It’s the most wonderful time of the year here in Bristol and once again Bristol Motor Speedway will light up with holiday spirit as The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights powered by TVA opens Friday, Nov. 17 for its 21st season, providing a perfect finish to what has been a spectacular year in Bristol.
This year, Speedway in Lights offers visitors a brand new section on the famed route, called “Race to Space.” This exciting new portion of Speedway in Lights will guide guests through a galaxy themed tunnel that has been designed to provide an out of this world experience that takes visitors through space. It is sponsored by Mycroft Signs.
What started 21 years ago as a simple mile-and-a-half route to help raise money for the Bristol chapter of Speedway Childrens Charities has grown into one of the largest holiday spectacles in the country where more than 200,000 guests from around the world arrive on speedway property to take in upwards of 2 million lights spread across a five-mile route, that includes a lap around the World’s Fastest Half-Mile and a trip down the historic quarter-mile strip at Bristol Dragway.
The holiday spectacular also includes a trip to the infield of The Last Great Colosseum for a visit to the Appalachian country-themed Christmas Village presented by Eastman Credit Union. The popular Christmas Village is filled with holiday vendors, family-friendly midway rides (including a merry-go-round, pirate ship, bumper cars and more), Christmas carolers, a petting zoo, arts and crafts, hot chocolate with marshmallows and as always, the kids will get to visit with Santa Claus and several other festive characters who will be roaming the Village from time to time.
Through the route, guests will get to experience more than 250 festive light displays, including fan favorite attractions like the Dueling Dragsters, The Twelve Days of Christmas, Dinosaur Village, Ripley’s Penguin Playhouse, and Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies. While driving around the all-concrete track inside the world famous oval, guests will be entertained by 300,000 lights spread throughout the Darrell Waltrip Grandstand flickering to the beats of a variety of Christmas music in the popular Symphony in Lights presented by Grand Home Furnishings.
The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights will run through Saturday, Jan. 6. The event costs $15 for cars from Sunday through Thursday and $20 on Friday and Saturday nights. For $45, guests can take advantage of Jingle Bell Lane, the “fast pass” option that offers a shorter wait time to enter the attraction.
“It’s one of our favorite times of the year here at Bristol,” said Claudia Byrd, executive director for SCC’s Bristol chapter. “Welcoming back our long-time guests to our 21st annual Pinnacle Speedway in Lights is a great way for all of us to celebrate the holiday. Nothing excites us more than seeing our guests visit all of the displays and spending some time with Santa Claus.”
Two other fun options for enjoying Speedway in Lights are “The BMS Express,” which transforms a school bus into the Polar Express, and “Santa’s Speedway Sleigh” sponsored by Tri-Cities Airport, an open-air tram ride decked with cozy blankets and a BMS staff member as a tram host and tour guide. Each experience is available on select evenings. For reservations, guests should call 423-989-6900.
The very popular Ice Rink at Bristol Motor Speedway presented by HVAC also will return for its 13th season in 2017. The covered structure is very special to many families and large community/church groups. It remains the only ice skating rink within a 90-minute driving radius of the Speedway. Drawing more than 26,000 skaters per year, the ice rink is perfect for beginners or seasoned skating pros.
Adding to the Christmas Festivities this year, BMS will introduce a new event called Tastings, Bites and Twinkling Lights, which will be held on Sunday, Nov. 19 at 5:30 p.m. Set high atop the oval overlooking the holiday lights show, guests will enjoy tastings and bites from several locally highlighted restaurants, wineries and breweries. Some of these favorites include the 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 for the event are $50 and can be purchased at http://bit.ly/SCCTBTL with all proceeds going to Speedway Childrens Charities.
For more information, visit www.speedwayinlights.org. As always, all proceeds for The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights will be used by SCC to give to numerous organizations that serve children in the 18-county area surrounding BMS.