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Kingsport kids cool off with Splash Dance

Valerie Lick, vlick@timesnews.net • Jul 18, 2018 at 6:30 PM

KINGSPORT — A fire truck was called to the V.O. Dobbins Community Center Wednesday, but not for a fire. It was Splash Dance, a time-honored tradition that ends Fun Fest’s three-day extravaganza Kids Central.

There were fire trucks, thousands of beach balls, and gallons upon gallons of water on a hot day. What’s not for kids to love?

“They’ve been asking for all of Kids Central when the fire trucks will be there,” said Barry Brickey, public relations officer of the Kingsport Fire Department.

The kids aren’t the only ones who look forward to Splash Dance.

“We’ve got firefighters coming here on their day off,” said Brickey as volunteers from ORG carried bags of beach balls down the street, which was cordoned off in preparation for Splash Dance. “We love this event. It’s a lot of fun for us.”

Brickey has helped organize the annual event since 2005.

Both Splash Dance and Kids Central are beloved, long-running parts of Fun Fest.

Sherrie Rountree has helped organize First Tennessee Bank’s donation of beach balls for more than 20 years. She said the kids’ enjoyment of Splash Dance never gets old.

“The best part is when it starts, and you hear it and see their faces,” she said.

Splash Dance ends three days of fun at Kids Central. Vendors from all over the area brought games, food, and all kinds of fun.

“Fun Fest is really integral to Kingsport,” said Tara Chadwell, director of the Children’s Resource Center at Niswonger Children’s Hospital. “You look around and see all these families out, and it’s completely free to the community.”

In a brand-new addition to the long-running event, Kids Central featured several different vendors and activities specifically for disabled kids. It also included a magic show, many entertaining and educational Fun Shops, and the Hands On! Discovery Center’s “Calming Room,” where kids could take a break from the noise and heat to play quieter indoor games.

Fun Fest has always existed to bring Kingsport’s communities closer. Kids Central achieves that goal, providing free activities to kids with different ages, interests and ability levels. This year, there truly is something for everyone.