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Christmas at The Castle

Berea’s Christmas Country Dance School

Cakes by Camille Falconry in the Bluegrass State

Display until 02/11/2020

Composer Rachel Grimes’ Folk Opera



DECEMBER + J A N UA R Y featured 14 Sparkling for the Season The Kentucky Castle becomes a magical winter wonderland at Christmastime

20 Collective Joy Berea’s Christmas Country Dance School keeps folk traditions alive

24 Creative Currents Rachel Grimes’ folk opera uses the words and stories of Kentucky women from the past

28 A Sweet Life Shanon O’Banion and partners have made Cakes by Camille the place to go for specialty cakes in Campbellsville

30 The Other Sport of Kings Falconry takes wing in the Bluegrass State


voices 3 Readers Write 36 Past Tense/ Present Tense 48 Vested Interest


departments 2 Kentucky Kwiz 4 Mag on the Move

8 Oddities at the Museum 10 Cooking

34 Off the Shelf 38 Field Notes

6 Across Kentucky

ON THE COVER Joanna Clark at The Kentucky Castle; photo by Abby Laub. N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 9 • K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY




Test your knowledge of our beloved Commonwealth. To find out how you fared, see the bottom of Vested Interest. 1. The Jefferson Memorial Forest makes what disputable claim?

The Beach Boys and Bee Gees. Their first hit song was:

A. It is the largest municipally run forest in the United States

A. “Bowling Green”

B. It has the highest number of Kentucky Bigfoot sightings C. It has the highest concentration of indigenous trees in the lower Midwest 2. The U.S. Marine Hospital in Louisville’s Portland neighborhood was designed by Robert Mills, who also designed what? A. Salt Lake City’s Mormon Tabernacle B. The Washington Monument C. The State Armory in Frankfort 3. Meandering Kentucky’s northern border until it empties into the Mississippi River near Cairo, Illinois, the Ohio River begins at the confluence of which other two mighty rivers? A. The Susquehanna and the Monongahela B. The Monongahela and the Shenandoah C. The Allegheny and the Monongahela 4. From 1985 until 2008, Pikeville’s Woody T. Blackburn held which distinction on the PGA Tour? A. The lowest 54-hole scoring record (198, 18 under par) B. The longest streak of missing the cut in PGA championship events C. The most money won on tour by a red-headed left-hander 5. University of Kentucky graduate Chris T. Sullivan is best known as a founder of Outback Steakhouse and Carrabba’s Italian Grill. It’s no surprise that he’s a member of the Kentucky Entrepreneur Hall of Fame (2014), but few know he also is a member of which other hall of fame? A. The College Football Hall of Fame B. The Caddie Hall of Fame C. The National Baseball Hall of Fame 6. Muhlenberg County’s Phil and Don Everly, The Everly Brothers, were among the first class inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and are credited with influencing The Beatles,


B. “Wake Up Little Susie” C. “Bye Bye Love” 7. Bill Monroe, the “Father of Bluegrass,” was born in Rosine in Ohio County and was the first inductee into Owensboro’s International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame. Joining him were Earl Scruggs and Lester Flatt, who penned the theme of which popular 1960s television show? A. Hee-Haw B. The Real McCoys C. The Beverly Hillbillies 8. Ken-Rad (the Kentucky Radio Company) was an Owensboro-based light bulb manufacturer that created the illumination for which noted event? A. The 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, designed partly by Frederick Law Olmsted, who created Central Parks in Louisville and Ashland as well as in New York City B. Major League Baseball’s first night game, May 24, 1935, between the Cincinnati Reds and the Philadelphia Phillies C. The 4.2-mile Las Vegas Strip, known for its concentration of hotels and casinos 9. Newport in Campbell County was founded in 1791 and named for Christopher Newport, the commander of the first ship to reach which location? A. Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts B. “The Point,” where the Licking River flows into the Ohio River, across from Cincinnati, Ohio C. Jamestown, Virginia, in 1607 at the helm of the Susan Constant 10. Wilhelm Justus Goebel is widely known as the only U.S. governor to be assassinated, but the 44-year-old “Kenton King,” whom Irvin S. Cobb described as “reptilian,” is also the only Kentucky governor to never: A. Serve in the military B. Go by something other than his given name

C. Marry

K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY • D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 9 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 0

Celebrating the best of our Commonwealth © 2019, Vested Interest Publications Volume Twenty Two, Issue 10, December 2019/January 2020

Stephen M. Vest Publisher + Editor-in-Chief

Editorial Patricia Ranft Associate Editor Rebecca Redding Creative Director Deborah Kohl Kremer Assistant Editor Madelynn Coldiron + Ted Sloan Contributing Editors Cait A. Smith Copy Editor

Senior Kentributors Jackie Hollenkamp Bentley, Bill Ellis, Steve Flairty, Gary Garth, Rachael Guadagni, Jesse Hendrix-Inman, Kristy Robinson Horine, Abby Laub, Lindsey McClave, Brent Owen, Ken Snyder, Walt Reichert, Gary P. West

Business and Circulation Barbara Kay Vest Business Manager Jocelyn Roper Circulation Specialist

Advertising Lindsey Collins Account Executive and Coordinator John Laswell Account Executive For advertising information, call 888.329.0053 or 502.227.0053 KENTUCKY MONTHLY (ISSN 1542-0507) is published 10 times per year (monthly with combined December/ January and June/July issues) for $20 per year by Vested Interest Publications, Inc., 100 Consumer Lane, Frankfort, KY 40601. Periodicals Postage Paid at Frankfort, KY and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to KENTUCKY MONTHLY, P.O. Box 559, Frankfort, KY 40602-0559. Vested Interest Publications: Stephen M. Vest, president; Patricia Ranft, vice president; Barbara Kay Vest, secretary/ treasurer. Board of directors: James W. Adams Jr., Dr. Gene Burch, Gregory N. Carnes, Barbara and Pete Chiericozzi, Kellee Dicks, Maj. Jack E. Dixon, Bruce and Peggy Dungan, Mary and Michael Embry, Wayne Gaunce, Frank Martin, Lori Hahn, Thomas L. Hall, Judy M. Harris, Greg and Carrie Hawkins, Jan and John Higginbotham, Dr. A. Bennett Jenson, Bill Noel, Walter B. Norris, Kasia Pater, Dr. Mary Jo Ratliff, Barry A. Royalty, Randy and Rebecca Sandell, Marie Shake, Kendall Carr Shelton and Ted M. Sloan. Kentucky Monthly invites queries but accepts no responsibility for unsolicited material; submissions will not be returned.



I was pleased to see the Boundary Oak Distillery on your list of bourbon craft trail tours in the article “The Other Bourbon Trail” (September issue, page 14). As a Radcliffian, I am proud and pleased that our own Brent Goodin has done so well and worked so hard to uncover his craft, with his tours for travellers far and wide, and we welcome them all! However, this proud Radcliffian would like to edit the editor’s spelling of R a d c l i f f (with no “e”). Can’t complain about us appearing in your magazine, however, so thank you, but beware of the “e” around these here parts! ;) Cheers, Mark Page, Radcliff

Thanks for the outstanding magazine. I look forward to its arrival each month. It keeps me in touch with Kentucky, and I always learn new things about my native state. I always do the “Kwiz,” and in the October issue, question one puzzled me. I knew that answer B was incorrect because it states, “It [a confederate statue at the Calloway County courthouse] is the only Confederate statue in the South that doesn’t face true north.” I was surprised when I turned to

Readers Write the answers and found that “B” was listed as the correct answer. Monument Boulevard in Richmond, Virginia, has Confederate statues that face north and south, with the meaning that the ones that face north are of those who did not survive the war. I am not sure if any of the statues face true north or true south, because the boulevard is laid out southeast to northwest. I would expect that there are other exceptions to the answer. Thanks again for Kentucky Monthly. Bill Rice, Atlanta, Georgia

We Love to Hear from You! Kentucky Monthly welcomes letters from all readers. Email us your comments at editor@kentuckymonthly. com, send a letter through our website at, or message us on Facebook. Letters may be edited for clarification and brevity.

n Counties featured in this issue

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Even when you’re far away, you can take the spirit of your Kentucky home with you. And when you do, we want to see it!

Take a copy of the magazine with you and get snapping! Send your highresolution photos (usually 1 MB or higher) to editor@kentuckymonthly. com or visit to submit your photo.


Shelby County “Dixie Chicks” MARTHA’S VINEYARD Each woman in this group of friends turned 65 last year and visited their high school pal at the Massachusetts island to celebrate. Pictured are Susanne Busey Osberg, Pat Ethington Cariss, Kathy Howser Nichols, Masha Casey Miller and Dixie Nutt Taylor.


Arturo Alonzo Sandoval MISSOURI The Lexington artist, whose work appeared in the Micro Macro exhibition at the Foundry Art Centre in St. Charles, Missouri, stopped by St. Louis’ Gateway Arch.


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Grandkids at the Beach FLORIDA The grandchildren of Judy and Dick Hudson of Louisville are all smiles during Christmas 2018 at Seagrove Beach, Florida. From left, Clare McGaughey, Luke Ledvina, Kate Ledvina and Hudson McGaughey.

