Upcoming events, property improvements addressed by city tourism

·5 min read

Sep. 21—Summer events have had good turnout and the fall season brings hope for the same public response.

City tourism board members heard of several upcoming events during Monday's monthly meeting.

Most residents of London and surrounding areas are aware that the World Chicken Festival annual celebration kicks off Thursday and continues through Sunday. Board members approved a request from the London-Laurel County Rescue Squad to use the community center parking lot for parking for those attending the Chicken Festival this week. The parking fees will be used as a fundraiser for the rescue squad. Permission was also granted for the World Chicken Festival to use the Town Center Park for their activities. The Town Center stage is used as the "Stage of Stars" during the downtown event.

October will bring several other events, including the London-Corbin Airport open house and Honey Bun Day, both which fall on Saturday, October 8.

"London Downtown and the airport personnel are working together to make this an all-day event. There is an overlap with the airport open house from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Honey Bun Day from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., but that will give everyone time to do both," Robinson said.

The Pumpkin Park, located at Town Center Park, will transform the area into a seasonal Octoberfest of pumpkins and decor highlighting the fall and Halloween season. That will be displayed from October 15 through October 30.

Boo On Main is also slatted as a huge event again this year, scheduled for Saturday, October 29. Robinson said 23 businesses have already registered to participate.

A week later, the Veterans Day celebration will return, although the traditional parade may not be an option. Willie Sawyers, media specialist for the Laurel County Fiscal Court as well as other local entities, said the event may just include a recognition and meal for veterans and their families rather than the parade. Robinson said the event has formerly been held at Farmers Market but due to prior booking, the location will have to be changed this year.

Robinson also said the Town Center concerts had gone well, with the weather cooperating this year. The National Cleanup Day on Saturday also went well, with approximately 60 volunteers from the North Laurel FFA pitching in.

Chelsea Philpot, president of the Laurel County Homecoming, and board member Lana Smith attended Monday's meeting. Philpot said the Homecoming had 18 events between opening on Friday evening and the ending of the pageant on Saturday and had drawn good crowds this year.

"Those who attended the Pops concert really enjoyed it and said it was a classy touch," Philpot told board members.

Board member Lana Smith organizes the Bark in the Park section of the Homecoming events. Smith said the Daschund Derby is growing in popularity.

"People are coming from all over. This year a lady drove from Danville to be in the race — and her dog won," Smith said. "She's wanting to get one of these started in Danville."

The Power Wheels race, however, draws out large crowds to watch children maneuver their battery operated vehicles along a course. Smith said that is the most popular event of the Bark in the Park agenda.

The London Tourism Commission is the primary sponsor of the Homecoming event — since it is the sole event that highlights Levi Jackson Park, which is part of the City of London property.

In other actions, tourism board members heard updates on their re-organization. Robinson asked for an increase in the credit card limits, rising from $10,000 to $20,000. That would also help the tourism board in obtaining a credit card from Lowe's, from which they purchase many supplies for maintenance and improvements to properties overseen by the tourism commission.

December is also chocked full of events. The Randy Smith's Christmas on Main parade is set for Friday, December 2, with the theme of "Merry and Bright." Robinson said the J.M. Feltner 4-H Camp is looking for sponsors for their "Winter WonderCamp" which is part of the annual Lights Around London driving tour during December. The 4-H Camp established the WonderCamp last year, with holiday decorations on cabins and facilities through the camp area. To further enhance their project, donations and sponsorships are needed, Robinson said.

The construction of new shelter houses near the museum in Levi Jackson Park was also discussed. During a special called meeting last week, tourism board members voted to rebid the projects after the three bids submitted exceeded the amount expected for the project. During that meeting, Parks and Recreation Director Mackey Williams said he favored the pre-fab shelters — using those at the pickleball court and Whitley Branch Veterans Park as examples. Williams said those facilities were cheaper than the bids for the project.

During Monday's meeting, the issue arose again, with board members approving rebidding the projects and working with architects to revise the picnic areas.

New signage for Levi Jackson Park, and an archery tournament were also addressed. Williams said he had spoken with officials at the Department of Transportation which is planning to widen the entrance to the park off U.S. 25 to the railroad tracks. That will eliminate the current entrance columns.

"The new entrance will be a four lane from the railroad tracks," Williams said. "There will one way to turn left, one going to the right, one going straight across and a turning lane."

In other actions, board members approved:

—Adding board members Lois McWhorter and Phil Smith to the checking account signature card.

—Agreement with Design Farm South to build trails at Levi Jackson Park.

—Sponsorship of fall conference for Kentucky Travel Industry Association.