The Harlan Tourism and Convention Commission is making plans to support Jordan Smith, a local man who has advanced to the live shows on “The Voice,” a popular singing competition.
Tourism Director Brandon Pennington brought the idea up to the panel.
“I’ve been in contact with Jordan about doing viewing parties, but I never really got back in touch with him,” said Pennington. “I didn’t want to do anything that might jeopardize his contract with “The Voice.””
Pennington mentioned Smith has now advanced to the live rounds of the show.
“Now that they’re in the live rounds — I wanted to see if it was something we’re interested in doing — hosting viewing parties here at the Harlan Center on Monday and Tuesday nights,” Pennington said. “One for the show, and one for the results show.”
Commission member Roger Fannin mentioned a television station from Knoxville, Tennessee had recently done a live remote from Harlan County High School.
“It was a viewing party announcing he was moving to the live rounds,” Pennington said. “He made the announcement from the remote that he was moving on.”
Pennington mentioned the live rounds begin in two weeks on a Monday with the live performances followed on Tuesday by the results show.
“We’ll have two weeks to start establishing the viewing parties here,” Pennington said.
The commission had no objection to the viewing parties.
Pennington moved on to an update concerning Harlan’s booth at the Kentucky State Fair.
Pennington told the panel distribution of brochures at the state fair was down from previous years.
“We typically distribute about 4,500 brochures,” said Pennington. “This year we did about 3,300.”
According to Pennington, there are a lot of factors that could have led to the lowered foot traffic at Harlan’s booth, with location likely having the largest impact.
“When you first come in, there’s a line of booths,” said Pennington. “We were on the very outskirts this year…There were only three booths on our line, and one of them didn’t even show up.”
Pennington said the view of Harlan’s booth was obstructed by a wall built for the Clay County booth.
Pennington stated he was greatly concerned that Harlan’s brochure distribution was down by approximately 1,000 while attendance at the fair was up by around 16 percent.
“Then, a booth directly behind us started playing music extremely loud, so when people would come in they wouldn’t even come down our line,” Pennington said. “I’ve addressed all these concerns with Susan Simmons, the director of the Pride of the Counties area, and told her if this is to continue we’re not going to be returning next year.”
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-909-4132 or on Twitter @joe_hde