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Patricia Sneed and Dalton Haley HUNGARY

Patricia, formerly of Danville, and Dalton, formerly of Shelbyville, are pictured arriving in Budapest, Hungary. Both now live in Franklin, Tennessee.

Vacationing with her humans, John Williams and Holly Adrien of Villa Hills, Ruby fook a break from playing in the sand at Holden Beach.

uniting kentuckians everywhere. 1.888.329.0053

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• K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY



Across Kentucky

BIRTHDAYS DECEMBER 2 Mac King (1959), Hopkinsville-born magician with a residence at Harrah’s Las Vegas 7 Martha Layne Collins (1936), governor of Kentucky from 1983-87 7 Jennifer Leann Carpenter (1979), Louisville-born actress best known for Dexter (2006-13) and Limitless (2015-16) 18 Josh Dallas (1978), Louisville-born actor, best known as Prince Charming in the television series Once Upon a Time 22 Diane Sawyer (1945), Glasgow-born journalist/television show host 25 Gary Sandy (1945), Cynthiana actor best known Andy on WKRP in Cincinnati 28 John Y. Brown Jr. (1933), governor of Kentucky from 1979-83

Pie Champ, Commercial Star L

ynn Rupley Smith of Louisville has won a lot of blue ribbons for her baking skills—229, to be exact. It’s a skill she learned from watching her grandmother and mother fix dessert every night with dinner, and it earned her a starring role in Country Crock Plant Butter commercials now airing across the country. “My grandmother was from Madison County and had a huge farm … and she fed lots of people—tenant farmers and so forth,” Smith said. “She made big meals, and when she’d make desserts, it was four or five different kinds of pies, or three or four kinds of cakes.” When Smith’s mother married, she carried on the tradition. “I would just sit and watch her roll out piecrust every single night,” she said. “That’s the way I grew up. It’s just part of life. I’ve met people who never made a pie in their life. That’s just hard for me to believe.” So Smith knows how to make a pie, and the numerous Kentucky State Fair blue ribbons attest to that. Then the challenge came: bake with Country Crock Plant Butter instead of the time-tested, traditional dairy butter, and enter the desserts in the Kentucky State Fair.  Smith entered 16 pies and a sweet potato casserole, apprehensive about whether she would win a single ribbon. But she went home with five ribbons, three of them blue. Plant-based butter has a new convert. “They say it tastes the same as dairy butter, but I like it even better,” she said. Country Crock flew her to Vancouver to film a series of commercials chronicling her efforts, even featuring her husband, Curtis Smith, and granddaughter Andrea Ostertag-Powell. While Smith admits that she rarely sits down to watch television, she has caught a few of her commercials, which are scheduled to air throughout the winter and spring. “It is different to see your face on the screen,” she said. “It’s kinda fun.” BY JACKIE HOLLENKAMP BENTLEY


K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY • D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 9 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 0

29 Hal Rogers (1937), 20-term U.S. Representative from Wayne County

JANUARY 2 Bryson Tiller (1993), singer/rapper from Louisville, whose 2017 album True to Self debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. 3 Rebecca Broussard (1963), Louisvilleborn actress and model, and the mother of actress/director Lorraine Nicholson 4 Patty Loveless (1957), singer and member of the Grand Ole Opry from Elkhorn City 8 Crystal Gayle (1951), Grammy Awardwinning singer from Paintsville 11 Naomi Judd (1946), country music star from Ashland, mother of Wynonna and actress Ashley Judd 14 Emayatzy Corinealdi (1980), Fort Knox-born actress best known for the lead in 2012’s Middle of Nowhere 16 John Carpenter (1948), film producer and director from Bowling Green 20 John Michael Montgomery (1965),

country music singer from Nicholasville

25 Angie Gregory (1975), Paducah-

born actress/writer who has appeared in CSI: Crime Scene Investigation among others

Sullivan Cake War Thanks, Lt. Dan T V

he end is in sight for students in Chef Amanda Bell’s Global Pastry Arts & Design class at Louisville’s Sullivan University. It’s the last class before their internships and subsequent graduation with degrees in pastry arts. This particular class is going out with a bang or, at least, the ding of an oven timer. So, Dec. 2-5, the students have their own cake war, based on the popular Food Network show Cake Wars. “We have a pretty structured class,” Bell said. “We tell them what they have to do, we show them how to do it, and they do it. So they don’t really get a whole lot of freedom to do what they want to do … But this was what they’re wanting to do, because that’s what they see, and that’s what gets them interested in the career.” Groups of three to five students have three days to create a Christmas moviethemed cake. They present their cakes before volunteer faculty and staff from the main Sullivan University campus to be judged on flavor and design. “We have all kinds of ranges of movies—The Grinch, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Elf, Home Alone and The Nightmare Before Christmas,” Bell said. She added that this is a great way to let the students spread their wings, and, at the same time, learn from their mistakes in an instructional environment. “That way, they can do it and still have instruction because I am still there to help them,” she said. “If they’re going to do this out in the real world, they need to learn how to do it without fear of failure.”

olunteer firefighters in Madison County are now outfitted with the latest breathing equipment, thanks to a $53,600 grant from the Gary Sinise Foundation. The grant provided eight self-contained breathing apparatuses, along with facepieces and spare cylinders, to the 45-member Kirksville Volunteer Fire Department. The department, which operates on a $27,000 annual budget, covers roughly 75 square miles of the county. Fire officials say the new equipment replaces their old equipment, enabling them to respond to emergencies more quickly and safely. The grant is part of the Gary Sinise Foundation’s First Responders Outreach program, launched in 2011 by actor Gary Sinise, probably best known as Lt. Dan from the movie Forrest Gump. To date, the foundation has awarded more than 200 grants to fire and police departments, as well as other first responder outfits across the country. BY JACKIE HOLLENKAMP BENTLEY




Online ReNew

Telephone ReNew 569-3300

Mail-In ReNew

P.O. Box 33033 Louisville, KY 40232-3033

Jefferson County Clerk ViP serViCe

bringing you

Open 24 hours a day at

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Highlands Museum & Discovery Center 1620 Winchester Avenue, Ashland 606.329.8888

Highlands Museum & Discovery Center BY DEBORAH KOHL KREMER


shland is the largest city in northeast Kentucky, and the residents have done a great job preserving and sharing their past. This is evident in the historic and stunning Paramount Arts Center; Poage Landing Days Festival, an annual event that celebrates the city’s beginnings; and the 47-acre Central Park, which is transformed each year into a dazzling winter wonderland. The Highlands Museum & Discovery Center, located downtown in the former C.H. Parsons Department Store, focuses on embracing and sharing the rich history and culture of the area. A rotating art gallery features the work of local artists and several exhibits that incorporate antique furniture, clothing and artifacts owned by prominent Ashland residents of the past. Another exhibit, the Country Music Heritage Hall, displays costumes, recordings and memorabilia of country music superstars who called the Ashland area home. Performers like The Judds, Billy Ray Cyrus, Ricky Skaggs and Patty Loveless—just to name a few—have donated items in respectful remembrance of their roots. So, with all these Ashland-area pieces on display, this month’s Oddity, is … well … really odd. The collection of artifacts in the Ashland Goes to War exhibit includes Adolf Hitler’s telephone. Yes, the last phone the Nazi Party leader owned is in Ashland, Kentucky. Photo courtesy of the Highlands Museum & Discovery Center. 8

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“It is the item we are most known for,” said Amber Reeves, the museum’s marketing director. “The exhibit features photos of Ashland during the war, the Boyd County Honor Roll, and items donated by veterans, but everyone comes to see the phone.” The shiny black, rotary-dial telephone was recovered from Hitler’s Berlin Führerbunker, an air raid shelter that was the last of the buildings he used during the war. But how in the world did it get to Ashland? The wartime president of Ashland Oil, J. Howard Marshall II, was appointed by President Harry S Truman to serve on the American World War II Committee on Reparations. The group’s job included addressing the devastation from the war and making Germany pay. Somehow, those working with the committee managed to get into the bunker where Hitler committed suicide. There was not much left from the looters who had scoured the place for souvenirs, but, as the story goes, Marshall bribed a guard with two packs of American cigarettes and was able to leave with the phone, which he gave it to Ashland CEO Paul Blazer. In the 1980s, the Blazer family donated it to the Highlands Museum & Discovery Center for all to see. “When the buildings were being ransacked, apparently nobody else thought: ‘Let’s take the phone,’ ” Reeves said.

attention, writers... We are seeking submissions for the literary section in our February 2020 issue. Entries will be accepted in the following categories: Poetry, Fiction and Creative Nonfiction.

for guidelines and to submit entries,


kentucky monthly’s annual writers’ showcase

PENNED submission deadline: d e c e m b e r 11

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Ashland native Susie Norris—a pastry chef, food writer and educator—shares her expertise in her most recent cookbook, A Baker’s Passport. Based in Los Angeles, Norris draws culinary inspiration from her extensive travels. “I’m a lifelong culinary road-tripper, traveling through the world’s great food towns and traditions to explore what is baking where,” she says. “This book visits beautiful countries with artisan baking traditions. By exploring recipes in their regions, we help keep those traditions alive and relevant.”

