Racks by the Tracks draws huge crowds, avoids rain most of day

J. H. Osborne • May 20, 2018 at 5:39 PM

KINGSPORT — More than 15,000 people streamed into downtown Saturday for the Racks by the Tracks barbecue competition, craft beer and wine tasting, and music festival. “Racks,” as those in the know call it,  is one of our region’s largest single-day festivals and is recognized within the community for being fun, family-friendly, well-organized and committed to charitable giving. Musical headliners this year included Aaron Tippin; Tuesday’s Gone, a Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band; If Birds Could Fly; and A Great Disaster.

Quick facts about Racks:

• This was the festival’s 11th year.

• Its 2,000-ticket, 80-plus brews craft beer tasting event has sold out nine years in a row.

• More than $70,000 is generated for nonprofits through the festival (see partial list below of those who benefit).

• For the food portion of the event, there were 25 barbecue competitors and five additional food vendors.

• Eighty-five percent of attendees come from the Greater Tri-Cities region (Kingsport, Johnson City, Bristol, Abingdon, Elizabethton, Greeneville).

• The remaining 15 percent come from the Tri-State area (including Knoxville, Chattanooga, Gatlinburg, Asheville and Greenville, S.C.).

• The title sponsor of the wine tasting event (again): Barefoot Wine.

• The SPF Race has what is considered the fastest course in the Tri-Cities due to how consistently flat it is. Last year,  its fifth running, more than 650 runners participated.

• It’s not just all about the adults. Quantum Leap Kid’s Station featured activities such as large inflatables and face-painting.

The festival generates thousands of dollars every year to local community nonprofits, which have included:

• Sullivan County Humane Society

• Relay for Life (American Cancer Society)

• Skin Cancer Foundation

• Second Harvest of Northeast Tennessee (Feeding America)

• Kingsport Chamber of Commerce

• Downtown Kingsport Association

• PEAK Young Professionals

• Kingsport Ballet

• Boys and Girls Club

• Sunrise Rotary Club