By Charlotte Underwood / Staff Writer
The upcoming Old Fashioned Trading Days topped the agenda at Monday evening’s Williamsburg Tourism meeting.
“It looks like this year is going to be even better than in the past. We have a lot more food vendors this year, including some new ones and there aren’t too many spaces left to fill,” said Williamsburg Tourism Director Alvin Sharpe. He added there was one particular food vendor he really hoped would come.
“It is a one-horse powered ice cream making machine where the horse actually makes the ice cream by walking on a tread mill. We are really hoping it is going to be here. We will know by the end of this week if we are going to get it,” Sharpe told the board.
“It’s pretty neat; he’s going to have a couple of horses to switch in and out so they don’t get tired,” Sharpe said.
Old Fashioned Trading Days will be held Sept. 6, 7 and 8.
The board briefly discussed and approved the purchase of 20,000 Canoe the Cumberland rack cards, which will be used to promote the area and canoeing the Cumberland River.
“We have been talking about promoting this for years,” Sharpe said.
The cost will be $1,195 for 20,000 of the promotional rack cards.
“I think this is something that we need to promote; we are not getting into the canoe business or anything, just promoting the trip,” Sharpe said. He explained that the price of the rack cards would go down the next time they ordered them.
“We can apply for matching funds on that and get part of that money back,” Sharpe said.
Board members also approved replacing the air conditioning unit in the gym at a cost of $4,950.
“That went out two days after our last meeting,” Sharpe said.
Sharpe and the board also discussed getting the tourism department’s radio station up and running again at an approximate cost of $9,825.
“It may not be that much because we may be able to use some of the equipment we already have. The biggest cost would be in the installation and the training,” Sharpe said.
Around a month ago, the Department of Transportation called to ask if the radio station was working so it could be used to re-direct interstate traffic due to construction, according to Sharpe, who said he feels that the radio station would be an asset to the tourism department and the community.
“We need that radio station; if it was up and running, then we could have directed travelers off at exit 11 rather than that mess down there in Jellico. I have looked into grants out there, but I am not sure what grants will be available in the spring,” Sharpe said, adding that the board might want to put the project off till then and look for more grant funding.
“I just wanted you to be aware of this and get your feedback,” Sharpe said, adding that he would look into possible grant funding.
“We had the station here 10 years ago and lightning hit it and we never got it repaired. It was very valuable in the winter time with the snow on the highways and the roads being closed,” Sharpe said.
He added that the radio station would not be only for traffic signals, but also to let people “know of our tourism here.”
Sharpe said he would gather more information to provide to the board by the next meeting in September.
By Charlotte Underwood / Staff Writer
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