Find More... A sweet sampling of recipes is featured here, but readers can find more on Norris’ blog,, and in A Baker’s Passport, which can be ordered from her blog.


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Wild Blueberry Pie with Cranberry Pecan Lattice Loaf Crust YIELDS 1 LOAF 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon baking powder 1¾ cups sugar 1 cup whole milk Zest and juice of 1 orange 1 teaspoon lemon juice 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ¼ cup vegetable or canola oil 2 eggs, beaten 1½ cups cranberries, or ¾ cup cut in half 1 cup pecans, chopped 1. Line a 9- by 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, allowing a few inches to extend above the pan to use as handles to lift the bread out later. Set the pan aside, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 2. In a large bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking powder. Add sugar, milk, orange zest, orange and lemon juices, vanilla and oil, and stir with a whisk. Add eggs and mix until smooth. Fold in the cranberries and pecans using a large spoon or rubber spatula. 3. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake about 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 4. Allow to cool before removing from pan.


half and flatten into two discs. Wrap each with parchment paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 20 minutes.

2 cups all-purpose flour ½ cup cake flour ½ teaspoon baking powder 1 tablespoon salt 1 cup butter, cubed 1 tablespoon lemon juice 1/


cup water

Egg wash (1 egg and 1 tablespoon water, mixed) FILLING: 4 pints blueberries (about 7–8 cups) ¾ cup sugar Zest and juice from 1 lemon 3 tablespoons cornstarch 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 tablespoon vanilla extract 1. Sift the flours, baking powder and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix at low speed for about 30 seconds, leaving some chunks. Add the lemon juice and water and mix at low speed for another 30 seconds. 2. Transfer the dough to a floured work surface. Knead just until the dough comes together, then roll out and fold like a business letter two times. Divide the dough in

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the filling by combining the blueberries, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon and vanilla in a medium bowl; set aside. 4. On a floured work surface, roll out one dough disc to about a 10- to 12-inch circle, about ¼- to ½-inch thick. Fit the dough in a 9-inch pie pan, pressing the edges. Pour the filling over the dough. 5. Roll the other pie dough disc to an 11-inch circle, about ¼-inch thick. Use a paring knife or the edge of a bench scraper to cut the disc into 1-inch strips. Attach seven strips to the edge of the pie dough in the pie pan. Place seven more strips perpendicular to the first seven strips. Weave a pattern of the strips using an over-under pattern. (In other words, take one strip and weave it over another one, then under one, then over again as you move across the top of the pie.) Pinch the edges together with your fingertips to seal, then flute the edges. 6. Brush the top with egg wash and bake for 40-45 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the blueberries are bubbling. Allow to cool and serve at room temperature.

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Yule Log Cake (Bûche de Noël) YIELDS 1 CAKE ROLL 8 eggs, separated 2 tablespoons vegetable oil ¼ cup honey 1 tablespoon lemon juice ½ cup bread flour, sifted 1 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons melted butter ½ cup sugar Chestnut buttercream (recipe below) Chocolate ganache (recipe below) Holiday greenery for garnish

For the Honey Roulade Cake: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. 2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the egg yolks, oil, honey and lemon juice and whip to full volume, about 5 minutes. 3. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and fold in the flour, salt and melted butter. Rinse and dry the bowl of the electric mixer and the whisk attachment, and return to the mixer. Add the egg whites and mix at low speed for about 1 minute. Sprinkle in the sugar slowly until incorporated. Beat the egg whites about 2-3 minutes, to medium peaks. 4. Fold half the egg whites into the batter, then gently fold in the remaining half. 5. Spread the cake batter into the prepared pan, smooth with an offset spatula, and bake for about 15-20 minutes, until the sides of the cake are golden brown. Let cool. 6. Spread chestnut buttercream over the cake, roll up lengthwise and rest the cake on its seam. Cool and ice with chocolate ganache, then garnish the Yule Log with holiday greenery.

CHESTNUT BUTTERCREAM 4 cups powdered sugar, sifted 1 cup butter 2 tablespoons milk 1 tablespoon vanilla ½ teaspoon salt ½ cup chestnut spread 1. Place all ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip until smooth, about 2 minutes. 2. Stir in chestnut spread until well combined.


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CHOCOLATE GANACHE 2 cups heavy cream 2 cups chopped dark chocolate 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 tablespoon corn syrup 1 tablespoon dark rum Pinch of salt 1. Place all ingredients in a medium bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water over medium heat. Stir occasionally as the chocolate melts, then vigorously until the mixture becomes a smooth sauce. 2. Remove from heat, and season to taste.

10 Consecutive Appearances on Jay Mathews’ List of Top Performing Schools with Elite Students 5 Straight Years Advancing to the National Science Bowl Competition in Washington, D.C. 136 National Merit Finalists

We come from all across Kentucky to The Gatton Academy on the campus of Western Kentucky University. As juniors and seniors in high school, we enroll in WKU courses, conduct research with WKU professors, and study abroad. While we are challenged academically, we thrive in a supportive environment designed just for us and make lifelong friends. Best yet, our tuition, meals, housing, and fees are all paid for by the Commonwealth of Kentucky. You, too, can have a future filled with infinite possibilities.

WEBSITE: / EMAIL: / PHONE: 270-745-6565



Class of 2022 Admissions Deadline: January 31, 2020

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Sparkling for the


Abby Laub


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online extra






f you’re from Kentucky, you know “the castle.” Officially known as The Kentucky Castle, this amazing, unexpected property resembling a medieval fortress sits on a hilltop overlooking U.S. 60 near Versailles. It has a rough history that includes neglect, fire and ownership changes. But The Kentucky Castle of today is known for its fine food, parties, opulence, scenic farm, premier events and exquisite holiday decorations. Design Director Mitchell Christian described the botanically inspired holiday decorations as echoing the Commonwealth’s “natural wonder,” with a design that incorporates green, white and gold hues resulting in a “sophisticated reflection of the true beauty of nature via colors, shapes, materials and design.” Christian added, “It’s an understated elegance. Every element captures an on-trend appeal while highlighting new and unique methods of delivery.” The castle was not always so lovingly decorated for the season. In the late 1960s, Rex and Caroline Martin wed and honeymooned in Europe before buying a 55-acre Woodford County property on which to build their own castle, having been inspired by European castles on their travels. Ground was broken in 1969, but by 1975, the property was put up for sale when the couple separated and later divorced. Eventually, the castle was sold by Rex Martin’s son in 2003 to Tom Post for $1.8 million. Renovations began, but in 2004, a fire broke out, leaving the interior irreparably damaged. The interior was rebuilt from 2004-07, and the castle opened as the Castle Post bed and breakfast in 2007. A few years later, the property was again on the market, and in 2017, it was purchased and renamed The Kentucky Castle by new owners Matt Dawson, Danny Bramer, Brian Adkins, Ryan Dawson and Jody Elliott. Under the new proprietors, The Castle has transitioned into a boutique hotel, spa, farm-to-table restaurant and event space. It hosts a plethora of events—including concerts, fairytale tours, teas, mystery dinner theater and more—as well as weddings and programs such as The Kentucky Fairytale, which helps local charities raise money. The owners acquired an adjacent 55-acre horse farm to double the total acreage, enabling the property to have a vegetable garden, mushroom garden,

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Photo courtesy of The Kentucky Castle.

UP C O M I N G E V E N T S AT T HE KE N T UC KY C AS T LE Christmas Brunch with Santa DEC 1, 12PM DEC 8, 12PM DEC 15, 9AM + 11:30AM

Nutcracker Tea Party with the Lexington Ballet Company DEC 5-7, 2PM DEC 19-21, 2PM

truffle orchard, chicken coop with laying hens, and an apiary. The Castle’s working farm provides as much of the food as possible for its Castle Farms restaurant. It employs a team of farmers and interns, and partners with Lexington’s Locust Trace AgriScience Center to help train the center’s students to be the next generation of farmers.

