This September 11 and 12, the National Fireworks Association (NFA) brings the boom to Thunder Valley.

 Many of the NFA's 1,500 registered members are gathering in Kingsport, Tenn. for their annual trade convention. Bristol Dragway is playing host to the live demonstration portion of the show, which features displays and competitions from multiple pyrotechnic companies as they show off new and classic products to attendees.

 While NFA members will conduct smaller, closed presentations throughout the week, two large shows are open to the public Friday and Saturday, September 11-12. Friday's schedule includes a two-hour firework demonstration, while on Saturday, rival pyrotechnic clubs will compete for top honors during the Cam Starr Memorial Challenge. Saturday's event concludes with a grand presentation from Pyro Shows of LaFollette, Tenn.

 Guests wishing to view the displays should note that these are non-traditional shows focusing on special effects and choreography. Many of the products are designed for the retail market and intended to be fired and viewed at ground level. Unlike the larger, higher-altitude shows associated with Independence Day or Sprint Cup celebrations, the NFA shows will be shot from the Bristol Dragway pit areas and largely visible only from the Thunder Valley grandstands.

 Both public shows include salutes to military, police, and emergency medical technicians, as well as a remembrance of those lost on 9/11/2001. Ron Ramsey, Lt. Gov. of the State of Tennessee, speaks Friday, while U.S. Rep. Phil Roe welcomes crowds on Saturday.

 As part of the event, Marsh Regional Blood Center will hold a blood drive at Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday, Sept. 11. Those interested in giving blood should enter through the North Entrance, located off Volunteer Parkway, and come to the mobile donation center, visible from the road, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. The first 200 donors receive a pass for both nights of public firework displays.

 Entry to Friday and Saturday's public events is $10 per day, per vehicle. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities. Gates open both nights at 6 p.m. with shows starting at approximately 7:15 p.m. Guests should enter through the South Entrance of Bristol Motor Speedway, located off Volunteer Parkway.


Following is a schedule of activities:

Friday, Sept. 11 National Fireworks Association Schedule

Honoring our Heroes

(all times approximate)


7:00 a.m.

to 6:00 p.m.    Marsh Regional Blood Center Blood Drive

6:00 p.m.        BMS South Entrance Opens—Volunteer Parkway

7:15 p.m.        Welcome & Introduction followed by parade honoring police, fire, EMT and

flight crews

7:45 p.m.        Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey—Honoring and Remembering the Losses of 9/11

8:15 p.m.        Two-hour firework product demos begin


Saturday, Sept. 12 National Fireworks Association Schedule

Honoring our Veterans

(all times approximate)


6:00 p.m.        BMS South Entrance Opens-Volunteer Parkway

7:15 p.m.        Welcome & Introductions followed by parade of military vehicles representing

World War II, and the Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts

7:45 p.m.        U.S. Rep. Phil Roe—Honoring Our Military

8:15 p.m.        Cam Starr Memorial Club Challenge: Ohio Pyrotechnic Guild and Pyro

Artists of Pennsylvania compete for a $5,000 cash prize. Audience will decide

winner. Pyro Shows will provide fireworks finale.