[Jan 10, 2018, 8:49 PM]
RALEIGH, N.C. — To brighten the holidays for children living with serious medical conditions, Visit North Carolina is partnering with Victory Junction in Randleman to distribute free tickets to two drive-thru light shows sponsored by Count On Me NC, a statewide safety initiative driven by a public-private collaboration that includes Visit NC.
Victory Junction, a year-round camping facility that provides life-changing experiences for children with serious illnesses and chronic medical conditions, makes an ideal choice to distribute the tickets Visit NC receives from the Count On Me NC sponsorship of Speedway Christmas in Concord and WRAL’s Nights of Lights in Raleigh, said Visit NC Director Wit Tuttell.
“Children delight in holiday magic,” Tuttell said. “With a drive-thru course that limits contact among guests, Speedway Christmas and Nights of Lights allow the spirit to shine while minimizing the risks from COVID-19. Victory Junction can extend a wondrous opportunity to families whose concerns about their children’s health are heightened by the presence of cancer, diabetes, sickle cell or another serious medical condition.”
Victory Junction was founded by the Petty family to honor the vision of Adam Petty, a fourth-generation NASCAR driver who died in 2000 at age 19. It was Adam’s dream to create a place where children with serious illness could experience the joys of childhood and briefly forget about being sick.
“It was Adam’s dream to create a place where children with serious illness could experience the joys of childhood and briefly forget about being sick,” said NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty, a longtime Victory Junction board member. “We are overjoyed to be part of a team effort to bring a safe holiday experience to the incredible kids in the Victory Junction family.”
Tuttell said Count On Me NC’s sponsorship of Speedway Christmas and Nights of Lights is designed to spread awareness of the public health initiative, which centers on free training to help hotels, restaurants and other businesses reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. The program also asks consumers to do their part by wearing masks, washing their hands frequently and practicing social distancing. The Count On Me NC initiative is led by the N.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association in partnership with the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, NC State Extension and Visit NC.
COVID-19 has added to the challenges for families whose children have serious medical conditions, said Chad Coltrane, Victory Junction’s president and CEO.
“Words like ‘social distancing’ are new to most of us,” Coltrane said. “The hand washing, mask wearing and social distancing have been a way of life for years for some Victory Junction families, due to their child’s illness. COVID-19 has had a profound negative impact on their daily routines. Thank you to Visit NC for providing a safe and uplifting experience for Victory Junction families, who are even more isolated than usual during the pandemic.”
The Speedway Christmas experience, which marks its 10th anniversary this season, resonates with Victory Junction’s founding family since Adam, father Kyle and grandfather Richard all won races at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The event invites guests to cover a 3.75-mile course driven by NASCAR champions, listen to seasonal tunes and see displays created with 4 million LED lights. Thursday through Sunday, visitors can park in front of the Speedway’s giant screen to watch a holiday movie. The festivities continue through Jan. 17.
“We’re delighted that our partnership with Visit NC and Count On Me NC will help families enjoy a signature holiday event that respects the special concerns at the heart of the Victory Junction mission,” said Greg Walter, executive vice president and general manager at Charlotte Motor Speedway. “We hope that the drive-thru light show will provide joyous memories in a holiday season that’s unlike anything we’ve ever experienced.”
In Raleigh, WRAL created Nights of Lights to help restore some of the delight the season has lost to COVID-19, which has forced cancellations and the scaling back of many events. The broadcast company marked a 1.3-mile route through Dorothea Dix Park on the edge of downtown for themed displays and art installations among oak trees draped in lights. Nights of Lights, which runs Dec. 16-31, incorporates Raleigh’s traditional New Year’s Eve acorn drop for the Dec. 30-31 editions.
“We’re proud to partner with community organizations like Count On Me NC and grateful for their continued support of organizations like Victory Junction,” said Shuneca Harrington, director of sales for WRAL-TV and FOX 50.
In earlier partnerships on behalf of Count On Me NC, Visit North Carolina has worked with the International Bluegrass Music Association’s virtual World of Bluegrass festival in Raleigh and NASCAR teams that raced at Charlotte Motor Speedway in October. The Camaro driven by Gray Gaulding in the Drive for the Cure 250 was completely wrapped with Count On Me NC messaging, including the words “Keep Your Distance” on the bumper. Richard Petty Motorsports continues to promote the Count On Me NC mission with social media posts.
Tuttell commended the Speedway and WRAL for putting an emphasis on safety with the experiences they’ve created.
“They address the serious concerns about COVID-19 without surrendering all the warmth of the holidays,” he said. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to work with them and with Victory Junction to spread comfort and joy without spreading the virus.”
About Visit North Carolina:
Visit North Carolina serves as the state’s official source for travel planning. The organization works with tourism marketing groups from the mountains to the coast to position North Carolina as a premiere destination for leisure travel, group tours, meetings and conventions, sports events and film production. For inspiration on planning a trip to North Carolina, go to VisitNC.com or connect on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Youtube.
About Count On Me NC:
Count On Me NC is a public health initiative designed to help businesses operate as safely as possible and signal their commitment to best practices, and to enlist consumers to do their part to curb the spread of COVID-19. A collaboration led by the N.C. Restaurant and Lodging Association in partnership with Visit North Carolina, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services and NC State Extension, the initiative centers on evidence-based training with specific guidance for sanitation and service that goes beyond the stringent health requirements that were in place before the pandemic. Participation is voluntary and free of charge, and training is available in English and Spanish. Thousands of hotels, restaurants, attractions and other businesses display the sea-green Count On Me NC logo that signifies completion of the training. CountOnMeNC.org
About Victory Junction:
Victory Junction is a year-round camping facility for children with serious illnesses and chronic medical conditions. Co-founded by Kyle Petty and his family in honor of his son Adam, Victory Junction provides life-changing camping experiences that are exciting, fun and empowering in a medically safe environment, always free of charge. In addition to traditional camp sessions, Victory Junction’s REACH program takes camp experiences to children and their families at hospitals and in Ronald McDonald Houses throughout North and South Carolina.Since opening in 2004, Victory Junction has delivered more than 60,000 camp experiences and has served children from all fifty states and Puerto Rico, as well as four countries. Victory Junction, a member of the SeriousFun Children’s Network of Camps founded by Paul Newman, is accredited by the American Camping Association. victoryjunction.org