Bourbon Sensory Analysis II: Advanced Bourbon Sensory Analysis, KY Bourbon School DEC 11, 6PM DEC 22, 3PM

Holiday Bourbon Barrel Head Painting

When the holiday season draws near, The Kentucky Castle becomes a draw for those who want to view its jaw-dropping Christmas decorations. Chief Operating Officer Christie Eckerline said Christian is given free rein to make his artistic visions a reality when it comes to the facility’s remarkable holiday decor. “He gets visions, and he kind of rolls with it,” Eckerline said. “He has discretion to do whatever he wants. I know last fall, he was talking about what Christmas was going to look like. He was talking about the trees in the foyer. I was sitting there doubting last year’s decorations before he started, and—lo and behold—it came to fruition and was like walking into a winter wonderland.” Christian’s design last year was a stunningly extravagant, yet still cozy, display of snow, twinkling lights and trees that seemed to shimmer with ice. It felt like walking into a magical forest. “He has a style and vision of doing things that I could never dream of,” Eckerline said. “He visualizes it in his head and takes inspiration from nature. He’s also a gardener and does landscaping and designs our grounds as well. Since we are a farm-to-table establishment, the outdoors is important to us, so we bring the outdoors in.” In the spirit of remaining true to the region’s natural surroundings in the winter, Christian selects neutral colors, which also complement the existing décor. “Our ballroom is cream and gold, so we use the colors already in our space,” Eckerline said. “It shows off our space as well.” It also helps The Castle better accommodate so many different events, providing a sparkling and stunning yet neutral palette for everything from princess parties to weddings to corporate holiday gatherings. Sustainability is a consideration with the decorations. Local trees and greenery are used, many of which come straight from The Castle’s property and are native to Kentucky. Last year’s massive Christmas tree was cut from a local farm, and some of the wood from the décor was cut up and used for firewood in the ballroom’s massive fireplace after the holidays. The decorations go up immediately after Halloween and stay until the first week of January. Eckerline said that it took about one week with the entire maintenance crew helping to put up last year’s decorations. Visitors can enjoy the decorations by dining in the restaurant, staying in the hotel or attending one of many events during the season. Q

DEC 13, 6PM

New Riff Holiday Dinner DEC 19, 7PM

Holiday Edition KY Bourbon School: Bourbon 101 & Basic Palate Training DEC 26, 6PM

Disney Frozen Jr. Dinner Theatre DEC 28-29; 3PM, 5PM + 7PM

Mystery Dinner Theatre in the Ballroom JAN 2, 7PM

Bourbon Barrel Head Paining JAN 4 + 25, 2PM

Fairytale Tour with Castle Princesses JAN 5 + 19, 3PM

Ralph Stanley II & The Clinch Mountain Boys JAN 11, 7:30PM

Troubadour Concerts at the Castle presents Kathy Mattea JAN 12, 6:30PM

The look Miss Priss Prom and Pageant Store LEXINGTON


K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY • D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 9 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 0

Peplum Boutique LEXINGTON

Donna Salyers Fabulous Furs COVINGTON

Kentucky State Park gift cards one size fits all.

Purchase at your nearest Kentucky State Park, call 502-564-2172, or order online today.



Lodging Visit to purchase gift cards and to view our full schedule of upcoming winter special events.





“the nation’s finest”

N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 9 • K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY




By Kim Kobersmith


hen I sat down with Bruce and Maureen Spencer to ask about their experiences with Christmas Country Dance School, I knew I would need a comfortable chair and a large mug of coffee. Like many other attendees of the school, the Spencers have participated for decades, and it holds many significant memories for them— of dear friends, of trying new things, and even of their first introduction to each other. “For me, it is an extension of the holiday season. The Christmas traditions of dancing, singing, telling stories make Christmas a season rather than a deadline,” Bruce said. This year marks the 82nd gathering of Christmas Country Dance School at Berea College, making it one of the longest continuously running folk dance camps in the United States. Each December, people travel to this small town to enjoy a range of folk traditions, including dance, storytelling, singing and playing music. They have created a community, one that revels in folk traditions and extends to those who 20

have come before as well as those who have yet to come. The program today is remarkably similar to the first event in 1938. The schedule consists of five daily workshops offering instruction in both participating in and leading dance, music and crafts. Other elements include evening dances and community sharing times. The focus has shifted, as original attendees were expected to share what they learned with their home communities. While many attendees are leaders in their community folk dance circles, at the school they come together more for personal enjoyment. Living Tradition and Culture For Berean Olivia Jacobs, there is only one place she would be the week after Christmas. Since the age of 6, Jacobs, now in her 20s, has attended Christmas Country Dance School. She loves the way it passes on valuable cultural traditions. “My family is from the southern Appalachian mountain region, and CCDS is the only time of year when I connect to my cultural heritage in a

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way that is vibrant and alive,” Jacobs said. “The dances, music and stories give me a deep well to draw from, a sense of roots that many people lack in this globalized world. The traditions also connect me to those who came before me and those who will come after.” Pamela Napier lives in Bowling Green and grew up dancing at Christmas Country Dance School. Her late dad, Pat Napier, is a school legend. He grew up in Perry County and began sharing his native Kentucky mountain square dance—now called Kentucky Set Running—in 1952. For decades, he taught this tradition at the school. It is one he learned from his father, a square dance caller. Since Pat Napier’s passing, Pamela’s son, Jim Napier Stites, and nephew Ben Napier have picked up the calling microphone. Their Kentucky Set Running class at the school remains authentic to the historical practice of the dance. They still refer to a term paper that Pat Napier wrote years ago, outlining the style of the dance and the figures, or dance moves. While the tradition used to be passed along

Berea’s Christmas Country Dance School

keeps folk traditions alive

orally, Pamela said, “These aren’t done organically anymore. There just aren’t regular community dances.” Instead, the folk tradition relies on gatherings like the dance school for its place in living history. Other elements of school also encapsulate Kentucky traditions. The craft classes in woodcarving and basketry share skills that used to be an important piece of survival in rural areas. Folks like the singing Ritchie family and Lewis and Donna Lamb help keep alive the old mountain songs in singing classes and as accompaniment to the dancing. While many of the experiences are steeped in the cultural reference of eastern Kentucky and Appalachia, other folk traditions are included. Members of the school community from other places and cultures share their traditions. This year, that includes Morris Dancing from England and Bollywood from Indian films. Several classes on Danish-style dance are offered, thanks to a long-term Danish-American exchange in Berea. An event this venerable has many of its own traditions, special moments

that participants eagerly anticipate each year. On New Year’s Eve, the evening dance is interrupted for two of those. The Mummers Play is written anew each year in one of the classes and includes a fresh commentary and celebration on the school experience. Candlelight and a single haunting flute immediately evoke the reverence of the Abbots Bromley Horn Dance, first performed in England in the 1600s. Intergenerational Community The school experience is talked about with reverence by the attendees, and most who come once, keep returning. “For those of us who participate year after year, CCDS is a home,” Jacobs said. “It gives people permission to be their authentic selves and practice being part of a healthy community.” Several elements of the week contribute to the formation of a multiage group that is affirming and tightknit, yet welcoming. Through the variety of workshops and experiences—including individual dancing, social dance, singing and crafts—the school is accessible to

everyone and appeals to a wide range of ages and tastes. “First, it was about me and what I could learn,” said Maureen Spencer. “Then, it was about the social aspect of the dancing, and now, I mostly participate in the crafts. But really, it has become all about the people. I just want to be there and help others have the experience.” “Over time, the week becomes richer and richer,” Bruce Spencer added reflectively. The youth program helps those on the younger age of the spectrum—ages 6-12—feel welcome and included. Katy German, the youth program director for many years, described the five days with the 40 participants as “happy chaos.” Along with age-specific classes, each day ends with a social dance with kids, parents and other adults. Having grown up going to the school, German knows the importance of this special place for the younger generation. “Kids need these kinds of communal creative experiences,” she said. “There are not many opportunities in our society where families play together.” Many of the almost 40 teen and

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young adult dancers at last year’s school got their start years before in the youth program. “As a child participant in the program, I felt that it was unique, and I knew simply, as children do, that being a part of it brought me a sense of wonder,” Jacobs said. The school is composed of natural elements that connect people. Dancing is an intimate interaction that demands eye contact, physical contact and vulnerability. The rich tones of singing in harmony join people in one accord. As people sit together and learn a craft, they share stories, skills and spontaneous laughter. One unassuming event stands out as the glue that bonds and seals the community. Called Parlor, it is a sharing time for the entire community that often features songs, stories, memories and jokes. Patty Tarter, a member of the singing Ritchie family, leads Parlor. She emphasizes it is not a performance, and all attendees are welcome to contribute. “We foster a real sharing community that is highly participatory; it makes CCDS special,” she said. Jacobs agreed, saying, “The feeling at these community times is reverence, for the person sharing and for the tradition shared.” Maureen Spencer also emphasized its importance, saying, “At this stage in my life, Parlor is the most important event at Dance School. The music, the stories, the laughter. Oh, man!”

© Justin Wise, 2012

From bluegrass to jazz, country to hip-hop, and folk to classic rock, this exhibition provides a multi-sensory experience that crosses racial, social and economic lines to celebrate the rich, mostly untold, tale of Kentucky music.

829 W. Main St. Louisville, KY FRAZIERMUSEUM.ORG 22

K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY • D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 9 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 0

Communal Celebration In her book, Dancing in the Streets, Barbara Ehrenreich chronicles the historical human impulse for communal revelry and celebrations. She dubs it “collective joy” and laments that it has been smothered out of much of our modern world. But in Berea, for six days every year, collective joy is alive and well. Anne Hylton Ramsay was a Berea College student in the early 1970s when she attended Christmas Country Dance School. She spoke for generations of attendees when she wrote: “Often I would feel pure joy surge through being part of this perfect, beautiful thing we dancers and musicians were creating together—a perfect blending of body, spirit and music.” The members of the Christmas School community have managed to strike a rare balance between cherishing their community and welcoming others into it. I know, because I first joined in the revelry two years ago. People I didn’t know asked me to dance. They smiled at me and said they were glad I was there, even as I stepped on their toes while trying to master a contra dance. They encouraged me to try new challenges, like singing harmony a capella. I went back last year, and you may be able to guess where I will spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day this year. Q

7:30 PM • SATURDAY JANUARY 25, 2020 ( 2 7 0 ) 4 5 0 - 4 4 4 4 • w w w. t h e c a r s o n c e n t e r. o r g

The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, supports The Carson Center with state tax dollars and federal funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

“I hope viewers leave The Way Forth simmering with emotion, curiosity, and feeling a little unsettled...”

