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Good times from FunFest last longer than a week

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Posted: Thursday, July 12, 2012 9:11 am | Updated: 10:07 am, Fri Dec 21, 2012.

From a parade, fireworks and outdoor concerts to hiking and a cardboard-boat race, you'll have fun for sure in Kingsport this summer.

FunFest starts with Mardi Gras, held on July 13, at the Glen Bruce Park's Hometown IGA Stage, 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., in Kingsport.

Next comes the Friday night parade on July 13, 6:30 p.m., in the downtown district, starting at Clinchfield and West Center Street.

After that, the festival runs for more than a week with evening concerts by Jeremy Camp (July 19); Travis Tritt (July 20); and Lynyrd Skynyrd (July 21).

All the while, look for a bird walk at Bays Mountain Park on July 14, 8 a.m; a family-tree program at the Kingsport Public Library on July 14, 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.; and an open house at the Allandale Mansion on July 15, 1to 5 p.m.

You can also find restaurants from all over selling samples of their tasty treats at the Taste of the Tri-Cities, held at Memorial Park near Dobyns-Bennett High School. That runs July 18-21, 4 to 9 p.m.

"We'll do it the final four nights of Fun Fest when we have activities on Fort Henry Drive," Fleming said. "We have a lot of local restaurants that participate. You can have a hamburger from this one and chocolate fudge cake from this one."

Various businesses in Kingsport and the Tri-Cities sponsor events like July 21's Hot Air Balloon Rally, held at Indian Highland Park on Fort Henry Drive at 6:30 p.m.

"Each event is pretty much organized by a different party," said Lucy Fleming, the director of FunFest. "We cover a broad base of interests."

The Crazy Cardboard Boat Race on July 14, 9 a.m. to noon, at the Legion Pool, promises to be fun for both participants and spectators, Fleming said.

"This is the third year doing it," Fleming said. "You get a cardboard box ... and some duct tape and some glue." 

Then you fortify your boat, coating it with paint — and set sail in the pool. "It's a lot of fun to make it," Fleming said. "And you have Dad and the kid in the boat." 

You can also find a wine tasting with a Titanic theme, where people show up wearing life jackets — or fancy clothes — on July 18 at MeadowView Marriott. Tickets are $50 for this dinner event, which runs 7 to 9 p.m.

Finally, after the final notes of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Free Bird" fades, watch for fireworks at 10 p.m. on July 21 at the center of town.

The fireworks, Fleming added, are among the most popular FunFest events.

"We try to keep some things familiar that people can count on every year," Fleming said, "and we try to put in some new stuff every year." | (276) 791-0704

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