By Jeff Noble, Staff Writer
Corbin’s mayor and city manager took issue Wednesday to charges that the city put restrictions on what could be done in preparing for this year’s NIBROC Festival.
Their replies came after Tuesday’s planning meeting for the festival, sponsored by the Southern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and held at the Chamber office on Depot Street.
During Tuesday’s session, it was brought up that because of city restrictions, out-of-town vendors could not be invited to the festival, no entertainment could be provided like in previous years, and that Main Street could not be used for vendors this year.
In addition, the festival’s vendors, games and shows would be restricted to an area along Depot Street, bordered by East Monroe Street, East Gordon Street and behind the Tri-County Elks Lodge building and the Colonel Sanders Park site behind Main Street.
City Manager Marlon Sams said Wednesday that wasn’t the case.
Sams stated he and Mayor Willard McBurney met with some board members from both the Chamber and the Corbin Tourism Commission in late winter-early spring to discuss the festival’s plans. Sams added he had a second meeting with some board members about a month later.
“The only thing we restricted was the use of Main Street. That’s because the state’s doing repaving on the street. We never told them they could not bring outside vendors in. The suggestion was we’d like to see more local vendors, but also have other stuff. We offered them the use of every parking lot and every side street along Depot Street, from 7th Street to Gordon Avenue near the bypass. And they’re the ones that decided they could not do entertainment, not us. We didn’t make that decision. That was a decision they made as a board, not us,” said Sams.
In a phone interview Wednesday, McBurney agreed.
“I don’t know what the big issue is. We didn’t put no restrictions, or nothing on NIBROC, other than not having it on Main Street. And Depot Street from 7th to Gordon can also be used. We don’t have a problem with that at all. Except using Main Street, they can have anything they want. In fact, we’d like to see them do it,” he said.
During their meeting with some Chamber and Tourism board members, both McBurney and Sams discussed a parking lot that was to be blacktopped by the city, and could be used for NIBROC. The parking lot is located behind the Sanders Park site.
“We told them they could use it, but don’t put any holes in the lot. But we’ll wait on doing the parking lot until after NIBROC,” said Sams.
Both Sams and McBurney also replied to why city officials were not at the planning meeting Monday. Sams said he was involved in the city’s emergency response efforts after a severe thunderstorm came through the area around 5 p.m., which was also the time the Chamber’s NIBROC session started. The storm knocked out power in downtown Corbin and other areas of the city.
McBurney pointed out, “We don’t want to interfere with the Chamber’s plans. We’ve always let them to their thing. We know what we have to do. We have to provide security, cleanup and keep things in order.”
Tuesday’s NIBROC meeting was mainly an idea session, discussing what events could be brought to this year’s festival, including having entertainment featuring local artists, and possibly including some out-of-town vendors to mix in with local vendors who will be setting up booths. It was agreed the carnival would be at the festival, along with a “3-Point Shootout” basketball tournament, corn hole tournament, two volleyball courts, and room for 60 food, crafts and gift vendors.
This year’s NIBROC Festival — its 61st — will be held August 8-10.