Creative Currents By Rachael Guadagni


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Folk opera uses the words and stories of Kentucky women from the past


here is something about the current of a river. Whether you are in it, on it, or viewing it from the shore, its pull is inescapable. Sometimes control over the water can be achieved, but mostly the sticks and leaves and people flowing along go where the river wants them to go—whether or not that was their plan. Such was the case with Rachel Grimes. A Kentucky pianist and composer with one foot in traditional music and another in contemporary folk eclecticism, Grimes began her life near the shores of the Red River and now resides near Carrollton, at the confluence of the Ohio and Kentucky rivers. The cadence of all three rolls through Grimes’ life as a metaphor for the people, places and events that formed the history of our Commonwealth. Tapping into that current would lead Grimes to compose the folk opera, The Way Forth, and graciously bring the rest of us along for the ride. “There was always a lot of music on both sides of our family,” Grimes said. “My dad played the piano, my grandmother—his mother—played the piano, and so from a very young age—and I’m talking like less than a year old—I started sitting there with them.” Blessed with the ability to play music by ear, Grimes continued with piano lessons, joined a rock band in high school, and eventually landed at the University of Louisville’s School of Music. “I decided to focus on composition because I’d always improvised and made up tunes,” she said, “but I really didn’t know how to properly write them down.” While playing in a band, singing in chorus, and performing traditional chamber music, Grimes met others who were doing things she refers to as “less than traditional.” “I started doing some sound design and scoring for small theater productions, and met a guy named Jason Noble in the Louisville music scene,” she said. “He was interested, too, in this idea of more theatrical music or music for movies, and making more moody, instrumental stuff.” Writing what Grimes describes as “contemporary

classical” compositions for guitar and piano, she and Noble began their collaboration in 1993. In 1995, the company that previously had produced a record with Noble wanted to do the same with some of what he and Grimes were doing. The two put together a compilation of tunes for guitar and piano as well as the string quartets that had been the focus of Noble’s earlier recording. They named their group “Rachel’s,” not in reference to Grimes but an earlier iteration of Noble’s band and a nod to one of his favorite characters from the movie Blade Runner, albeit with a different spelling. It was from this point on that Grimes moved in a new direction, working with bands, going on world tour, and being less “academically” focused. ggg

Then life’s current pulled Grimes and her brother, Edward, in an unexpected direction several years ago. “Each of our parents were living in separate places, they had been divorced for a long time, and both were needing medical help and to live somewhere with more assistance,” she said. After moving their mother and father into their respective facilities, Rachel and Edward then had to tackle the task of winnowing two households and facing the difficult decision as to what should be kept and what should be let go. “My mom had done a pretty good job of whittling down,” Grimes added, “but my dad had not. He had a lot of possessions in a sort of jumble.” Familiar with some of it, Grimes began to weed through many photographs, letters and documents that had been a part of her grandparents’ things. An upcoming road trip with her brother and cousins prompted her to put together a photo album they could all view and discuss. “Every time you open up a tub of photographs,” Grimes said, “you take all these different journeys and detours … ‘Look how that person looks just like my baby cousin’… It’s just this crazy journey that you go on when looking at family things.” During the journey, Grimes saw patterns emerging and stories coming together to form a sort of family tapestry. As she puts it, none of this was “linear,” but rather a “bopping D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 9 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 0 • K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY


The Way Forth album and links to video footage are available on Grimes’ website,

back and forth” between different people, places and time periods. She joined to delve further into her family’s past and learn more about the Calloway branch, who were part of the early settlement at Fort Boonesborough. After discovering that much of this portion of the family lineage was inaccurate, she read a book, Women at Fort Boonesborough, 17751784, by Harry G. Enoch and Anne Crabb. “I wanted to investigate some of the lore, some of the stories, the linear chronology of the settlement of

Kentucky,” Grimes said, “but also the daily life in Kentucky … through the eyes and ears and feelings of women.” Setting the record straight, as well as tackling the challenges of researching the past—particularly that of the African-American community, where data was even more difficult to obtain and sift through—began to take on a new life in Grimes’ mind. “It really seemed to be forming stories,” she said, “and it just seemed like a natural fit for making some kind of musical work.” Though she had written primarily instrumental music, Grimes had worked with others who used voice and narration in their compositions and thought putting together her own similar work would be an exciting challenge. “I can write the music inspired by these stories,” she said, “but it really needs to be heard in words.” In the spring of 2017, Grimes had composed nearly a dozen tunes and considered it largely a finished work when tragedy struck. “The night before we were supposed to premiere that work, my brother collapsed at work of a heart attack and died,” she said. Work on the project stopped for a while until Grimes reconnected with Catharine Axley, a filmmaker she had worked with about a month before her

brother’s death. Axley, a filmmaker in residence at the University of Kentucky, is an accomplished artist. “I attended Stanford’s Documentary Film & Video MFA program,” Axley said, “and one of my first jobs postgraduation was providing additional editing for the PBS digital series, Music Makes a City Now, that profiles Teddy Abrams and the Louisville Orchestra. The series was produced by Owsley Brown Presents, based in San Francisco. Little did I know then that four years later, I would actually become a Kentucky resident!” After meeting Grimes, hearing about her research, and listening to the beautiful melodies of The Way Forth, Axley jumped at the chance to work with her on adding film to the musical composition. “When I began listening to Rachel’s music and learning more about her project, I was so intrigued,” Axley said. When Grimes revisited the raw footage she and Axley had shot, the images had a cathartic effect. “It all flooded back,” Grimes said, “and I realized that what we were out there filming … was still vibrant and inspiring to me.” ggg The foundation of The Way Forth is people, specifically women whose

Kentucky Gateway Museum Center

215 Sutton Street

Maysville, KY 41056


Open Tuesday – Saturday 10am to 4pm

Steve White Paintings from the Museum’s Collection

Nativity Scenes from Near and Far

This wonderful exhibit features creches from around the world. From ornate to traditional, each display is unique and beautifully made. Exhibit open through January 4, 2020. 26

K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY • D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 9 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 0

KYGMC is home to a variety of original history paintings by Kentucky artist Steve White. This collection is now on display in our Wormald Gallery through January 4, 2020.

stories unfold with raw emotion and a level of pragmatism that defies description. The lyrics and the spoken words weave together beautifully with the music and transport the listener to a specific moment in each person’s life. Sharing their stories in a haunting and enchanting way are Dolly, a slave from the Boonesborough settlement days; Patsy, a Winchester woman who relates her experiences on a 19th-century farm; and Sara Katherine Simpson Jones from Lincoln County, who had to take a job with a family “in town” so she would be able to attend high school. Connecting with their lives—often in their own words—is what makes Grimes’ opus unique and compelling. “One of Rachel’s earliest ideas that I’ve been particularly excited about is the incorporation of ‘vignettes’ of everyday activities that mostly women have done from one generation to the next,” Axley said. “This includes drying rinsed peaches, shaking out a quilt, and holding hands with a loved one. In feathering these slightly abstracted moments throughout the piece, we hope that viewers will have a visceral connection to the past and be able to more fully imagine the lives and narratives that make up The Way Forth.” The album, as well as some of the video material, are available now on Grimes’ website, rachelgrimespiano. com. The feature-length version of the film is set to be released next year, aiming for community settings where Grimes can interact with viewers and discuss their impressions of it. “The dream here is that, once we get this film finished, I can take it around to a lot of different places in Kentucky and the region and have screenings and conversations,” Grimes said. These conversations reflect the connection among the people, their words and the music that Grimes and Axley have sought to create. “During our shoots,” Axley said, “we would drive to locations she had spotted over the years that emotionally resonated with her or that were directly connected to moments in history she was referencing in the piece. I hope viewers leave The Way Forth simmering with emotion, curiosity, and feeling a little unsettled. “Rachel’s music is gorgeous—at times poetic and gentle, and other times threatening and decisive—and with the film, viewers will be along for a journey that is beautiful, ugly and oftentimes incredibly contradictory. We hope that viewers will have a visceral connection to the past and be able to more fully imagine the lives and narratives that make up The Way Forth.” Q

steel BETTY JAN31

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& the ZYDECO experience


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bella FLECK abigail WASHBURN APR21 tommy CASTRO marcia BALL APR10

jonny LANG MAY1 502.352.7469 D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 9 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 0 • K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY


Cakes by Camille 111 East Main Street Campbellsville, 270.789.0672 STORE HOURS:

Tuesday–Friday 10AM–5PM Saturday 10AM–2PM Closed Sunday and Monday

a sweet life BY DIANA C. DERRINGER


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Shanon O’Banion and partners have made Cakes by Camille the place to go for specialty cakes in Campbellsville

Although well-known in south central Kentucky, Shanon Camille O’Banion’s bakery, Cakes by Camille, has acquired a national reputation. It all began in June 2018 when a casting agency for the Food Network’s Winner Cake All baking competition show discovered the Campbellsville business online. Impressed, a representative left Shanon a voicemail and email to ask if she would be interested in an audition.

