FRANKFORT, Ky. — “Outlaws, Moonshine, and a Country Song: Embracing Your Cultural Heritage” will be the theme of the Kentucky Main Street Program (KYMS) fall conference Sept. 10-12, which will showcase the eastern Kentucky communities of Beattyville, Paintsville, Pikeville and Salyersville.
Local board members and program directors from across the state will explore tourist destinations, shopping, arts and cultural attractions, local restaurants, and other activities that highlight the unique nature of these small towns and how they are reaping benefits by showcasing cultural resources and adapting local businesses to capitalize on economic opportunity.
“For the last several conferences we have been looking at how to use local heritage and authentic experiences as economic drivers across the state,” said Kitty Dougoud, KYMS State Coordinator. “The communities we will be visiting this week are rich in stories, music, and more recently, legally produced moonshine, which appeal both to people living in the area and those who travel to experience them. We will be learning how these communities have been capitalizing on these assets to diversify their economies and tell the story of this part of Appalachia.”
The conference is part of a year-long celebration of Kentucky Main Street’s 40th anniversary. The program is administered by the Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office and is the oldest statewide downtown economic revitalization program in the nation, today serving 30 communities accredited by both KYMS and the National Main Street Center.
The conference gets underway at Noon Tuesday, Sept. 10 with an Appalachian-inspired lunch at the Saylersville Renaissance Center followed by tours of Gardner Farmstead, an agricultural complex listed in the National Register of Historic Places; Magoffin County Pioneer Village and Museum; and the Seasonal Shoppe, a downtown boutique. At 3:15, the meeting resumes in Paintsville with tours of the historic Sipp Theatre, the U.S. 23 Country Music Highway Museum, and the National Register-listed Mayo Mansion.
Wednesday, Sept. 11 kicks off with breakfast at 8:30 a.m. at Southern Biscuit and Grill in Pikeville, recipient of a Pikeville Downtown Economic Incentive grant, followed by a downtown tour, ribbon-cutting at Bridgett’s Quilting, and sessions at Appalachian Wireless Arena focused on the preservation of ghost lettering on historic buildings and how microbreweries and distilleries are spurring economic vitality. The meeting portion concludes with a roundtable discussion, and state and national program updates.
At 5 p.m., participants will see the play “Sally McCoy” at the Appalachian Center for the Arts followed by a tour and tasting at Dueling Barrels Brewery and Distillery and dinner sponsored by Pikeville Main Street.
At 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, the conference moves to Beattyville City Hall for a local project presentation followed by a visit to small business Blooming Sensations and a historic building tour. Lunch will feature an overview of the Town Square downtown revitalization project, and a tour of Chocolat Inn & Café will close out the conference.
Since its inception in 1979, KYMS has been responsible for supporting $4.5 billion of public-private investment throughout the Commonwealth. For more information visit www.heritage.ky.gov.