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New festival planned for Labor Day weekend

PIKEVILLE, Ky. – Local leadership has joined forces to plan a highly anticipated three-day Hatfield-McCoy Days event scheduled for Labor Day weekend, Aug. 31 to Sept. 2, 2013.

The Pike County Government, the City of Pikeville, Pike County Tourism, Pikeville Tourism and the Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce are all involved in planning, marketing and organizing the event.

“We are looking forward to this event,” Pikeville Mayor Frank Justice said. “I believe it will draw a crowd and be fun for local residents, too.”

Interest in the Hatfield and McCoy Feud grew following the broadcast of the History Channel’s Hatfield & McCoy miniseries in May 2012. Tourist from across the country visited Pikeville and Pike County to see the sites and hear the stories of America’s most famous feud. City and county tourism worked together to launch a guided tour in 2012, which proved successful and popular with sold out bookings.

“Being the most progressive county with the most progressive city in central Appalachia, it’s only fitting this event be held in Pikeville,” Pike County Judge-Executive Wayne T. Rutherford said. “This is the home of the feud and this is where people want to come and see the sites.”

The festival will feature arts, crafts, food, a triathlon, a parade and other activities. The Pikeville Rotary Club, Pikeville Kiwanis Club, church groups and other civic and nonprofit organization will be involved.

Our chamber is excited to play a role in another festival in eastern Kentucky; one that will provide local artisans and craftsmen an opportunity to bring their products into the marketplace. It is a great opportunity for our region to celebrate its heritage, while generating substantial economic activity for eastern Kentucky.

"We believe that growth in each community, positively affects its neighbors and the region as a whole," said Jared Arnett, President/CEO of the Southeast Kentucky Chamber.

The event will feature artisans and craftsmen from Pike County and across the region. Organizers are recruiting vendors who feature genuine, handmade products.

“Appalachian art is almost a brand name in itself,” Pikeville City Manager Donovan Blackburn said, who is also chair of Pikeville City Tourism. “The city wants to provide a public venue for artisans and craftsmen to sell and present their work. There is so much talent in this area and sometimes we forget how lucky we are to have so much talent around us. We want to build on our culture and heritage.”

Expanding the arts and cultural opportunities in the community is an ongoing effort of both the county and city governments. The city has worked with the Pikeville/Pike County Artisan Alliance to provide a newly renovated facility in a highly visible location on Hambley Boulevard and has also partnered with the Jenny Wiley Drama Association to construct a new indoor theatre in downtown Pikeville.

“As a city commission, we strive to improve the quality of life for our citizens,” city commissioner and mayor pro-tem Jimmy Carter said. “Events like this are important for that very reason.”

The first-ever Hatfield-McCoy triathlon will be held during the event and organizers are also discussing a fireworks display and a parade.

For over 20 years, Debra Huffman, Pike County Tourism CVB Chairperson, has been educating tourists and the community on the variety of exciting attractions and events our county offers, such as the Hatfield-McCoy Feud sites.

“Throughout the years, our commission has played the role of host, tour guide, historian, and ambassador” Huffman said. “Our common goal has been to shine a light on everything that is unique and wonderful about Pike County, Kentucky. Our rich history of music, theatre and festivals brings folks together, but it is our genuine hospitality that inspires our visitors to return year after year.”

The festival will conclude with a parade on Monday, September 2, 2013. Additional details for the event, including registration for vendors and the parade application, will be released at a later date.

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