SWEET SURPRISE “I just about fell over,” Shanon recalled. Although “cautiously excited,” she first verified that the call and email were legitimate. When Andrea Harmon arrived for work at the bakery, she urged Shanon to call. An application, introductory video, and four or five telephone and online video interviews followed. Around 6 p.m. on Aug. 1, 2018, Shanon received a call: “We need you to make us a cake by 2 p.m. tomorrow.” The sculpted cake required a superhero theme with a cape. Both Shanon and Andrea had birthday parties planned for their children. Back-to-school preparations for the women’s kids were in full swing. Their baker, Cheryl Mings, was out with a sick child. Shanon had gone home for the day, and Andrea was at church. However, they met at the store that evening to plan their design. They made the cake and sent their photo between attending to customers the next day. Appropriately, they chose “Mighty Mom” as their hero. She wore red lipstick and juggled

multiple responsibilities, represented by a baby bottle, coffee mug, pile of laundry and smartphone. Though they were excited, Shanon and Andrea were not allowed to tell anyone, other than immediate family, what was going on until network promotion began. On Oct. 17, they flew to California to tape episode nine. The set for the show was “just as crazy as people imagine,” according to Shanon. Each of the four competing teams had one hour during the first round to make a feast-themed cake topper. Shanon and Andrea decided to go with “who we are—Southern and country.” Remembering their grandmothers’ Sunday dinners, their cake topper included fried chicken, green beans, mashed potatoes, cornbread, dressed eggs and tomatoes. They survived the first team elimination. However, they had no time to celebrate, with only five hours to create a Guy’s Grocery Games cake. Andrea, who had watched many of Guy Fieri’s shows, was thrilled with the theme. In spite of the pressure of a national television appearance, their time crunch, and uncertainty about on-site baking ingredients and supplies, Shanon said they had to overcome their fears and just do what they knew to do. Because the filming took place in an outdoor tent, Shanon and Andrea refrigerated their individual cake pieces as soon as they made them. Otherwise, the Pacific Coast heat would have ruined the butter cream and fondant. Because they had to wait until the last minute to put their cake together, it looked like they had nothing to offer during most of the competition. The two other teams did not refrigerate. One suffered a major cake catastrophe; the other successfully regrouped and won the competition. Andrea said that she and Shanon “wanted to make something their brand, city and families would be proud of, and I think we did that.” So did their audience. Although their cake did not win, it wowed the crowd.

SWEET BEGINNINGS Shanon worked in the auto industry until her son’s birth. For a brief time, she sold cooking supplies and worked in medical transcription. Then, the woman who was supposed to bake her son’s first birthday cake went out of town. Shanon, who had always enjoyed baking, decided to make the cake herself. Recalling her grandmother’s artistic flair with cakes, she released her creative DNA. The result: a three-tiered fondant cake with topper, followed by a never-ending flow of requests for her creations.

After she made around 100 cakes, baking and decorating supplies spilled from every drawer and door in Shanon’s kitchen. With a business management degree, she had hoped to own her own business eventually. She met Chef Buddy Valastro at a book signing. He looked at pictures of her work and encouraged her to follow her dream. In 2012, with her husband Jonathan’s support, Shanon installed a commercial bakery in their basement. In February 2016, she moved to her first downtown Campbellsville store. Eleven months later, she set up shop at 111 East Main Street, her current location. Constructed in 1887, the building has an exposed brick interior and revitalized exterior that add to Main Street’s historic charm. Shanon’s brother, graphic design artist Jeffrey Mardis, chose Shanon’s middle name for her business title and design. As Cakes by Camille grew, Shanon knew she needed help. Andrea, who had baked from home for about nine years, joined the Cakes by Camille team. With Cheryl’s baking talent added to the mix, satisfied customers keep spreading the word.

SWEET DREAMS Shanon never imagined such success. With calls for weddings and parties, plus a constant flow of walkins, Cakes by Camille has become the go-to business for community events. When the Taylor County Public Library celebrated its 40th anniversary, Cakes by Camille created a stack of classic books that appeared as ready to read as they did to eat. Former library Director Elaine Munday said, “Who could forget that cake? It was wonderful—so realistic and so fitting.” The Cakes by Camille team also made Campbellsville’s bicentennial cake with local scenes, signs, and buildings, and topped with the bicentennial seal. Campbellsville recognized Cakes by Camille as its 2019 Business of the Year. Winner Cake All gave Shanon and Andrea new perspectives and increased their confidence. “Shanon’s mind is always churning,” Andrea said. “Every day, we walk into something new.” As their fan base expands to other cities, they continue to experiment with new recipes, decorations and social media promotion. “Who knows what 10 more years will hold—what God has in store?” Andrea said. Who knows, indeed? The bakery’s cakes, cupcakes, cake pops, cookie sandwiches, chocolatedipped treats and more keep customers coming back to share in the sweet taste of success. Q

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Falconry takes wing in the Bluegrass State

The Other Sport of


By Joel Sams // Photography by Rebecca Sams


t’s a warm Sunday afternoon in October, and I’m strolling through a scrubby field in Carlisle, scanning the cover breaks. A beagle named Peter has disappeared under a carpet of milkweed, goldenrod and cocklebur. An empty tobacco barn looms behind us, tall piles of stripped hemp stalks on each side. It’s a rabbit hunt. But there are no shotguns in sight. Today, we’re hunting with hawks. To be more precise, they’re hunting with us. I’ve tagged along on a falconry hunt with two members of the Kentucky Falconers Association to take a closer look at a venerable sport that’s experiencing a renaissance in Kentucky. Falconry has ancient roots, beginning as early as 1700 BC. The name conjures images of the past—the emperor hunting with his eagle; the prince with his peregrine; the lady with her merlin; the knave with his kestrel. But the sport is very much alive in the present, as the growth of the Falconers Association attests. The group, which disbanded in the 1980s, re-formed in 2017 and continues to attract new members. What’s the draw for this rare breed of hunters? Why train and meticulously care for a hawk when a 12-gauge is no fuss and cheap to shoot? That’s what I’m here to learn. Clint Carpenter, president of the KFA, has brought a red-tailed hawk. Darrell Layne, who also is the chief of police in Carlisle, has brought a Harris’s hawk. The two have been flying and hunting together for quite a while—Darrell got Clint started in the sport, serving as his sponsor (one of the many requirements to get started in falconry). Darrell learned about falconry as a young teenager while watching a special on Kentucky Educational Television, became actively involved in his 20s, and was the first person to bring falconry to the Carlisle region. “It’s addictive,” he says. “And it gets worse every year, not better. There is no feeling in the world like turning a hawk loose, hunting with it, and watching it come back.” Clint opens the back of his lime-green Jeep to access the “giant hood”—a darkened box used for transporting hawks safely. He removes a red-tailed hawk that perches on his wrist, adjusting to her surroundings. Leather straps called “jesses” encircle her legs, allowing Clint to hold her steady. Her legs also sport tiny bells attached with slender straps called “bewits.” “What’s her name?” I ask. Clint shakes his head. “No name,” he responds. I guess I’ll call her Red. When he feels she’s ready, Clint launches Red into the air. Rather than sailing downhill to the creek bed, she perches on the ridge of the tobacco

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Clint Carpenter with his red-tailed hawk

barn, watching the brush intently. Peter and a supporting cast of two—Django and Maggie—dash off to chase rabbits. Clint follows the dogs, so I strike up a conversation with Darrell. Darrell serves as sponsor for his region, which means any would-be falconers within his territory begin by sending inquiries to him. He says the process is demanding—deliberately so. New falconers begin by finding a sponsor, taking an exhaustive written exam, building special housing (called a “mews”) to detailed specifications, having their facilities inspected by a Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources conservation officer, and completing a Kentucky Falconry Permit application, all before they even begin to hunt. After that, there’s a two-year minimum apprenticeship stage in which falconers document the dates they’ve possessed birds, how many days the birds were flown, and details on game taken, in addition to working closely with the sponsor to complete regular facility inspections. For many people, the commitment is just too much. “When people find out what’s involved, that’s usually the last time you hear from them,” Darrell says. “People call it a hobby, but it’s not. It’s a lifestyle.” Suddenly, a howl rings up from the brush near a dry creek bed, and my skin prickles. Peter is on the scent of a 32

rabbit. Red heard it, too. The change in her is apparent. “Look at her,” Darrell says. “See how she’s crouched forward, bobbing her head? She sees him.” Sure enough, Red is rocking and bobbing, intent on the action all but invisible to us land-dwellers. During hunting season, she’s kept at what falconers call “hunting weight.” In layman’s terms, she’s motivated. Darrell cocks his head, listening to the beagle. “That’s a big rabbit,” he says. He explains that rabbits follow a consistent path, almost like a racetrack. Rather than being predictable, and therefore a liability, this tactic gives rabbits an edge over predators. They know every rock, stick, dip and gulley, which allows them to run all-out until they reach shelter. The bigger the path, the bigger the rabbit. “I’ve seen a rabbit jump 4 feet in the air, right over a hawk, just before it hits the ground,” Darrell says. Clint emerges from the brush. He’s filthy, sweaty and bleeding in a few places, but he looks as happy as Peter the beagle, maybe happier. Peter hollers again, even farther downfield. “Big rabbit,” Clint says. Throughout the afternoon, the easy familiarity with which Clint and Darrell discuss the habits of rabbits, squirrels, dogs and hawks reminds me,

