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Speedway in Lights opens Friday for 21st charitable season

Sue Guinn Legg • Updated Nov 15, 2017 at 8:14 PM

Bristol Motor Speedway will open its 21st annual Speedway in Lights holiday display for Speedway Children’s Charities Friday, Nov. 17.

The charitable attraction brings an estimated 200,000 guests to Bristol annually and features more than two million Christmas lights strung along a five-mile route around speedway property, through its oval track arena and up and down its Thunder Valley dragway.

New to the display this year is a “Race to Space” galaxy-themed tunnel designed to give visitors an out-of-this-world experience.

Old favorites back at the attraction include the country carnival-themed Christmas Village on the arena infield with midway rides and concessions, arts and crafts exhibits, a petting zoo, fire pit marshmallow roasting, Christmas carolers and photo-op appearances by Santa Claus.

The popular covered Ice Rink at BMS also will be back for its 13th holiday season.

Set to run through through Jan. 6, this weekend’s Speedway in Lights opening also kicks off what is indeed the most magical time of the year for the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities, which last year passed along more than $1 million in fundraising proceeds to 90 nonprofit children’s service agencies in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

This year’s Speedway Children’s Charities grant awards will be announced this evening at the race track in a preview of Friday night’s light show opening.

A new fundraising event, Tastings, Bites and Twinkling Lights, will be held Sunday evening, starting at 5:30 high atop the race track in skyboxes overlooking the holiday light display.

The event will feature beverages and specialities from some of the region’s best restaurants, wineries and breweries.

The featured servers include Martha Washington Inn, The Virginian, Johnson City Catering Group, Abingdon Olive Oil, Tupelo Honey Café, Whiskey Rebellion, Wolf Hills, Sleepy Owl Brewery, Yee-Haw Brewery and more. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at http://bit.ly/SCCTBTL.

Admission to the light show is $15 per car Sunday through Thursday and $20 on Fridays and Saturdays. A $45 fast pass option shortens the wait time to enter the display and adds a little more to the fundraising for the agencies.

Other fun options include the The BMS Express bus ride through the light display for tour groups and Santa's Speedway Sleigh, an open-air tram with blankets and a tour guide. Both are available on select evenings by reservations that may be made by calling 423-989-6900.

For more information, visit www.speedwayinlights.org.

If there is a need or a project in your neighborhood the Good Neighbor column can assist with, contact Sue Guinn Legg at 423-722-0538 or P.O. Box 1717, Johnson City, TN 37605.

Email Sue Guinn Legg at slegg@johnsoncitypress.com. Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.

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