By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
Hoping for what they call a “productive NIBROC Festival,” plans for what will be a scaled-back festival were brought up during a planning meeting Tuesday afternoon.
They have a place to set up this year’s festival, to be held August 8-10. That place will be an area bordering Depot Street, East Monroe Street, East Gordon Street and behind the Tri-County Elks Lodge building and the soon-to-be Colonel Sanders Park on Main Street.
The meeting was mainly an idea session, held at the Southern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce office on Depot Street. It discussed what events could be brought to this year’s NIBROC, as well as having entertainment featuring local artists, and possibly including some out-of-town vendors to mix in with local vendors who will be used on the grounds this year.
“We have a general base of what we’d like to do. … Because the city won’t let us have Main Street this year, it’s pushed us back over. … Here’s the space, and now what other ideas can we add to it,” said Chamber president Josh Curry after the meeting.
A design of what the area for NIBROC will look like shows an area for vendors to sell food, crafts and other items, along with a 40 foot by 120 foot tent area, a section to hold a corn hole tournament, an area for a “3-Point Shootout” basketball tournament, two volleyball courts set up along the Depot Street side, a vacant area next to the basketball area, and room for two electric hookups.
Chamber executive director Bruce Carpenter told the group the volleyball courts can be moved anyplace, but said according to the City of Corbin, nothing can be put into the blacktop to secure the courts, and would have to be addressed.
What will definitely be back this August will be the carnival, which one person said was a “huge draw” to the festival, and the vendor booths.
Carpenter said the space they have available can hold about 60 vendors in a 10-foot area. He also mentioned that all the vendors would have to be local. It was brought up in the session that the city requested to keep things local, which would bring an end to out-of-town vendors as in years past.
“How much NIBROC can you have when you have limitations put on you? … We’re limited to what we can do this year,” said Jim Dorn, who attended the session.
After learning that 23 local food vendors would be coming so far this year, Corbin Tourism Commission board member Alan Onkst said, “There could be some spaces to fill.”
One suggestion was made to find some unique out-of-town vendors that could offer something different from the local vendors. Other ideas included the use of a smaller, portable stage in the area near the NIBROC block. Curry suggested having “open night talent shows,” similar to a local version of the “American Idol” and “The Voice” TV shows.
“It could go in the open-air area. We could have it on the Tipton’s Lot,” he said.
“It goes back to cost. You’l have to have a tent, because being NIBROC, you can count on rain for sure,” replied Carpenter.
Daytime activities were also brought up at the meeting. One was having all-day entertainment on the grounds, including a performance of the play, “Last Train To Nibroc,” which could be performed on the stage planned for the Tipton Lot. Other possibilities included an ice cream social for senior citizens, and possibly for the entire community.
It was mentioned that having attractions to draw out more people in the community could ultimately bring them to the vendors.
“Everybody likes to go down, get lunch from the vendors, and go eat it at Nibroc Park,” Onkst noted.
“The vendors is what drove the entertainment, along with the local sponsorships. That’s how we got the entertainment,” said Carpenter.
Curry mentioned that as of now, sponsorships would run at $500 for the top level spots.
Dorn told the group it would be beneficial if they could find out how many local vendors the festival would have, and what kind of food the local vendors would serve.
“If you have a variety of vendors, that’s the key,” Carpenter added.
Curry replied, “If I can get with the city and we’ve got enough, we could have a special chamber meeting. We need to get some answers to what we’ve got. We need to have city officials here,” referring to the possibility of having a select few out-of-town vendors who would bring what was called a unique mix to the area.
Another event set in stone is this year’s NIBROC Parade. Spokesperson Jeannie Hensley said it will be held on Thursday, August 8, with the parade lining up at 6 p.m., and the actual parade at 7 p.m. She added it would start at 19th Street and go down Main Street. In the event of rain, the parade would be held Saturday, August 10.
When the meeting ended, Curry said the chamber would probably have a meeting to discuss their options “early next week.”
“We’ll go back to the chamber about if the city will allow us to have entertainment, and if we’ll open it back up to invite some out-of-town vendors to come. We still want to put the best NIBROC we can with what we have and make it good for everybody, from kids to seniors. We’re still looking, and we want to get everybody involved,” said Curry.
About a dozen persons attended the session, which began at 5 p.m., just as a severe thunderstorm rolled through Corbin. Almost all of the meeting was held with no indoor lights and only with natural light from the closed windows. That happened about five minutes into the session, after the storm knocked out power to the chamber building and the downtown area.