• Fun Fest 2018 runs July 13-21.
• The first Fun Fest ran Aug. 8-15, 1981.
• That makes this the festival’s 38th run.
• This year’s nine days of Fun Fest include more than 100 events at more than 60 locations.
• Each year there’s a different color scheme, signature T-shirt design, poster and other promotional and commemorative items.
• Since Fun Fest’s first year, more than 500,000 of those T-shirts have been sold.
• Over the years, more than 325 musical artists and groups have entertained Fun Fest crowds. This year’s lineup includes Casting Crowns, Passion Music, Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo, and The Avett Brothers.
• Fun Fest’s roots can be traced to the fall of 1980, “when Kingsport Chamber staff and board members conducted their annual weekend retreat to discuss matters of paramount importance. At this time, the staff and board found numerous situations that tended to divide the community — ranging from political issues (such as annexation, liquor by the drink, etc.) to extreme and unhealthy rivalries among local high schools. Noting these concerns, the group sought to create a program that would build a more positive attitude about the Kingsport community and a more friendly nature among its residents.”
• In 1981, founders stated an original theme of “Community Unity” and Fun Fest’s sole objective was described as “to promote unity, harmony, fellowship and cooperation among people in the greater Kingsport Area. ... if tourist attraction and/or economic development benefits accrue, this is desirable; however, promotion of Fun Fest should not be conducted with those objectives primarily in mind.”