Ask an Astronomer: Q&A About Upcoming Eclipse

Get answers about the upcoming solar eclipse on August 21!

Adam Thanz, planetarium director at Bays Mountain Park, has the answers to all of your eclipse questions!

  1. What is an eclipse and what happens during an eclipse?

The moon will travel on its normal orbital path about the Earth as it always does but it will slip into a very narrow corridor in which it will perfectly align, and go between, the Earth and sun. The result, a total solar eclipse. If you are able to place yourself within that narrow path, then you can experience up to 2 minutes and 40 seconds of totality. The sun will be fully blocked by the moon allowing the much fainter corona of the sun to be seen along with the sky darkening to a deep, magical twilight and brighter stars and planets revealing themselves. The temperature will drop, and the wind will pick up. It will be an alignment of celestial proportions.

  1. How do I safely view an eclipse?

A priority of any eclipse is safety. It’s not the eclipse that is dangerous, it’s looking at the sun. There are two main ways to see the eclipse safely. One is by using solar glasses that are designed to cut the sun’s brightness by 100,000 times. Solar eclipse glasses are available for purchase online.

The other safe method is to project the image of the sun. You can use a pinhole to project inside a box, or use a kitchen colander to do the same thing.

  1. Where can I view the eclipse?

Everyone in the US, along with most of the Western Hemisphere, will be able to see at least a partial eclipse. Anyone within the Tri-Cities will see about 96% of the sun blocked by the moon. The partial eclipse will look the same.

If you want to view the total solar eclipse, then you will need to travel to the path of totality. The best resource is an interactive map – you can find them online.

‘Totality,’ a nationally showing, locally produced planetarium show, is currently showing at Bays Mountain. For more information on the show and the eclipse, please call 423-229-9447, visit or check out the Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium Facebook page!

Eclipse Poster

Calling All Local Photographers

Have you taken great Kingsport pictures?

We need you!

The City of Kingsport is looking for great local photography to use for various publications and on the city website. Photos can be taken anywhere in Kingsport, showcasing city features and locations such as the clock tower, Church Circle, carousel, Bays Mountain, downtown, Kingsport Aquatic Center or even aerial shots of the city!

If you are interested in submitting your photos, please contact Adrienne Batara at or 423-343-9791.

Free Concerts in August!

Allandale Mansion is hosting free concerts in August in honor of Kingsport’s centennial! The concerts start at 7:00 p.m. at the Allandale Amphitheater, and music lovers can get food and beverages starting at 6:00 p.m. Foodie Fiction and Sleepy Owl Brewery are sure to serve up something for everyone. Auntie Ruth’s Donuts will be present for the August 17th concert!


Be One of the First: Grand Opening of Kingsport Centennial Park!

The Centennial Commission invites you to join in the celebration as they host a grand opening for Kingsport Centennial Park. The celebration will open with the national anthem sung by Kingsport’s own Carla Karst with the Dobyns-Bennett Band as accompaniment. The ribbon cutting will be the first official turning-on of the interactive water feature, the park’s core.
Opening day will continue the celebrations after the ribbon cutting, so bring the whole family out for a fun-filled event. Festivities include Cheerwine and MoonPie visiting us as they, too, are 100 this year. Their samples will provide the perfect centennial snack.

Variety acts from the ballet to a church choir to a magician will light up the stage and make you want to stay all day. Showtime is even stopping by for one more appearance. While the festivities are finished at 2:00pm, the park is yours forever!

Along the wall of the pump station, you will find beautifully hand-crafted tiles by students from Lincoln Elementary and Dobyns-Bennett High School. This art project was made possible in part by an ‘Art Builds Community’ Grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission.

“Now that I’m going to be a grandfather, I have even more love for this park,” says city manager Jeff Fleming. “It was built for future generations, and I will bring my grandkids here every year to show them the importance of celebrating history and sharing values with family.”

Kingsport Centennial Park came to fruition through a collaborative effort between the Kingsport Community Foundation and the City of Kingsport Centennial Commission. In celebrating the ‘Kingsport Spirit’, the park provides a unique destination and link to downtown Kingsport that commemorates the community’s past, present and future.

The fundraising effort for this legacy project grew organically in a way that went beyond the chair’s expectations. Brenda White-Wright states, “We all hope for a time that we can be a part of something special. Many thanks to everyone from across our community who gave their time and support to make Centennial Park a truly special landmark for centuries to come.”

