The Harlan Tourist and Convention Commission has committed to help support three events this summer.
During a meeting Tuesday, the panel considered requests for grants to aid the annual Festival of Mountain Masters, the Going Back to Harlan Bluegrass Music Festival and the newly founded 421 Yard Sale.
According to Tourism Director Brandon Pennington, Harlan 20/20 is sponsoring the 421 Yard Sale, which is a planned county-wide event. The 421 Yard Sale is the only first time event requesting a grant, with the Going Back to Harlan Bluegrass Festival in its ninth year and the Festival of the Mountain Masters having a nearly 30-year history.
“Typically in the past we’ve only awarded two grants,” said Pennington. “We award them on the basis that they have a direct economic impact on the community.”
Commission member Annie Fox pointed out that in the past there have only been two applicants.
“They’re all worthy,” said board member Roger Fannin, referring to this year’s applicants.
After some discussion, the commission approved a motion to split the available grant budget of $3,000 evenly between the three applicants.
The commission also discussed the possibility of seeking a Trail Town designation for the city of Harlan. Other Harlan County cities are already pursuing this designation.
“Harlan was one of the communities that was left out of the Trail Town designations when it was first starting,” said Pennington. “Cumberland, Lynch, Benham and Evarts have already started working on Trail Town designations. They’ve been working on them for about a year.”
Pennington said Elaine Wilson from Kentucky Adventure Tourism has started Trail Town designation projects throughout Kentucky.
“It’s usually non-motorized trails,” said Pennington. “You have walking trails, kayaking trails, biking trails and so on. Jonathan Pope (Harlan County Magistrate) got in touch with me and said Harlan was one of the communities that was left out because we didn’t have access to these trails.”
Pennington said since the Cumberland River runs through Harlan, that could be turned into a kayaking or canoeing trail.
Pennington asked the board if they would want to pursue a Trail Town designation for the city of Harlan.
“There’s some work that’s already been done on that,” said Ledford.
The board decided to begin the process to pursue a Trail Town designation for Harlan.
In other activity, the board decided to research the possibility of bringing in nationally touring comedians to perform at the Harlan Center.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-573-4510, ext. 113, or email@example.com