By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
Could there be a special guest coming down to Barbourville for this year’s Daniel Boone Festival?
It’s still under wraps, but the Barbourville Tourist and Recreation Commission heard the heads-up about it during their regular session Monday.
Both Ron Bowling, the president of the Battle of Barbourville and Daniel Boone Festival Committee, and Boone Festival Committee Vice-President Debbie Bingham stopped by the session to express their thanks to the tourism commission, and to the City of Barbourville, for their help with both events through the years.
After Bingham thanked board members for their support, Bowling announced that the Daniel Boone Festival and Barbourville Mayor David Thompson were working on getting the special guest for the festival in October.
This year’s Daniel Boone Festival will be the 65th annual one, and is scheduled for the week of Oct. 6-12. While events will be spread out over Barbourville, the majority of them are located downtown, especially on Court Square.
The 13th re-enactment of the Battle of Barbourville takes place on Sept. 21-22, and will be staged at Minton Hickory Farm, located a quarter-mile past Barbourville on Ky. 225 South (the Artemus road).
Bowling added that promoting both events will continue, and that while advertising for the Battle of Barbourville and Daniel Boone Festival would continue on radio and billboards, newspaper advertising for the events would be increased.
“When we asked out-of-town people who came to the battle and the festival how they heard about the events, most of them said they saw the ads in the local papers,” Bowling said.
Later, recognition was given to the Knox County All-Stars for winning the Kentucky State 12-year-old Little League Championship last weekend in Prestonsburg. Tourism Director Denise Wainscott reported that ESPN and Lexington’s WLEX-TV may be coming to Barbourville to do stories on the All-Stars this Thursday. The All-Stars now move on to the 2013 Great Lakes Regional Tournament in Indianapolis, Ind., and will play their first game in the pool play competition this Saturday at 7 p.m. The Internet channel ESPN 3 will carry the game.
During the business part of the meeting, the commission tabled a motion to provide funding for resurfacing six tennis courts at Union College, until an attorney can look at the lease agreement between the college and the city to see if it’s legal. Wainscott said once the agreement is legal, the commission can pursue it further.
According to the agreement, one of the six courts on the campus can be used by the city and the public. It was mentioned that the company that wants to do the resurfacing is in Barbourville to do some work at Union College, and would like to do the project while they’re in town.
The company is asking for $2,000 per year for three years to resurface, reseal and do other improvements to the six tennis courts. Of that total, the tourism board and the city would put up a $1,000 each per year for the three-year period.
Union College is bringing back intercollegiate tennis as a sport this year, and will field teams this fall. Both Barbourville and Knox Central High Schools’ tennis teams also use the facility at the college.
The possibility of having a bicycle path in Barbourville, using city streets with a special “bike lane,” similar to those used in cities such as Boone, N.C., and proposed by the group “Bicycle Corbin,” was also brought up. It came after Wainscott was recently asked by a group of bicycle enthusiasts looking for a place to ride on city streets.
Board member Thompson — who is also the city’s mayor — said it would be hard to do.
“There’s no way you could do it downtown without taking parking spaces away,” Thompson mentioned.
In her Tourism Director’s report, Wainscott mentioned a Holiday and Christmas meeting, involving downtown holiday shopping, window designs and more participation in the annual Christmas Parade, would be held Tuesday (today) at 2 p.m. at Forcht Bank in Barbourville. The session would take place after the Knox County Chamber of Commerce meeting.
She told the board that downtown banners needed to be replaced, and would like to expand the banners to other city streets, including Knox Street and Daniel Boone Drive. Both mural projects being planned in the city were currently on hold, while different vendors were looking at landscaping and repairing steps at the Visitor Center, where the tourism commission has their headquarters. In addition, Wainscott and other board members agreed to to get more information on materials for the Heritage Quilt Square Project, a project she referred to as “very labor-intensive.”
Also, Wainscott pointed out Union College students will be coming back to school next month, with 15 teams of students going out on Aug. 22 for a scavenger hunt across the city. She asked board members to encourage businesses to welcome the teams as they hunt through town.
“So many times, our students come to campus and they don’t know about places within walking distance of the campus. If you see them, please welcome them to Barbourville, pose with them if they ask to take your picture for the scavenger hunt, and if you have free samples to give out to them, please do so,” said Wainscott.
Before adjourning, the board voted to make Tuesday’s meeting the regular meeting not just for July, but for August as well.
The action was taken due to several board members not expected to be in town on Aug. 6, the original date for the next scheduled meeting.
The regular monthly meeting on July 8 was postponed due to a lack of a quorum.
The tourism board’s next regular session is now scheduled for Sept. 9.