Summer festivals in Kentucky faced with tough decisions due to COVID-19

Published: Jun. 24, 2020 at 5:52 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - We’ve seen a lot of festivals and celebrations put on hold this year because of the pandemic. NIBROC in Corbin has gone 67 years strong, but this 68th year is now canceled due to COVID-19.

Another popular festival, The World Chicken Festival, was canceled last week.

“You know we’ve played scenario one, two, three, four, up to 100 of them could happen, and we just came out to the same point,” said Kelly Burton, co-coordinator of the World Chicken Festival.

Burton says consideration went far past her and her co-coordinator.

“So we met with health officials, safety officers, our local government, we talked to our state officials and the consistent that came back was there’s just no way that we could be able to offer the chicken festival to the safety capacity that we would want to,” Burton said.

Festivals across the state and even country are doing the same.

But in small towns like Wilmore in Jessamine county and Eubank in Pulaski County, the events won’t stop.

Both towns are continuing with Fourth of July celebrations. Eubank Fire Chief Norman Rutheford says he’s just not worried.

“We have lots of room, social distancing is not a problem,” Rutheford said. “No one has to be close to each other, they don’t want to be making more masks if they want to. It’s everyone’s choice, it’s no different than being in a restaurant or whatever.”

He’s leaving up to people to decide what’s best for them. But he is doing some to try to keep things clean.

“There will be hand sanitizers available so everyone can wash your hands with it, so we do have hand sanitizer. Everything will be sanitized on a regular basis throughout the day.”

The cancellation of the chicken festival has hit tourism in Laurel County hard. Workers with tourism say they’re hoping to get another festival or carnival going in late fall or spring to help.

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