 million in event-related spending by their audiences—was reported by 25 local organizations.

The City of Kingsport Arts & Culture Office led local efforts. They collected 845 surveys from audiences attending events at the 25 participating local nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, and coordinated financial and program data collection from the organizations.

“The AEP5 study confirmed what we have known for a long time. The arts are a driving force in Kingsport’s economy.” – Bonnie Macdonald director of Kingsport’s office of cultural arts.

The study reported that there were 685,512 nonprofit arts and culture attendees in the Greater Kingsport area in 2015, 57% of who were residents. Of the nonresident survey respondents, 85% indicated that the primary purpose of their visit to the Greater Kingsport area was “specifically to attend this arts/cultural event.” Nonresident attendees spent an average of 41% more per person than local attendees ($34.85 vs. $24.81) as a result of their attendance to cultural events.

The study shows that arts and culture help retain local dollars: 54% of local resident attendees said they would have “traveled to a different community to attend a similar cultural event” if the event was not taking place locally.

The statewide report shows that Tennessee’s nonprofit arts and culture industry generates $1.17 billion in annual economic activity—supporting 38,482 full-time equivalent jobs, and generating $837.8 million in household income and delivering $135.9 million in local and state government revenues.

The Tennessee Arts Commission worked with 25 local partners and nine development districts to produce a statewide report and customized city, county and regional reports. Data was collected from 642 participating nonprofit organizations across the state and included 14,915 audience participation surveys. The study does not include numbers from individual artists or for-profit arts, music and culture businesses.

“This study demonstrates that nonprofit arts and culture is a significant industry in Tennessee and the Greater Kingsport area—supporting jobs, generating local and state revenue, and driving tourism,” said Anne B. Pope, Executive Director of the Tennessee Arts Commission.

The reception and presentation for the study will be held on Tuesday, October 3 at Kingsport City Hall. The reception begins at 5:30 p.m. and will recognize the organizations that partnered with Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts for the Arts & Economic Prosperity study. The event is open to the public.

For more information on the Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 study, visit

arts reception invitation