The Members of the Coalition for Recreational Trails and the American Recreation Coalition have awarded a local group a 2010 Recreational Trails Program Annual Achievement Award to be presented in Washington D.C. in June. The group was awarded for their “Outstanding State Recreational Trails Advisory Committee”. This group developed and implemented the Tennessee Greenways and Trails Program.
The Johnson City Convention & Visitors Bureau won three awards at the 2010 Northeast Tennessee Tourism Pinnacle Awards ceremony. The first Pinnacle was won for the 37th Annual BMW MOA International Rally and the second Pinnacle was won for DeTOUR I-40. The group also won a merit award for the Motorcycle FAM Tour.
The Staff of the Thunder in the Mountains Motorcycle Rally would like to thank our sponsors. We had a great turnout of about 3,000 attendees. We could not have done this without Holston Distributing-Budweiser, Pepsi Bottling Group and Phil Bachman Toyota/Scion. Other sponsors were 95.9 the HOG, Cap-Tee-vation, Mack Insurance, and Dream Clean. Thanks also to the City of Johnson City Staff, JCDA and Friends of Old Downtown for making this event possible.
Tennessee Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker officially launched the Sunny Side Trail, a mapped driving route covering 12 East Tennessee counties—including nearly 300 points of interest.
Scott Niswonger, CEO of Landair announced that 125 Landair trucks would display the Sunny Side Trail logo and web address (www.sunnysidetrail.com) as part of the trail’s initial promotion. “Landair is proud to act as ambassadors of East Tennessee and the Sunny Side Trail as we travel throughout America. It’s a telling statistic from last year’s report that tourist spending grew faster in Northeast Tennessee than in any other part of the state,” said Niswonger. “We’re blessed with natural beauty, friendly people and a rich heritage, which a trail like this helps us share with visitors. And that can mean economic growth, which we firmly support.”
Sunny Side Trail is the second of 16 regional trails launching over the next several months as part of a statewide tourist development initiative, “Discover Tennessee Trails and Byways.” The effort is the result of multiple agencies working together to showcase local gems such as wineries, historic main streets, quaint restaurants, and scenic spots for outdoor adventure.
The Tennessee Departments of Tourist Development and Transportation worked in partnership with Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association and tourism organizations in Carter, Cocke, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson, Johnson, Sevier, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington counties to develop and launch Sunny Side Trail.
“The trails initiative is one of the most comprehensive marketing and branding initiatives ever to be launched from the state’s tourism department,” said Whitaker. “Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways is an opportunity to showcase tourism’s major sites as well as our state’s exceptional off-the-beaten-path attractions which are some of Tennessee’s greatest assets.”
“The trail’s name was inspired by the Carter Family, one of the most famous performers from the Bristol Sessions. Their theme song on radio was the Christian hymn, “Keep on the Sunny Side,” said Jennifer Spence, Assistant Commissioner of Marketing for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “Because we truly feel Northeast Tennessee – with its beauty, heritage and Southern hospitality – offers the sunny side of life, “Sunny Side” is the perfect name for a trail that will showcase this area of Tennessee.”
Sunny Pickens, a rambling musician character created to promote the trail via social media will provide an insider’s guide to the best of the Sunny Side Trail at www.sunnysidetrail.com. For more information on the state trails initiative, go to www.tntrailsandbyways.com or for brochures, come by the Chamber offices.
NASCAR’s most popular track, Bristol Motor Speedway, celebrates a momentous milestone in August as it hosts its 100th NASCAR Sprint Cup event, the IRWIN Tools Night Race. And the focus, as always, is on its tremendous legion of fans. To mark the significance of the race, on May 14, which is 100 days out from the IRWIN Tools Night Race, BMS begins awarding lucky fans with a prize every day until race day -- Aug. 21.
Among the other daily prizes are autographed driver souvenirs, more race tickets, parking passes, weekend getaways, camping passes, Food City gift certificates, suite packages and numerous sponsor gifts.
BMS Vice President of Corporate Sales Jerry Caldwell incorporating the fans is a perfect way to kick off festivities for next year’s 50th anniversary celebration. “The 100th Sprint Cup race is definitely something we’re extremely excited about,” said Caldwell. “It’s also the launch to marking our golden anniversary in 2011 so we have a lot to celebrate. “Bristol Motor Speedway has long held a special place in race fans’ hearts and they are the folks who are responsible for making us the most popular track on the circuit. The 100 days of giveaways is simply our way to saying thank you for their loyalty and support.”
Tickets are available to all of the August night races. Tickets for the IRWIN Tools Night Race are $109. Fans also may purchase three-day packages, which features four NASCAR races. Action kicks off Aug. 18 with the Wednesday night doubleheader, the O’Reilly 200 Camping World Truck Series race and the UNOH Perfect Storm Whelen Modified event. Included in the package are the Food City 250 Nationwide event Friday night, Aug. 20, and the IRWIN Tools Night Race. For fans able to attend just the Friday and Saturday night races, a two-race package for the Food City 250 and IRWIN Tools Night Race is available. Packages for all three days start at only $170 while pricing for the two-day package begins at $126. Both packages are renewable. To purchase, please contact the BMS ticket office at its toll free number 1-866-415-4158 or 423-BRISTOL (274-7865). Tickets also may be purchased at www.bristoltix.com.
The Tennessee Department of Tourist Development and Tennessee Department of Transportation hosted the official grand opening ceremonies of the brand new I-26 Tennessee Welcome Center, Monday, May 14. The center is located at I-26 in Unicoi County, near Erwin. The grand opening event was part of Tennessee’s National Tourism and Travel Week festivities.
Tennessee Department of Transportation Commissioner Gerald Nicely and Tourism Commissioner Susan Whitaker were on hand to bring remarks and officially open the center with a ribbon cutting ceremony. This special event was held to celebrate the completion of the Welcome Center, the first-ever on I-26 in Tennessee. Other national, state and local officials in attendance were United States Congressman Phil Roe, Tennessee Senator Steve Southerland and Tennessee Congressman David Hawk. Unicoi County Mayor Greg Lynch, Unicoi City Mayor Johnny Lynch and Erwin City Mayor William Don Lewis were also in attendance.
“I’m so pleased to see the completion of Tennessee’s 14th Welcome Center at I-26 in Unicoi County,” said Commissioner Susan Whitaker, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. “Our Welcome Center employees offer the state’s first impression to the more than 15 million annual visitors, providing great Southern hospitality and world-class service. This center is a tribute to the value Tennessee places on tourism, a $14.4 billon economic engine for the state.”
Designed as a log cabin, the facility combines the warmth of Tennessee with the modern advantage of new construction. The I-26 Welcome Center in Unicoi County can be accessed via both eastbound and westbound lanes. Erwin is located east of Johnson City near the North Carolina border. Interstate 26 is approximately 349 miles in length traveling through Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.
“The I-26 Welcome Center in Unicoi County will play a pivotal role in welcoming visitors to Tennessee,” said Gerald Nicely, Tennessee Department of Transportation commissioner. “Interstate 26 travels through the Cherokee National Forest and the Tri-Cities area of East Tennessee. I’m very pleased that we now have a center welcoming visitors to this strategically important area of our state.”
On-hand to add some great Tennessee music was the ETSU Bluegrass Band. In addition, many of our Johnson City hotels and tourism partners participated, providing tourism information in keeping with National Tourism and Travel Week.