BRISTOL, Tenn. — Speedway in Lights has grown every year for the past 22 years to now feature more than 2 million individual light bulbs, but in 2018 the number of bulbs will be increasing by only one.
That's the one light bulb in the digital projector that will be playing the Speedway in Lights’ new "Elf Vision" display.
As opposed to the event’s 250 displays comprised of 2 million light bulbs, Elf Vision is a series of short, festive animation films projected onto white screens shaped like a Christmas tree and a Christmas present.
Elf Vision was unveiled following a press conference Monday evening at Bristol Motor Speedway to kick off the Speedway in Lights season, which officially opens Friday and continues until Jan. 5.
All proceeds from Speedway in Lights benefits the Bristol chapter of Speedway Children's Charities (SCC), which has distributed more than $13 million to regional children’s agencies since 1997.
Aside from introducing Elf Vision, Monday's event was also an opportunity for Bristol SCC Executive Director Claudia Byrd to introduce The Pinnacle as this year's sponsor for the seven-week event.
"What first started as a small little drive-through mile-and-a-half event is now over five miles," Byrd said during a press conference held at the Bruton Smith Building. "We love it when families come out and go to Speedway in Lights and help make a difference in the lives of thousands of children in Northeast Tennessee and Southeast Virginia. This is our biggest fundraising event, and the money we raise stays right here in our community."
Byrd added, "The Pinnacle has been an amazing partner, and we are so blessed at what they have done for us, the support they have given us, and have been a true partner in every sense of the word."
The Pinnacle President Steve Johnson said that when presented with the opportunity to partner with Bristol SCC, he and his organization jumped at it, mainly because they share Byrd's passion and energy for helping children in need.
"My hope is that both of our successors one day are standing here in the future one day having a similar announcement, announcing our continued commitment to one another," Johnson said.
Speedway in Lights by the numbers
More than 200,000 guests from around the world will tour the light display this year which is a five-mile tour around the BMS and Dragway properties and comprised of about 2 million lights and 250 displays.
It takes BMS employees and volunteers approximately eight weeks to set up The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights. Most light displays feature energy-efficient, LED lighting. More than 150 miles of wiring are used, which could stretch from Bristol Motor Speedway past Pigeon Forge.
After completing the light tour, guests can visit Christmas Village presented by Eastman Credit Union in the Speedway infield to tour Santa’s workshop, enjoy Christmas carolers, check out a petting zoo, hop on some great carnival rides and take photos with your favorite characters.
Take to the high banks
Visitors to Speedway in Lights have the opportunity to drive their personal vehicles alongside the famed Bristol Dragway and on the historic all-concrete half-mile oval of Bristol Motor Speedway to experience firsthand that steep banking.
How much does it cost?
The Pinnacle Speedway in Lights costs $15 per car Sundays-Thursdays and $20 per car on Friday and Saturday nights. On busy nights, visitors can take advantage of Jingle Bell Lane, which provides a shorter wait time for entry for $45.