SOMERSET, Ky. — In their first event of 2021, the City of Somerset and the Somerset Tourist & Convention Commission are taking downtown out into Pulaski County.
The event, an open-air market from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 27 at Suits-Us Farm, is an effort to build tourism at home by showcasing all downtown has to offer to local residents.
“We’ve always known our best ambassadors are our residents,” said Leslie Ikerd, City of Somerset tourism director. “But what we have learned in the past year during the COVID-19 pandemic is how important it is to support businesses, artists and musicians right here at home that fuels our local economy. With this event, we’re uniquely focused on taking downtown outside of the city limits and promoting all we have to offer so that our residents will not only visit downtown but encourage others outside the county to do so as well.”
The #seemyset Art Market will feature a variety of vendors — including local and regional artists who will sell their work, plus several downtown boutiques and eateries. Food trucks will be available on-site and local musicians will perform acoustic sets throughout the day.
The highlight will be an auction to benefit art initiatives within the city. Bourbon barrel lids painted by local artists during the city’s Moonlight Festival in October will be auctioned during the event, with all money raised going to a new #seemyset Art Fund. That fund will be available to support future art projects within the city, Ikerd said.
The Somerset Tourism and Healthy Somerset will also unveil a downtown Mural Walk during the market. Residents and visitors will be able to visit Somerset Tourism’s website, seesomerset.com, to view an interactive map directing them to each of the murals downtown sponsored by the city and learn more about the artists who created them — an initiative that not only promotes the city’s growing arts presence, Ikerd said, but encourages healthy behavior.
The market is presented by Applied Behavioral Advancements. Owner Chris George, who also serves as the president of the Downtown Somerset Development Corporation, said the market will offer a unique setting to build excitement about what’s happening in downtown Somerset and showcase the community’s talented artists.
“We have so many incredibly talented artists in Somerset,” George said. “Certainly, we can see the murals around, certainly we all know a lot of them. But it’s not very often we get an opportunity to come to one location and see all of the diversity of their artwork.”
Ikerd participates annually in travel shows in metro areas like Cincinnati, Louisville and Lexington to spread the word about what people can experience when they visit Somerset. Because these shows were canceled in 2021 due to the pandemic, she said she embraced the opportunity to create something that focuses on growing tourism at home while continuing to promote the arts.
The #seemyset Art Market will be the same weekend as the No Boat Show Boat Show, an initiative of Lake Cumberland Tourism to showcase boat dealers, marinas and outdoor adventure businesses.
“We are always focused on ways to bring people downtown, but we also want to take opportunities to bring downtown to other parts of the county and promote the things people can find when they visit,” Ikerd said. “We are excited to partner with Lake Cumberland Tourism to do an event the same weekend as the No Boat Show Boat Show, as a way to promote our entire county.”
Suits-Us Farm is located at 4291 Ky. 80 in Somerset. Admission is free.
To learn more and see a complete list of vendors and artists participating in the #seemyset Art Market, visit See Somerset on Facebook (@SeeSomersetKy) or seesomerset.com and click on “Events.”