MeadowView Conference Resort and Convention Center in Kingsport, which is serving as the host site for the three-day competition that opens Thursday, will welcome 1,300 athletes, along with their coaches and families, from throughout the United States, including Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Wisconsin, among others.
“Kingsport is thrilled to be hosting an event of this magnitude,” Jud Teague, executive director of Visit Kingsport, said in a release. “It is such a great event for our community with an estimated economic impact of more than $7 million. We expect nearly 5,500 visitors to be spending the week with us in our hotels, restaurants, etc.”
The gymnasts, ranging in age from 5 through adult, will take part in an Athlete Celebration Ceremony on Friday at Dobyns-Bennett High School’s Buck Van Huss Dome. The ceremony will begin at 6:30 p.m. and close with a performance by “Fiddlin’ ” Carson Peters of Piney Flats.
The theme of this year’s event is “Kids helping kids: Put a little love in your heart.” AAU Gymnastics will donate a portion of the event proceeds to local charitable organizations that deal with some of the challenges faced by children and their families.
The competition is scheduled to run from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, and 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday.