Kentucky tourism continues to receive support from local firms

Friday, August 18, 2023


Kentucky is a major tourist destination, and local organizations keep promoting the region to maintain the current trend.The co-executive director of the London Laurel County Tourist Commission, Kelly Burton, gave an overview of some of the upcoming events as well as a rundown of some previous ones to The Sentinel Echo.

A sold-out concert of the Heritage Music Series took place in July, and according to Burton, preparations for the event the following year have already begun.

The World Chicken Festival, scheduled for September 21–24, was also promoted at the Somerset Community College Evolve event. For the Chicken Invasion, Burton has been enlisting volunteers to help carve out the wooden birds. He estimates that the selling of the chickens will bring in close to $3,000 in revenue.

“We’re partnering with Lee’s Famous Recipe as a new Rockin’ Rooster sponsor,” Burton said to The Sentinel Echo. “We already have 1,083 people registered and registration ends September 4. People have been registering across the country.”

To draw even more attention to the occasion that commemorates the opening of the first Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant in southern Laurel County, a new commercial for this year’s World Chicken Festival has also been created.

Collaboration with Tri-County Mystery Meets Dinner Theater in September and October is one of the upcoming new events. Burton claimed that other towns’ presentations had enjoyed considerable success.
The Ghost Biker Exploration Weekend, held in collaboration with Wildcat Harley Davidson, and a site visit in October with the US Lawn Mowing Racing are two additional events taking place in October. According to Burton, the incident might materialize in October 2024.

Along with visiting London from July 30 to August 4, the Masonic Motorcycle Club also raised over $3,000 for the Shop with a Cop program and $500 for Come-Unity Cooperative Care by inviting over 80 bikers from New York, Wisconsin, Ohio, Tennessee, and Pennsylvania.

Two organizations received financial sponsorship from the board. The first was to support and maybe host the October Tourism Day event organized by Leadership Tri-County. The sponsorship of $700 was granted. Additionally, the London Rotary Club asked for a $100 sponsorship for their golf scramble, and it was granted.

The audit report was also given by Matt Shackleford of Cloyd & Associates, who said that it had found no problems with the commission’s bookkeeping or spending.

Burton and co-executive director Kim Collier also presented information regarding Arrivalist, a program that generates information on tourists and their travel routes. Collier clarified that although the program does not reveal the visitors’ names, it does provide information on their travel patterns as a means of data collection. Burton then gave statistics regarding visitors to the tourist information center.

“Between January and July 15, we had 25,000 visitors, with the busiest day on Sunday,” she said. “About 64.9% of those spent at least one night here.”

Collier presents tourism data from last week, which shows how well the tourism industry is doing in Kentucky. In that, London and Laurel County did well, collecting $10.7 million in local and state taxes.

Board members decided to cancel the September meeting because it will take place just two days before the World Chicken Festival, which is scheduled for next month. The next meeting will be held on the third Tuesday of October at the Heritage Hills theater/genealogy center.

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