The annual Night of Smiles gave attendees more than one million reasons to beam, following the completion of a milestone mission for the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities.
Officials of the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities (SCC) announced last week it had exceeded its 2016 goal of raising more than $1 million – the first time in the chapter’s 20-year history. The funds will be distributed to nearly 100 rural area child-focused agencies, far surpassing the previous record of $805,900, set in 2015. The final total for the year registered at $1,002,380.
“Reaching the $1 million benchmark is a fitting capstone for Bristol Motor Speedway’s biggest year ever,” said Claudia Byrd, executive director of the Bristol Chapter of SCC. “Of course the demand for assistance will always outstrip our ability to help, but we are thoroughly delighted that we will be able to assist additional agencies with their child-focused needs this year.”
“The wonderful spirit of giving is alive and well in our region as demonstrated by this record-breaking achievement,” Byrd continued, “and on behalf of all the hundreds of volunteers, trustees and staff members that it takes to coordinate and produce Speedway Children’s Charities events throughout the year, we offer a huge thank you.”
The event gathered multiple agencies to receive grants, including: Abuse Alternatives, Appalachia Service Project, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of East Tennessee, CASA of Northeast Tennessee, Coalition for Kids, Holston United Methodist Home for Children, Niswonger Children’s Hospital, Small Miracles Therapeutic Equestrian Center, TASK: Taking Action for Special Kids, and Washington County Friends of Santa.
The 2016 Jeff Byrd Grant was also awarded to Coalition for Kids, a Johnson City-based non-profit organization dedicated to helping children in need. Presented in honor of the late general manager of Bristol Motor Speedway, the $50,000 award will fund an in-house high quality stem lab, named “The Jeff Byrd STEM Lab,” that can foster like based projects and activities.
Holiday cheer returns to BMS with The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights
Now open, the lights at Bristol Motor Speedway will shine bigger and brighter with holiday color as The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights opens for its 20th season, the fitting finale to Bristol’s biggest year in history.
What started as a simple, mile-and-a-half route to help raise money for the Bristol chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities has grown into one of the largest holiday spectacles in the country with two million lights on a near five mile route utilizing all corners of the Speedway property including the quarter-mile strip at Bristol Dragway and the oval of The Last Great Colosseum.
The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights will run through Saturday, Jan. 7. The event costs $12 for cars from Sunday through Thursday and $15 on Friday and Saturday nights. On select, busy nights, BMS offers the Jingle Bell Lane Presented by CenturyLink option. For $40, guests can take advantage of this “fast pass” option that makes for a shorter wait time to enter the attraction. The Speedway also offers “The BMS Express”, which transforms a local school bus into the Polar Express, and “Santa’s Speedway Sleigh” an open-air tram ride decked with cozy blankets and a BMS staff member as a tram host and tour guide. The two are available on select evenings.
The ever popular Ice Rink at Bristol Motor Speedway presented by HVAC will also return for its 12th season in 2016. The covered structure is the only ice skating rink within a 90 minute driving radius of the Speedway and has become a go-to favorite for both families and large community/church groups. The ice rink, which is perfect for both beginners or seasoned skating pros, draws more than 25,000 skaters per year. The rink is open through Sunday, Jan. 15.