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Jenny Wiley Festival still on the books for October

Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 6:40 PM EDT
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PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - While most festivals around the region were skipped this year due to COVID-19 concerns, the Jenny Wiley Festival in Prestonsburg is not expected to be one of them.

Prestonsburg Mayor Les Stapleton said the festival is still happening, bringing a few twists to the area’s annual gathering.

“Well, we’re going to have as close to normal festival as we possibly can," said Stapleton.

He said fewer booths will be in place this year to make the most use of the space provided without crowding people together. Music will take place on the main stage as usual with social distancing guidelines active. Carnival rides will be set up near City Hall, vendors will set up in the Sally Gate Lot and Municipal Lot and the arts and crafts tent will be open in the Richmond Lot.

Stapleton said the carnival rides will be cleaned between each run to keep down the possibility of exposure and workers and an EMT crew will be taking temperatures at every entrance and walking around the festival to keep things in order. But, he says, based on previous events like the city’s Independence Day celebration, he trusts the people to cooperate.

“Two things we realized. One was it’s not that hard to sanitize after each ride and keep things safe and to have the sanitizers. Second thing was, people do the social distancing themselves,” he said. “We’ve been very fortunate in the stuff we’ve done so far in that the people have worked with us on the COVID compliance. They’ve not been defiant. They’ve tried to do the right thing.”

He said the city is proud to play a role in allowing people to keep a sense of normal in unsure times.

“It’s very exciting to have this opportunity to allow people to come out and do stuff,” he said.

According to Stapleton, not everyone in the community is on board with the decision to continue with the festival but he believes it is the right thing to do.

“Some people think it’s a bad idea and they are not going to come out. And that’s okay," Stapleton said. "You know, we’re still gonna be friends. But there’s a lot of people that do you want to come out and do want to do these things. And we’re just making it safe as we can while we can.”

The festival runs from October 7 through October 10. The festival is expected to kick off with a pet costume contest hosted by Sheena Maynard, owner of Lou’s Place for Pets. To enter a pet or for more information, call (606)506-5068. That show begins at 6 p.m., the same time the carnival opens to the public. Mystery Meat Blues Band and KY Opry Junior Pros will both hit the main stage on opening night.

A full list of events is available on the Jenny Wiley Festival Facebook page.

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