Upcoming events were most of the issues discussed at last week’s meeting of the London Tourism Commission.
The commissioners agreed to sponsor a table for the Fireman’s Ball, which was held on Saturday, August 20th. The ball was held as a fundraiser for the London Fire Department, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The sponsorship was $500 – which passed unanimously.
The City Center concerts will end next month — but with two concerts on September 3 and September 10. Local bands will headline those shows, which are held on Saturday instead of the usual Friday night shows.
“We changed the dates to Saturday since school started and it’s hard for people to go out on Fridays,” said Chris Robinson, executive director of the city’s tourism commission.
Robinson also announced National Clean Up Day on Saturday, Sept. 20 — ironically the weekend before the annual World Chicken Festival begins. Robinson said teams and individuals can register for the event. The downtown festival will kick off on September 22nd and run until September 25th.
Sept. 23 and 24 will bring an archery tournament to the fairgrounds, with Union College seeking use of the area. Robinson said more than 350 competitors and spectators would come from eight states and requested use of the pavilion and restrooms during their race.
The Christmas tree in Town Center Park was also discussed. Robinson said a base for the tree was necessary to keep it in tip-top shape — at a cost ranging between $14,000 and $16,000.
“We’re looking for a drum base that will raise the tree about four feet. It will keep people away from it (the tree) and keep it out of the grass and mud,” he explained.
Commissioners voted unanimously to purchase the tree supplement.
Robinson also announced that he and other tourism members would be attending the Kentucky State Fair to represent Laurel County. Representatives include members of the Chamber of Commerce and city and county tourism officials to showcase the many attributes of Laurel County. The Kentucky State Fair began on August 18th and runs through August 28th. Robinson said this is the first time a Laurel County display has appeared since 2019.
Robinson also announced Honey Bun Day, set for Oct. 9 at the Farmer’s Market. Since Flowers Bakery is the largest producer of honey buns, the idea of eating honey buns for the World Book of Records has been discussed for a long time, but never realized. Robinson said the effort for that designation will be attempted this year. The honey bun eating contest will not be to see who can eat the most honey buns, but to break the record for the number of people who can eat a honey bun at the same time.
Patriot’s Day, September 11, will also bring an event to the London area. Falling on Sunday, the tribute to the nation’s first responders — with a focus on local personnel — will pay tribute to the sacrifices of those who serve others regardless of the dangers involved. Robinson said the event will be held on the fairgrounds property off KY 229.
Refurbishing the shelters at the bottom of Levi Jackson Park was also discussed during last week’s meeting. With plans for the new shelter area already submitted, commissioners voted to advertise the shelter project as well as special offers for the playground area. The design offers two shelters with fire pits in each, bathrooms and additional parking, while the playground area offers more modern and safe facilities.
Parks Director Mackey Williams announced that Whitley Branch Veterans Park will host a disc golf tournament on November 5th. The installation of the disc golf course has brought teams from all over the region for tournaments, proving it a hit among those involved in the sport.
Williams also asked for a raise for a city park employee, Glenn Chesnut, who does excavation work for the park. Williams suggested a wage increase from $18 an hour to $24.02. Commissioner Kelly Greene questioned whether the suggested salary was in line with the state’s suggested salary scale.
“We’re hoping to put him in a supervisory position. That way, Steven (Holt, Park Manager) and I can focus on other things with the park,” Williams replied.
Commissioners then voted to approve the new pay rate.
Holt then updated the commissioners on some activities and plans for the park area.
“We have Camp Spook planned and will keep Treetop Adventures open until later in the fall,” Holt said. “We’re cutting pool hours.”
Holt also said the reservation system for the camp was working successfully.
“We’ve had 246 reservations made online as recorded by park staff,” Holt said.
London Community Center director Brittany Cradic also reported that the facility was fully booked on weekends for the remainder of the year. She added that the interior of the community center will be painted in September.