KINGSPORT, TN- From the first Fun fest back in the 1980’s to the 35th Fun Fest this year, a lot has changed.
But no matter the changes there are some families that remain constant Fun Fest goers.
‘It was just a ritual, a tradition,” Patti Keith said.
For the Keith family, Fun Fest is a tradition that spans decades. “Around 30 years,” Keith said.
What keeps them coming back? “Fun, it’s fun fest,” Keith said.
The Keith family has a big memory chest of fun times from Fun Fest.
“My earliest memory would be my daughters in little matching Oshkosh outfits eating ice cream on the lawn at Allandale,” Keith said.
Now those daughters are in their 30’s and have kids of their own. But you can still find the whole family together at Fun Fest.
“You come to expect that Saturday we’ll be at the race and Sunday well be at Allandale,” Keith said. “It’s just a lot about family, and fun, and tradition.”
Keith treasures her memories of a favorite event.
“Most of our Fun Fest excitement started with the ‘Medallion Hunt.’ Every day there would be a clue given bright and early and we would all get in our little mom minivan with as many kids as would fit and we would have to figure out the clue get to the right location and figure out the prize,” Keith said.
That event is now history, and now new events and new family additions add to the Keiths’ fun fest experience.
“Now I have grandchildren so I’m kind of like a full circle fun fester. The youth events I attended with my kids I can now drag my grandchildren to,” Keith said.
And just like her family, Fun Fest is, “Growing, changing and there are lots of new and exciting ventures,” Keith said.
But you can always count on some things to stay the same. “A good fun fest was good music, good food, everybody on the blanket at ten in time for the fireworks,” Keith said.
And at the end of a Fun Fest day you know, “that everybody will be together,” Keith said.
Her family and Fun Fest changed over the years, and so has her role in the annual summer celebration.
She now serves as a volunteer at the Kingsport Carousel and helped make the project a reality.
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