Centennial Park is located at 245 E Main Street, across from Main St Pizza. The grand opening park celebration will occur Saturday, August 26 from 11:00am – 2:00pm.

About the City of Kingsport
Founded in 1917, the City of Kingsport (pop. 53,000) is located on the Tennessee-Virginia border at the crossroads of I-81 and I-26 near the geographic center of the eastern U.S. The city is widely known as a planned community, designed by renowned city planner John Nolen and wrapping around the foot of Bays Mountain – a 3,500 acre park, nature preserve, planetarium and observatory. Kingsport is recognized as an International Safe Community by the National Safety Council, a Healthier Tennessee community, and won the 2009 Harvard Innovations in American Government Award for its higher education initiatives. While many city names are duplicated throughout the U.S., there’s only one Kingsport – a fact that invokes community pride, known locally as the “Kingsport Spirit.”

About the Kingsport Community Foundation
The Kingsport Community Foundation is a philanthropic organization governed by a local board of directors. Their mission is to help donors maximize their contributions to the community by awarding grands that enrich lives and strengthen the Greater Kingsport Community forever. The Kingsport Community Foundation is an affiliate fund of the East Tennessee Foundation.

About the Tennessee Arts Commission
The Tennessee Arts Commission invests in more than 700 nonprofit organization across the state benefiting communities through quality of life, economic development, tourism and providing a more balances education for our children.

Park Opening Poster

You’re Invited!

Greenbelt Ribbon Cutting & Dedication

With the completion of the newest section of the Greenbelt near the Rotherwood area, Kingsport is hosting a Greenbelt ribbon cutting and dedication on July 28th at 9:30 a.m.

The ribbon cutting is open to the public. For more information, please contact Adrienne Batara at 423-343-9791.

Greenbelt Invite_July28

What’s Your Favorite Color in Downtown?

In case you don’t know, here’s what you need to know.

Downtown Kingsport is the place to be. Just released is a brand new directory that highlights all the unique places in downtown. When you need a trendy, creative, urban place to go, this new directory boasts a fun-filled day or night in downtown Kingsport.

Downtown Kingsport identified four districts:downtown pocket book cover

Church Circle
The Nolen Plan
Innovation Corridor
Warehouse District

Check out these categories to best capture what you’re looking for:

Art & Photography
Gifts & Collectibles
Entertainment Venues
Restaurants & Spirits
Health & Beauty

Next time you’re in downtown, pick up one of these to learn about the new stores and happenings. You can also find a digital map online at

we love when downtown poster

Goal Accomplished: She Rode All 32 Carousel Animals!

Lindsey Halker is a frequent visitor at the Kingsport Carousel. She obsessed about riding each carousel animal until she had eventually ridden every single one!  Once she completed riding them all, she bought her ‘I Rode ‘Em All’ t-shirt from the carousel gift shop.

The Kingsport Carousel is a volunteer-led project completed in 2015. Over 300 volunteers worked over 5 years to hand-carve and hand-paint platform and sweep animals for the working 1956 vintage Herschell carousel. Since opening in July 2015 the Carousel has hosted over 160,000 riders. The Carousel is open to the public year-round and summer hours are 11:00 to 7:00 Wednesday through Friday and 1:00 to 7:00 on Saturday and Sunday. All rides are $1. Birthday and private parties start at $100 and can be booked by calling 423-392-8418.

For more information, please visit or call 423-392-8418.

Lindsey Halker with Beaufort, a carousel animal sponsored by Cherry Point Animal Hospital.

Lindsey Halker at carousel

Creed’s Watch: The City Garbage Truck

A follow up story to Highlighting Heroes Rodney Dye

Ever since he was healthy enough to be outside, Creed has had a fascination with his city’s garbage truck and driver, Rodney Dye. Every week, Rodney comes by his house and it’s a dream come true for the young survivor.

Rodney is a Kingsport Public Works employee with more than 17 years on the job. Over the years, he’s met some amazing people, but none as incredible as Creed.

Creed has many health issues, including heart problems. He’s had numerous operations and even though he won’t ever live a ‘normal’ life, he has one thing worth watching for – and that’s the weekly appearance of Rodney in his Kingsport garbage truck.

After Rodney noticed Creed every week, he started waving and stopping to visit with the young boy. As luck has it, Rodney and Creed’s grandmother attend the same local church where she was able to tell Rodney just how much it meant to him to stop at Creed’s house.

