Photo courtesy of Bristol Motor Speedway
Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway will be transformed into a four-plus mile winter wonderland Nov. 15 as Ford Speedway in Lights powered by TVA kicks off its 17th season, featuring a new Battle at Bristol Fan Zone and light display.
Filled with more than 200 dazzling exhibits, the largest holiday light show in the south and one of the biggest in the country has become a must-see tradition that continues to grow in popularity, setting a weekend attendance record of 20,000 visitors last year.
During its seven-week run, the holiday display along with its companion events — the Johnson Controls Ice Rink and HVAC Chill Hill — offer guests an evening of enchantment and allows them to give back, as proceeds benefit the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities.
The 2013-2014 route of twinkling lights features returning favorites such as the Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies display located under the Speedway’s front stretch grandstands and the Subway Symphony of Lights, a synchronized light exhibit covering the Darrell Waltrip grandstand and featuring more than 300,000 LED lights blinking in time with the music.
The Subway Symphony of Lights also features a large Christmas tree, along with dazzling snowflakes that dance in harmony on a large, ever-changing background.
Light-covered arches, reflecting brilliant colors on more than three acres of aluminum grandstand seating, set the stage for a magnificent scene.
Along with these returning favorites, this year’s tour gives fans of the gridiron a Battle at Bristol preview. It features a lighted, football-themed display set atop the Goodyear building in Turns 1 and 2 of the BMS and a small-scale replica of the field, complete with Virginia Tech and Tennessee end zones, positioned on the front stretch of pit road.
Those stopping at the Speedway in Lights Christmas Village not only have the opportunity to visit Santa Claus, take a spin on various carnival rides and toast marshmallows over a fire, but may also take in the Battle at Bristol Fan Zone and, on some nights, be able to test their skills at various interactive football activities.
Guests must enter the sparkling holiday display route at the Bristol Dragway entrance, just off Highway 394.
Ford Speedway In Lights remains open through Jan. 4, 2014.
Tickets for the show, open nightly from 6 to 10 p.m., are available at Bristol Dragway Tower ticket booths.
Prices for cars are $12, Sunday through Thursday, and $15 on Friday and Saturday. Activity van tickets are $20 each night; tickets for buses are $85 each night.
For those families looking to put a different twist on their holiday traditions, Santa’s Speedway Sleigh returns to this year’s Ford Speedway in Lights, providing a unique perspective as passengers ride along the four-mile route in a decorated open-air tram.
A tour guide is available during their trek to answer questions and provide information about Ford Speedway in Lights, Speedway Children’s Charities and Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway. Towed by a Ford truck, the sleighs can accommodate up to 30 passengers per trip.
Visitors embarking on the journey can have their pictures taken as a special keepsake, compliments of Walgreens, and also receive a coupon for a bag of marshmallows to roast over the fire pits during the ride’s 30-minute stop in Christmas Village.
Santa’s Speedway Sleigh leaves from a boarding station located near HVAC Chill Hill every Wednesday and Thursday evening at 6 and 8 p.m.
Tickets, available at the station, are $8 per person. Groups can reserve the entire sleigh but are asked to call in advance. Parking is located at the north entrance of BMS.
Both the Johnson Controls Ice Rink and HVAC Chill Hill open Thursday, Nov. 14.
The only rink within a 90-minute driving radius, the Johnson Controls Ice Rink is one of the Speedway’s most popular non-motorsports related events and attracts thousands of visitors each year. Located just inside the north entrance of Bristol Motor Speedway, off Volunteer Parkway, it is $5 for skaters to take to the ice. There is an additional $2 charge for skate rental.
Situated just outside Turn 1 of BMS, the HVAC Chill Hill is a 300-foot long snowless slide that riders rocket down on inflated tubes.
Chill Hill is located adjacent to the Johnson Controls Ice Rink. The cost is $7 per person for a 50-minute session. Anyone wishing to take part in the tube slide must be at least 48 inches tall to ride alone. Children also can ride with someone 16 or older if they are at least 36 inches tall for an additional $3 cost for the pair.
Both the Ice Rink and Chill Hill are open through Jan. 12, 2014, closing each Monday for maintenance. The schedule for the HVAC Chill Hill may be adjusted due to the weather so calling in advance for information and to make reservations, which is recommended.
Proceeds from Ford Speedway in Lights, Johnson Controls Ice Rink, HVAC Chill Hill and Santa’s Speedway Sleigh benefit the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising funds for children’s agencies in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. The Bristol Chapter of SCC has raised more than $7 million since 1997.
For more information on Ford Speedway in Lights, Johnson Controls Ice Rink or HVAC Chill Hill, call (855) 580-5525.