<b>50 vendors expected for Monday's October Festival</b>

Fall is in full swing in downtown Corbin, as downtown has been decorated with some seasonal favorites--just in time for the October Festival. The October Festival, formerly known as "Octoberfest," will be taking over downtown on Monday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with over 50 vendors expected to set up in Nibroc Park. | Photo by Emily Adams 

CORBIN -- During Tuesday's special called meeting, Corbin Tourism Director Maggy Kriebel announced to the Corbin Tourism and Convention Commission's board members, that she and Corbin city officials have had preliminary discussions regarding the board taking on the city's Downtown and Main Street projects.

Last week, the city eliminated the downtown manager's position due to budgetary constraints brought on by the coronavirus and lockdown. Originally it was announced that the Downtown and Main Street program would be handled by the city, but the proposal would see the tourism commission take on those responsibilities.

"The Main Street and Downtown Program is a very important component of the city and tourism," said Kriebel who added that if tourism were to take over the projects it would lead to a seamless transition.

Currently, the tourism commission hosts downtown events such as the Cumberland Valley Cruise-In, and the annual Christmas parade. The commission has even added events such as last year's ice skating rink to Corbin's downtown area, and has helped sponsor and host events such as the annual Moonbow Eggfest, and helped plan the city's Christmas Open House events in the past.

"It does make sense from a tourism standpoint," noted Kriebel. "Tourism and Main Street or downtown should have always been working together hand-to-hand in unison, because the two programs intermingle."

Tourism Board member, and local downtown restaurant owner, Kristin Smith said she has heard from other downtown merchants that they feel the city doesn't value downtown after getting rid of the downtown manager's position.

"Downtown needs to feel valued because a lot of people have put a lot of work into downtown," commented Smith. "Another message that is happening is, 'well, that gives us more voice on what kind of events we want to see downtown,' which I thought was really cool," she later added. "And I agree, I completely agree that there has been some programming that has been outdated, or we had no voice in how that affected our businesses."

Kriebel said in her preliminary discussions with the city, city officials indicated that there might be a $25,000 allotment the city would give to tourism to help take the program over.

"There needs to be more discussion between myself and the city about what the city's responsibility would be versus the tourism commission's responsibility, and what that $25,000 would be expected to go towards," Kriebel said.

Kriebel added that she expects to meet with city officials next week to gain more information about the potential consolidation of the city's downtown programming. She hopes that by the tourism commission's scheduled July meeting, she'll have concrete information to provide the board.

"At this point, it's really me coming to the board and saying, 'is this a notion that you all are willing to entertain?' Kriebel clarified. "I will say that I am willing to entertain."

"I'm definitely willing to entertain it," responded board member Jackie Willis. "Because I think you're doing three-fourths of the work anyway."

During the meeting, Kriebel also provided an update on the area's hospitality and lodging providers ahead of the holiday weekend.

According to Kriebel, Corbin KOA's campsites and cabins are currently booked 65% occupancy for this weekend. The Landmark Inn has ten open rooms for this weekend as of Tuesday evening. The Laurel Lake Camping Resort is completely booked, and Kriebel says it has a waiting list of about 20 people. The Sheltowee Trace Adventure Resort is booked to capacity. The lodge, cabins, and RV sites at Cumberland Falls State Park are fully booked this weekend, however there are tent camping sites still available on a first come, first serve basis.

Board member Sudhir Patel said the Red Roof Inn's rooms are completely booked for the holiday weekend. Chairman Victor Patel said his two hotels, Best Western and the Holiday Inn, are booked for about half-capacity so far. Board member Ish Patel says the Econolodge currently has some reservations, but still has more than half of its occupancy still open for this upcoming weekend.

"That's good news compared to what we've been seeing the last couple of months especially," commented Kriebel. "I do expect interstate traffic to be heavy."

Smith said she has noticed a lot more to-go orders at her restaurant, the Wrigley Taproom and Eatery, this past weekend. The Caboose Sports Tavern just reopened their doors Tuesday, while the Ice House will its open bar and dance floor Friday.

"It looks like we're on par to have a really good holiday weekend, which makes me very happy. It means people are traveling," Kriebel said.

Also during the meeting, board members unanimously approved buying a $500 half-page advertisement in Kentucky Monthly's August issue. Kriebel noted that the August edition will focus on the great outdoors and said she didn't want the summer to go by without the commission having some sort of advertising presence.

The $500 price is a reduction in Kentucky Monthly's typical half page price of $650. Kriebel said the monthly magazine has 100,000 loyal readers.

The tourism commission also approved of setting up its life-sized chess set in the plaza across the street from Sanders Park. The chess set was purchased last fall by the board, and will be free and open to the public to play.

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