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again, that there is a great difference between an outdoorsman and someone who hunts from time to time. These falconers are not just invested in their birds; they’re invested the whole process, from the ground up. Suddenly, Red dives off the barn and strikes, maybe 50 yards out. “Clint, she’s hit the ground!” Darrell yells. When we catch up with Red, she’s sitting on nothing. We figure she had missed, until Clint picks her up and finds a little garter snake lodged in her talons. He casually pulls it away and chucks it in the brush. “Afraid this snake ain’t gonna make it,” he says. He casts her off again, and she lands on a perch halfway up a black walnut tree in a creek bed. “She’s in the game now,” Clint says. “See her bobbing her head? She’s watching it in the grass.” Peter is bawling his head off. The bells on Red’s ankles ring as she jumps higher in the tree, then higher still. “Oh, she sees it!” Clint says. “Good girl.” But Peter has moved on again, bawling down in the holler. Frustrated and hungry, Red takes off to catch up with the beagle. “He’s coming back!” Clint yells. Sure enough, Peter has turned the rabbit. Red is now sitting in the top of a dead sycamore, eyeing the terrain with ferocious intensity. If the rabbit makes the mistake of running across

The author calls in “Red”

the open hillside, it will, in Darrell’s words, “have problems.” But soon, the beagle goes silent. The rabbit’s holed, Clint says. And rabbit psychology dictates it will not likely come out again today. Clint calls Red in with a piece of game reserved for this purpose. Falconers call it a “tidbit.” He feeds her a morsel, waters her with a squirt bottle and gives her a well-deserved rest in the giant hood. Darrell casts off his Harris’s hawk, Phoenix. “They’re smart birds,” he says. “It’s amazing what they can do.” In the wild, Harris’s hawks hunt in packs. The males, which are significantly smaller than the females, scratch around on the ground to cause the prey to jump, while the females hunt from the air. But what they offer in terms of brains, they lack in weight, which means they can’t punch through dense underbrush. Today, working alone, Phoenix will wage a war of strategy, watching the cover breaks and waiting for her chance. All birds will miss sometimes, but Harris’s hawks are more calculating, pickier about which chances they will take. Phoenix chooses a dense maple and sits, lethargically. She’s not used to hunting with Peter the beagle. Darrell says once she understands he’s jumping up game, she’ll come to life. Unfortunately, that chance never comes. Peter comes up short on rabbits. Clint does, too, and not for lack of trying. Darrell calls Phoenix back and puts her in the giant hood. Clint gives Red one more chance by a dried-up pond. It’s late now, and the insects are cacophonous, the shadows long. Peter dives into the brush, eager. Red is focused, ready to redeem herself. “This is all up to her,” Darrell says. “We’re basically like the dogs. We’re trying to scare up game for her, but

she’s the one making all the choices.” Finally, I sit. A creek bed lines the seam of two hills. In a tree at the far end, over the tops of goldenrod, I see Red, patient and still. “Get in there, Peter, let’s go!” Clint says. There’s a terse edge to his voice now, as the light begins to fail. Peter isn’t getting any scent. He’s off in a thicket, but the longexpected howl never comes. The insect chorus fades to a mezzo piano. Red has decided, now, that it’s quitting time. She ruffles her chest feathers and pulls one leg under her body—she’s roosting. “When the sun starts to go down, they’re not thinking about rabbits,” Darrell says. “She knows this day is shot. She’s done.” “Well, that’s it,” Clint says. He looks apologetic. Then, as if to make up for the lack of rabbits, he asks, “Do you want to call the bird to you?” I don’t hesitate. Moments later, glove on, I’m waving a skinned rabbit leg in my left hand, fist outstretched toward the hawk on her perch. She bobs her head suspiciously. “Get closer,” Clint says. I walk up the hill, shaking the tidbit and hollering, ludicrously, “Here! Come on!” To call a pet is one thing. To call a wild creature—a predator—is another. It feels audacious, like commanding rain or hail. It feels, perhaps, like a prayer—offered without expectation, but not without hope and not entirely without fear. The hawk stirs, her bells jangling. She leaps, speeding effortlessly on parallel with the hillside. The cool wind sings in her feathers. Involuntarily, I flinch. She lands on my fist perfectly, precisely, but the last thing I saw—what I still see—is the bird in flight, wings bearing her up, beak angled dangerously into my line of vision. In the fading light, trudging through milkweed and goldenrod, I know why falconry captures hearts, absorbs waking moments, and wrecks all sense of proportion for the practitioners of the sport. It’s not about the hunt, as such. It’s about the privilege of bearing witness to these raptors; seeing the world through their eyes; and at the end of a long day in the field, calling to your fist a creature of the air. Q

First Steps: Getting Started in Falconry To read more detailed steps, with links and contact information, visit: 1. Request a falconry information packet from the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources. You can call 1-800-8581549 to have one sent to you. 2. Find a sponsor. Your sponsor will be an important person in your falconry journey. The sponsor will need to provide a letter to KDFWR stating his or her willingness to sponsor you when you send in your application. The sponsor also is required be present when you trap your first wild bird and to perform regular inspections of your bird and facilities. 3. Take the exam. The exam is not easy. It is recommended you study and read up on falconry topics such as care and maintenance, equipment, healthcare, hunting techniques, training, and federal and state regulations prior to taking the exam. It is required that you pass (80 percent or higher) the exam before applying for your permit. 4. Have your facilities inspected. Your local KDFWR conservation officer will inspect your facilities and all legally required equipment. The officer will need to sign the “Raptor Facilities and Equipment Inspection Report” form, which will be one of your application materials. 5. Send in your application materials. To obtain your apprentice permit, you must submit the following materials: A completed and signed Kentucky Falconry Permit Application One check payable to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources for $75 A completed Raptor Facilities and Equipment Inspection Report form, signed by a KDFWR law enforcement officer and the applicant A letter provided by your sponsor indicating his/her willingness to sponsor you In around 30 days, you will receive your falconry permit. Make copies of the letter notifying you, the permit paper and the permit card. Save these in your files. Also, join the Kentucky Falconers Association.

D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 9 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 0 • K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY



Off the Shelf (P)-Paperback (C)-Clothbound (H)-Hardback

Dying Is an Art

Young Mobster

Inspired for the Week

Death by Drama: A Josiah Reynolds Mystery

Chicago Heights: Little Joe College, the Outfit, and the Fall of Sam Giancana

Monday Morning Pep Talks: Inspiration to Make Your Week Thrive

In this installment of Abigail Keam’s “Death by …” series, readers follow their favorite sleuth, Josiah Reynolds, into her latest adventure. As with the other books in the series, Death by Drama is a lighthearted whodunit full of quirky characters and engaging dialogue. This story follows Josiah as she joins an amateur thespian group with hopes of making friends and possibly getting to spend more time with handsome and possible romantic interest Hunter. But the leading lady turns up dead, and Hunter and his brother are suspects. Join Josiah in the fun pursuit of solving the mystery. Keam, who lives on the Kentucky River Palisades, is an award-winning writer of the Last Chance Romance Series and The Princess Maura Tales Epic Fantasy Series, as well as the Death by … series. She also is an awardwinning beekeeper.

By Colene H. Elridge, CreateSpace Independent Publishing, $20 (P)

Don’t you wish you had a coach who would give you an encouraging pep talk each Monday? Well this book is designed to do just that. Made up of two- to three-page chapters that are designed to be read at the beginning of each week, Monday Morning Pep Talks is the perfect beginning to the dreaded Mondays. Each chapter, similar to a short sermon, addresses a simple idea— such as trying a little, removing the drama, and putting yourself as a priority. One chapter even encourages you to be the weirdest person you know. The plan is to change the outcome of this life’s journey and to start Mondays out on the right foot. Author Colene H. Elridge, or Coach Colene as she is known, spent 15 years in human resources and continues to help people create good work lives and have the best personal lives they can. Think of Elridge, who lives in Georgetown, as a superpositive best friend who wants to share her good qualities with you. BY DEBORAH KOHL KREMER



By Abigail Keam, Worker Bee Press, $15 (P)

By Charles Hager, with David T. Miller, Southern Illinois University Press. $22.95 (P)


