Harlan is hosting ‘Dessert Week’ in efforts of promoting tourism

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Published: May. 16, 2023 at 6:21 PM EDT
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HARLAN, Ky. (WYMT) - Officials say summer is the start of a busy tourism season in Harlan.

Several restaurants in Harlan are participating in the city’s first ‘Dessert Week.’

Weekday broadcast of WYMT Mountain News First at Four

Harlan Tourism Executive Director Brandon Pennington said they are always trying to find new and creative ways to bring new people into the area.

”We really thought that this would be a great way to bring people out to try some of the desserts that a lot of our local bakers make and a lot of our restaurants make. We really wanted to focus on some of the locally owned restaurants as well, but there are some great options that our bakers and restaurants have made,” he explained.

Pennington said that because tourism is one of the biggest industries in Harlan, he thinks that this is a great way to bring visitors to more tourist attractions.

“This is a great way that we can invite visitors in our community to not only try our deserts, but they can also go out and explore all of the attractions that we offer to the world. The Black Mountain Offroad Adventure area, the Black Mountain thunder zipline, Portal 31, and then of course all of our natural assets,” he said.

He said that they were inspired by other food-themed events in other cities.

“We have seen kind of all over the nation that cities were doing burger weeks, and hot dog weeks and things like that, and we wanted to spice it up a little bit and do a dessert week,” he said.

He said that the demand for the desserts has been high, with multiple restaurants selling out.

“That is phenomenal that people are responding so well to this... We bought 500 of the passports and to divvy out among the community and to the visitors who come into Harlan and as of right now we are at under 100 left of what we have here in the office,” he explained.

Harlan County Beer Company Owner Jacki Bentley said she was warned by staff from other participating restaurants to make more desserts.

“We did not open until today so, a couple of our friends were able to give us a heads up and we tripled what we were additionally going to make based on their advisement because a lot of them were running out yesterday which is fantastic,” she said.

To get a passport, visit the Harlan Center.

Once a passport is completed, you can trade it back in for a free t-shirt.

Pennington said that the winner of ‘Dessert Week’ will be awarded a trophy.

To find out more, visit the link below.