Inaugural Colonel Fest will feature .5K race, egg toss, eating contest and more

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Jarrod Mills, The Sentinel Echo, London, Ky.
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Apr. 16—CORBIN — The City of Corbin will pay homage to one of its most famous residents, Colonel Harland Sanders, during the inaugural Colonel Fest set to take place in downtown Corbin Saturday, April 24.

Colonel Fest, an event months in the making, will kick off at 10 a.m. The festival will last until 6:30 p.m. and will feature over 40 vendors set up on Main Street. Main Street will be shut down beginning at 6:30 a.m. that morning in preparation for the event, and overnight parking on Main Street the night before, April 23, will be prohibited.

"It has the potential to be a really fun event," said Corbin Tourism Director Maggy Kriebel. "It's pretty intense, I mean we've got a contest like every hour."

The contests and shows will begin at 11 a.m. with a magic show in Nibroc Park performed by Randy Roberts. At the same time, the Secret Recipe Fried Chicken Contest will begin over at the L&N Railroad Depot.

There is no preregistration required to participate in the fried chicken contest, and signing up is free. Those interested in participating need to report to the L&N Railroad Depot between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. Contestants will be required to prepare two pieces of chicken on three individual plates or portions for the judging panel. Officials suggest each participant submit one piece of white meat chicken and one dark meat piece. Each portion must be cooked in the classic Southern-American fried chicken style which includes both the skin and bone still inside.

All chicken dishes should be pre-cooked, brought on site, and ready when judging commences at 11 a.m. The judging criteria for the contest include flavor and overall taste, crispiness and texture of the crust, tenderness, juiciness, and appearance.

Following that, a Chicken Cluckin' and Struttin' contest will be held on First Street beginning at noon. Thirty minutes later, an egg-toss game will take place at Sanders Park.

At 1 p.m. Sanders Park will feature Henry Dowell, a Chautuaqua performer performing as Colonel Sanders. An hour later, Sanders Park will host the Nuggets on Ice Eating Competition sponsored by Sweeties Ice Cream and Mini Doughnuts.

From 3-6 p.m. Bourbon Branch will play on First Street. 3 p.m. is also the start of the Chicken Costume contest in Sanders Park. The contest will be open to people and dogs.

At 3:30 p.m. the Finger Lickin' Chicken .5K will begin at 3:30 p.m. starting at Sanders Park.

"People really did think the .5K is hilarious," Kriebel said on the run she referred to as "a race for the rest of us."

The race, which is sponsored by the original KFC, will see participants run 820 feet, eat a piece of Kentucky Fried Chicken and then run an additional 820 feet to the finish line. All participants will receive a custom medal and there will be prizes awarded. The race is open to all ages.

A Colonel Sanders Look-Alike Contest will follow the race, beginning at 4:30 p.m. on the First Street stage.

Colonel Fest will also feature other events throughout the duration of the festival. All day events include an art exhibition by the Cumberland Arts Collective, video games, kids games, and inflatables in Nibroc Park, and a chainsaw carving exhibition by J&K Custom Log Furniture in the lot across from Sanders Park.

Kriebel said she had procured the help of around 45 University of the Cumberlands students who will help facilitate the kids games and hand out prizes.

"It should really be a great time for the kids," noted Kriebel. "We have lots of cool little things for them."

Kriebel said she feels like the inaugural event could be a big hit for downtown Corbin.

"People understand and appreciate the fact that it's Colonel Fest and what that means to Corbin, that it's our festival to pay tribute to the fact that we are home to Colonel Sanders and the original KFC," she said. "People are like, 'man, we should have been doing this years ago. It just makes sense.'"