There have been plenty of big nights and weekends at Ford Speedway In Lights powered by TVA at Bristol Motor Speedway and Dragway throughout the years but none can compare to this past weekend.

One of the largest holiday light shows in the country had its biggest weekend in its 16-year history, buoyed by the largest single-night crowd ever Saturday. An estimated 20,000 visitors enjoyed Speedway In Lights from Friday through Sunday with more than half that number taking the four-mile trek through more than two million lights Saturday.

Claudia Byrd, executive director of the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities, said the weekend numbers for Speedway In Lights were astonishing.

“When we get into December we know our crowds will grow on the weekends because Christmas is just around the corner,” she said. “But this was definitely a bit of an eye-opener and a very welcome surprise.”

“I can’t thank everyone who has visited or will visit over the next few weeks enough for their support. As most people realize, Speedway In Lights is our biggest fundraiser and while I know they all enjoy visiting the show with their families, I also know they truly want to support Speedway Children’s Charities and help as many kids as possible.”

BMS General Manager Jerry Caldwell said the record crowds are a great indication of the popularity of Speedway In Lights.

“It is so gratifying to see that after 16 years Speedway In Lights continues to be such a wonderful tradition for so many people,” he said. “That’s an amazing number of visitors for one weekend and we couldn’t be happier.

“The new route has proven to be popular and it has definitely helped us get cars through faster. Obviously, when we have really busy nights it’s going to take a little more time to go through the show but folks are very patient and understanding. The weekends are always a more popular time to visit but we always encourage folks to try to come Sunday through Thursday if it’s convenient for them because the wait is minimal.”

In November, the Bristol Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities presented a record $712,000 to 87 children’s agencies in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Over the past 15 years, SCC has raised and distributed in excess of $7 million in the region.

Speedway In Lights remains open through Jan. 5. Tickets for the show, open nightly 6-10 p.m., are available at the BMS gate. Ticket prices for cars are $12 Sunday through Thursday, and $15 Friday and Saturday. Activity van tickets are $20 each night and tickets for buses are $85 each night.

For more information concerning Speedway In Lights, please call 423-989-6900.