, Corbin, KY

July 10, 2013

Tourism looking at fireworks for NIBROC Festival

The Times-Tribune

CORBIN — By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer

Could the fireworks not used for last week’s 4th of July celebration in Corbin be used to kick off this year’s NIBROC Festival?

That’s what the Corbin Tourism and Convention Commission would like to do, and at Tuesday’s meeting they voted to look into the idea.

Board members approved letting Southern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bruce Carpenter speak with the city’s Fire Chief, Barry McDonald, and with Pyro Shows, Inc. of LaFollette, Tennessee, about a plan to shoot the fireworks on Wednesday, August 7 — the night before this year’s NIBROC begins.

Board members said the plan is tentative, if they have permission to shoot the fireworks from an area close to downtown.

Carpenter told the board he remembered one year during NIBROC, “They shot the fireworks off the hill near Kentucky Avenue, where the water tank is.” He also mentioned another area where they could be shot was Campbell Field, a few blocks away from the NIBROC site.

Pyro Shows, Inc. is the the fireworks provider and operator for Corbin’s annual 4th of July event. The fireworks show is sponsored by Corbin Tourism, who provides the funding for the fireworks to be bought and for the show to be presented.

This year’s 4th of July celebration was postponed twice last week.

The actual event was to take place at dusk last Wednesday, July 3 on the hill where the Corbin Arena is located, but postponed due to the threat of inclement weather. It was rescheduled for last Saturday, but postponed again due to torrential rains that day and night.

Board member Alan Onkst brought up the idea of having fireworks at NIBROC, which will have its 61st annual festival less than a month from now.

“What if we had some kind of kickoff event? What if we started NIBROC off there where the Farmer’s Market is downtown to kick it off and have the fireworks at night?”

Others on the board liked the idea and ultimately settled on having the kickoff event and fireworks on the night before the festival officially begins, if the plan can be worked out.

After a motion was made for Carpenter to contact McDonald and Pyro Shows to see if it’s feasible, the motion was unanimously approved. The board will also have a special meeting in relation to the fireworks, before NIBROC begins next month.

Board members also approved a request from Downtown Corbin’s Director, Andrew Salmons, to use $16,502 from the $35,000 budgeted to his organization by the Tourism Board.

The money would go to pay expenses for the Whitley County Farmer’s Market location presented by Downtown Corbin, at the corner of Main and Monroe Streets, as well as this month’s Moonbow Nights event downtown, and to pay expenses for sound and lighting personnel who were in Corbin to work at the Independence Day Block Party last Wednesday. The block party, along with the fireworks display, were postponed due to the inclement weather threat in the area.

Salmons also gave updates on two other projects.

He said the bike trail master plan should be completed in another week, and looked promising. He added around 28 persons have been at the planning meetings in relation to the bike trail master plan, “and once the plan’s in place, the planning group will be meeting on a regular basis.”

Three types of infrastructure improvements for downtown were also shown to the board by Salmons, which would use “pocket parks” which would close alleys to be made into a park, spaces for “parallel parks” near businesses, and curb extensions to improve livability and looks in the downtown area.

Earlier, Corbin resident Kent Phalen gave a proposal for putting up a museum and antique mall in the area, which would house his collection of memorabilia involving the 1940’s film and early television cowboy hero Hopalong Cassidy.

“I have over 300 items, and it would be interesting,” said Phalen, who then showed the board some of his collection, including a cowboy hat, clothing, a “Hoppy” lunchbox, comic books and an antique radio.

“Hopalong Cassidy was the king of merchandising,” he added.

After the presentation, Phalen was thanked, and told he’d need more information about his proposal before a decision could be made.

Approval was made on the financial report, with the board’s financial advisor Kyle Perkins saying deposits for June were around $64,000, with tourism having about $4406,000 in reserve. Perkins was also approved to contact Cloyd and Associates to again do the auditing for the board this upcoming year. He noted the auditing firm’s fee would be $5,000, the same as last year.

The board also approved a motion to contact the Farmer’s Market, asking them to remove the tents and chairs, as well as to clean up the area where the market is held downtown, after they finish their business on Tuesday nights. It was noted the space where the market is held downtown belongs to the Tourism Commission.

Administrative Assistant Lauren House told the board the Corbin Tourism’s website will be part of the City of Corbin’s website around August 20th, if technical work is completed in time. They’ll continue to have their own separate web address, currently at

Tuesday’s meeting was the first for Victor Patel, who was appointed to the board by the Corbin City Commission during Monday’s meeting. Patel, who works with Best Western Corbin Inn, represents the motel industry on the board. He replaces Sherry Logan on the board, whose term expired.

Later, board members went into Executive Session to discuss personnel matters. After they came out of Executive Session, the board returned to their regular session, where they approved Perkins to advertise for the position of Administrative Assistant.

House, the current assistant, said after the meeting she’s moving to Louisville to work in the hospitality industry. She was in the position for almost a year, after starting last August.