City officials and first responders share safety tips ahead of Hillbilly Days Festival

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News at 11
Published: Apr. 7, 2023 at 10:39 PM EDT
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PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - The city of Pikeville is gearing up for its biggest event of the year. 2023′s Hillbilly Days festival is the 46th year of the event after missing 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic.

Director of Special Events Kevin Roberts says last year’s festival brought in around 150,000 people but expects an even bigger crowd this year.

“We’re anticipating anywhere from 170,000 to 175,000,” said Roberts. “That’s over three times the population of our little county here.”

Ahead of the event, first responders are reminding folks to stay safe with tips such as staying hydrated, drinking responsibly, keeping valuables in a safe location, and more.

“As far as valuables, lock your valuables in the trunk. Bring what you need with you, wallet, purse, things like that, but anything valuable, don’t leave it laying on the dash or in the seat of the vehicle for somebody to be able to see right in there and bust the window out trying to get it,” said Pikeville PD Public Information Officer Tony Conn.

Officials and first responders also suggest those with children have a plan in place in case your family gets separated, such as taking a photo of your child before arriving at the festival and giving your child emergency contact information.

“Put mom or dad’s name and cell phone number on a piece of paper, put in your child’s pocket, that way if, heaven forbid, the bad happens, they find somebody, there’s a way they can get in touch,” said Roberts.

Police, fire, and EMS will also be stationed in several locations across the downtown area and will be patrolling throughout the streets.

“We have officers along with fire department stationed at different parts of the city,” said Conn. “On Hambley, Huffman, and Main Street, so you’re going to have a police officer, EMT, fireman, very close to you at all times.”

Conn also added that several streets in the downtown area will be closed on Wednesday, April 19 starting at 5 p.m. to allow vendors time to set up for the festival.