If this year’s fall leaf peak prediction map is correct, this weekend is slated to offer fall colors throughout our region. According to Smokymountains.com, the peak week for fall colors in Sullivan County starts Oct. 4 and will end by Oct. 11, meaning we should see colors of bright yellow, red and orange in our trees. Below are a few notes that came across my desk this week as well as a few events throughout Kingsport to help celebrate the season:
• Uptown Family Bakery will celebrate its ribbon cutting on Tuesday at 4 p.m. The bakery is located at 129 E. New St. in Kingsport.
• Downtown Kingsport will host its October Shop and Hop on Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. Drinks, treats and various specials will be available.
• Fall Fest on Sullivan will be held in downtown Kingsport on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will offer over 50 local businesses. Food trucks, music, art demos and more will be featured at the event hosted by the Downtown Plant Bar.
• ABB’s Rogersville Plant is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The plant manufactures Dodge mounted ball bearings as well as plain and spherical bearings. ABB in Rogersville has received awards and accolades through the years such as the Commissioner’s Award for Safety Excellence from the Tennessee Labor & Workforce along with the Governor’s Award. The plant first opened in 1971 as a ball bearings plant and is located at 100 Baldor Drive in Rogersville.
• The Kingsport Wine & Whiskey Festival will return to downtown Kingsport on Saturday, Oct. 16, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Kingsport Farmers Market. Proceeds from this event support the Downtown Kingsport Association. To purchase tickets, go to www.downtownkingsport.org.
Notes from the field
If you grew up in Kingsport, you probably remember Wallace News Stand in the downtown area. I remember perusing the newspapers and magazines in the old newsstand that faced the sidewalk. My favorite part was, of course, the Mountain Dew slushy.
The old machine now lives at the Sports Mill, and the newsstand is closed, but I was pleased to talk to the new owners of the building, Anthony and Jamie Williams, and tour the building that is currently being renovated.
As you might have read in my article that came out on Sunday, the couple plans to transform the upstairs portion of the building into a loft. The downstairs will become a storefront available for rent.
Jamie and Anthony’s willingness to take a chance on the building is worth noting. It seems they see enough potential in the building to do heavy renovations, taking out counters, walls and layers and layers of flooring.
As Jamie Williams puts it, the space where the newsstand once was is going to be a clean slate. But of course, that history will never be erased. The storefront will include a new garage door at the front and that old brick silhouette dating over 100 years will remain, just with a new business in the newsstand’s place.
It’s the perfect metaphor for downtown: There’s history. There are old buildings and memories of decades past, but there is room for the new. There are so many buildings with character, like the Wallace News Building, as the Williamses now call it. That history shouldn’t be lost. It needs to be maintained and honored. You can’t move forward without recognizing where you’ve been. But you also can’t move forward without looking ahead.
The couple make a point to speak on their belief that projects like the Wallace News Building are doable. Anthony Williams explained that it’s not an exclusive thing to buy a building and revitalize it (and they’re willing to share their knowledge). Yes, it certainly takes money — no doubt about it. But it also takes a vision, hard work and, maybe more than those aspects, a belief in Kingsport and its community. We need more people like Jamie and Anthony to help make Kingsport a true destination in the Tri-Cities and beyond, whether it’s on a big or small scale.
Maybe that same belief is what brought people downtown in the first place, to find a central meeting place in the heart of the city. My guess is they came for the love of Kingsport and the camaraderie — but maybe they stayed for the Mountain Dew slushies.
Have a note or a business anniversary (ending in a five or zero) you’d like to send me? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and you might just read it in an upcoming edition of this column.
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