Rodney took this information to heart. He wanted to enhance Creed’s life the best way he knew how – get Creed in the driver’s seat of a garbage truck. This came true at the Kingsport Public Works Day. Public Works Day is held every year in the city of Kingsport and it’s an opportunity for the public to get up close with all the equipment the department uses, such as street sweepers, snow plows, bucket trucks and yes, garbage trucks.

Creed and his family arrived at the event and Creed instantly wanted Rodney to be the one to push him around in his big kid stroller.

The group made their way around the event, looking at all the machines and equipment, but Creed perked up and pointed to the garbage truck when it came into view. Rodney helped him climb into the driver’s seat. The instant Creed sat down, it was all smiles and laughs and screeches of excitement.

Creed pulled on levers. He pushed all the buttons he could reach. He pressed the petals as many times as he could. He even honked the horn, but only once because it was so loud. His smile fantasizing about having his own garbage truck one day was contagious – everyone around him, family and strangers, could see just how happy this young boy was living his dream.

Rodney eventually helped him out of the truck. Creed was exhausted and his family was ready to take him home.

Every week, Creed gets to watch for Rodney and in turn, Rodney gives this young boy a reason to watch for him.

For Rodney’s original story, please visit here. To learn more about Creed’s incredible journey, please visit Creed’s Mending Heart on Facebook.

Creed&Rodney_Public Works Day

Highlighting Heroes: Kingsport Sign Technician with Special Talents

Tony Dingus

Tony Dingus – Sign Technician for City of Kingsport

Tony has the experience and expertise to take his talents anywhere in the nation, but he chooses to stay in Kingsport.

Throughout Kingsport, Joel, known to most as Tony or “Doc,” has a special role in keeping the city running smoothly. Doc is a Sign Technician in the Traffic Department, and has worked for the city for nearly 30 years. Not only is Doc a dedicated employee, but he also has a hidden musical talent that makes him a true treasure for the city.

Introduced to music at the age of 13, Doc quickly grew and developed his musical talents into what they are today. He started out playing the bass guitar, which eventually evolved into him learning how to play the mandolin and the dobro. By the time he was 16 years old, he was playing the steel guitar.

Although he knows how to play many instruments, his true passion lies in the dobro. The dobro is a wood-bodied acoustic guitar with a metal resonator built into the body. In recent years, Doc’s skill has evolved into teaching students how to play. He teaches classes at East Tennessee State University when he is not working for the city. He’s been presented with many opportunities to work with professional musicians and travel to play his music, but he continues to stay in Kingsport.

“I love the city I work for,” said Doc. “I place a high value on the job I do and the wonderful people I work with.”

Doc’s city job entails striping the roads, helping with traffic patterns during events, and keeping signs throughout the city up-to-date. He has witnessed a lot of change over the course of time he has worked with the City of Kingsport. The equipment he uses every day to paint the roads, for example, has been consistently upgraded and improved. The equipment upgrades for his department have made painting the roads an easy and convenient process, for both motorists and equipment operators alike.  The newer painting equipment also allows the distribution of hot plastic to be used in place of regular paint, preventing the lines from fading and having to be repainted as often.

According to Doc, the biggest change he has seen with the city has been growth. Doc is constantly impressed and loves to think back to what the city used to be like compared to its impressive size today.

“When I first started working here, Lynn Garden wasn’t even a part of Kingsport. The city has just grown so much over the years, and it’s pretty amazing to be a part of that growth.”

Tony is a one-of-a-kind hero for Kingsport. The City of Kingsport is his home, and there is nowhere else he’d rather be.


ShowTime’s ‘Spirit of Kingsport’ Centennial Show

From 1988 – 2010 Kingsport’s ShowTime captivated audiences with high-energy, fun-filled, musical-variety performances. This year, Kingsport’s ShowTime will return to the Toy F Reid Auditorium stage to present special “Spirit of Kingsport” Centennial Performances on July 7, 8 and 9.

The performances will highlight the history of Kingsport through ten decades of song and dance featuring popular music, exciting Broadway hits, time-honored country music favorites, traditional gospel medleys, inspirational contemporary praise hymns, fast-paced rock and roll, and spirited patriotic tunes.

Tickets can be purchased online at, at the Eastman Employee Center Office or at the door 30 minutes before each show.

For more information, please visit or call 423-534-8874.

ShowTime Cast 2017 showtime showtime