Thirteen-year-old Charley Hager couldn’t have had any idea how his life would be influenced when Uncle Columbus invited him to visit his home in Chicago during the summer of 1963. The visit proved quite a respite from Charley’s life in rural West Virginia, where the influence of an alcoholic father and poverty made the allure of living large around the environment of his uncle’s nightclub in Chicago Heights gave him hopes for a way out of his misery. In time, the experience also put him on a path for a whole heap of trouble with his involvement in mob life, including jail time. Hager, along with the skillful help of Lexington author David T. Miller, shares his life story in Chicago Heights: Little Joe College, the Outfit, and the Fall of Sam Giancana. It’s not for the faint-hearted, as Hager becomes “a bit player in the events surrounding the mysterious, and yet unsolved, murder of mafia chief Sam Giancana.” And though it’s not been proven, Hager presents his own take on the murder, detailed and replete with the authenticity of one who knows the territory. BY STEVE FLAIRTY

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• K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY



Past Tense/Present Tense


“You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out!” And Other Memories of Christmases Past BY BILL ELLIS


hristmas is always the same at my house. I sit alone in our small sunroom watching a video. The sound for A Christmas Story is turned down low so as not to disturb my wife or visiting family members staying the night. I have to stifle my laughter, as scene after scene reminds me of growing up on Snow Hill outside Shelbyville around Christmas 1950. I admit my addiction. A Christmas Story is writer Jean Shepherd’s reverie of what life was like for a young boy in the late 1940s or so. Made into a movie in 1983, it is a film my family refuses to see anymore, hence I sit alone. The truth is that practically everyone, if they have any imagination at all, had childhood dreams like Ralphie. Ralphie wants a Red Ryder BB gun in the worst possible way. He fears his parents are not going to get him the gun, but they actually do. He then proceeds to almost shoot his eye out, when the BB he shoots ricochets from a target attached to a metal sign into Ralphie’s cheek, knocking off his glasses. He searches for the glasses in the snow, accidentally steps on them and crushes them, and then lies to his mother about how his glasses were broken. But it all turns out well in the end. Mom believes his cock-and-bull story about how the glasses got broken (I won’t belabor his wild tale). Well, I never got a Red Ryder BB gun for my birthday or for Christmas, but a neighbor kid once did. One beautiful summer day, he and some other kids were shooting at birds in a tree. None of them came close. I smarted off and said, “I bet I can hit a bird.” I cocked the lever, took dead aim, and killed a beautiful robin. Because of that sad occurrence, 36

K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY • D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 9 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 0

to this day, I prefer fishing to hunting. I admit to being a carnivore—my capacity for hamburgers and hot dogs has not diminished as I have aged. I suppose I am a hypocrite. Another Christmas experience forever scarred me. I had a brief acting career. When I was about 12 or 13, the First Baptist Church of Shelbyville decided to have a Christmas play. I was among a group of young boys playing shepherds. Our roles consisted of sitting around an artificial campfire (a light bulb under a piece of red crepe paper), discussing the promise of the birth of Christ. We were dressed in flannel bathrobes with bath towels wrapped around our heads. We must have looked ridiculous. Each of us had only a few words to say. If there was a rehearsal, I don’t recall it. We hadn’t learned our lines, which were typed on a paper that lay in front of each of us. It was hard to see because of the red glow coming from the crepe paper. We got our lines mixed up, and none of it made much sense. Someone was supposed to say, “Lo, I have seen the star.” I was supposed to reply, “We must go to Bethlehem.” However, we got our lines reversed, thereby confusing us. The third boy, as I recall, didn’t say a word. Someone turned off the light bulb, and we stumbled off the stage into the darkness. I was so embarrassed. There went my chance for fame, an acting career nipped in the bud. Oh, the horror of it all! Well, enough attempts at humor. Christmas is an important time of the year in the Ellis household. If all goes well, our daughter and her family will be in from Tyler, Texas, and our son and his family, including the two

youngest great-grandchildren, will be there on Christmas Eve. There will be a brightly lit artificial tree surrounded by presents. We will share a meal and then open presents. Christmas always seems so special when there are young children about. When our two kids were small, a halfcentury ago, I recall working late into the night assembling toys, playing with them to see that they worked properly. The memories of Christmases past flood back. My Grandmother Stratton and her “Baptist” eggnog, piles of country ham and turkey, sweet potatoes and Irish potatoes steaming hot, homemade stuffing, giblet gravy, rolls that literally melted in your mouth, real county butter, pecan and pumpkin pies with homemade whipped cream (not that stuff out of a can), green beans, and probably my Aunt Mary’s stuffed celery sticks that Uncle Tick always made fun of. I am sure you have those same memories of Christmas “in the old days,” when there always seemed to be snow on the ground at your grandmother’s house. Maybe you recall a special present that you received or gave someone. Or a special food or drink that no longer graces your Christmas table. If you are of my generation, you might recall the first Christmas after a grandparent or parent, or an aunt or uncle, died. At the table, there was a chair or two missing, but maybe there was a growing child or grandchild to take the place. We used to laugh when our young twin granddaughters would literally surround my wife’s mother, prompting her to eat more quickly so that presents could be opened. Now, my wife, Charlotte, has adopted her mother’s place as the slow eater. Remember the old songs “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” “White Christmas” and others? There are many great religious Christmas hymns. One of my current favorites is “Mary, Did You Know?” Enough of my memories of Christmas as a kid and adult. What do you recall? Was there a present from Santa that you did not receive? Have we become too materialistic about the holiday? We have to be careful to not let materialism overwhelm the spiritual aspect of Christmas. Happy Hanukkah. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. My wish for you is that you have a wonderful time together with family and friends. Readers may contact Bill Ellis at

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A N D R E PAT E R . C O M D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 9 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 0 • K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY



Field Notes


The Importance of Parking BY GARY GARTH


he Kentucky Outdoor Life/Field & Stream Expo outdoor show is moving down the Ohio River from Louisville to Paducah. The westward move was announced at a hastily called press conference a couple months ago, and the show will launch Jan. 17 at the Paducah-McCracken County Convention and Expo Center. The center is perched on the Ohio River, barely a stone’s throw from downtown. The show has been held at Louisville’s Kentucky Exposition Center—arguably the state’s primary convention center/public arena show location—for the past six years. The expo is a weekend extravaganza that dresses up three often cold and dreary winter days with nearly 140,000 square feet packed with hunting, fishing, camping, and other outdoor goodies and services designed and targeted to lure sportsmen off the couch, away from the big screen TV, and into a clean, warm, well-lit place lined with the booths of outfitters displaying and selling their wares. I’m a regular attendee. The expo is a production of Bonnier Events. The Paducah show will be the first of five that Bonnier will stage 2020. The Kentucky show will be followed by expos in Lansing, Michigan; Columbus, Ohio; Madison, Wisconsin; and Lakeland, Florda. But why the move from the state’s largest city to a jewel of the Jackson Purchase? I ask Chris O’Hara, vertical outdoor director for Bonnier Events and the guy who, flanked by a handful of local politicians and dignitaries inside a nearly empty cavernous hall of the convention center, made the press conference announcement.

“We couldn’t get the dates we wanted, so we decided we would start fresh,” he said, noting that attendance at the Louisville location also had “flatlined” a bit. Bonnier brass discussed taking show to another state (North Carolina was under consideration) but ultimately decided to keep the January show in Kentucky. The state—and particularly western Kentucky’s red-hot deer hunting—was a strong incentive. Kentucky is also gaining a welldeserved reputation as a trophy deer destination state. “In the outdoor industry, western Kentucky and this region is just as hot as a firecracker,” O’Hara said. “We looked at Owensboro, and we looked at Lexington, but they didn’t have the right facilities or dates. “And we needed to stay in an outdoor lifestyle location. This is just where we need to be.” Paducah has another advantage: Location. Location. Location. O’Hara said that about 90 percent of show attendees are pulled from within a two-hour driving distance of the site. It didn’t take him long to learn that about 450,000 sportsmen with hunting and fishing licenses live within two hours of Paducah, providing a multistate (Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky) customer base. Sportsmen are coveted at these shows. “If we could get 15 to 20 percent of those people, that would be a home run,” he said. The show will have both a local and international flavor and will largely target hunters and fishermen. Deer hunters can have their mounts scored and displayed, and hunting and

fishing seminars featuring industry leaders will be scheduled throughout the show’s three-day run. But O’Hara stressed that the Expo will have something for nearly everything outdoors—from big game hunting and sport fishing to camping, boating, biking, hiking and birdwatching. “If there’s an outdoor activity you’re interested in, you’ll want to be here,” he said. Show pricing had not been set at press time, but O’Hara said it would be family friendly. “Very family friendly. That’s my goal,” he said. “I want families to attend and not even have to think about the money they spent to get in.” The show offers free parking and plenty of it, according to O’Hara. It was one of the perks that helped land the show in Paducah. “When I spoke with Michelle [convention center executive director Michelle Campbell] and she said there was no charge for parking, I said that’s a home run for attendance right out of the gate,” O’Hara concluded. “Everywhere we go, paying to park is always one of the biggest complaints we hear. So free parking. That’s good. Very good.” The Kentucky Outdoor Life/Field & Stream Expo will be held Jan. 17-19 at the Paducah McCracken County Convention and Expo Center, 415 Park Street, Paducah. Show hours are 2-8 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit

Readers may contact Gary Garth at


K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY • D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 9 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 0

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Let’s Go






Country Christmas Concert,



Downtown Lights Up, Fountain Square Park, Bowling Green, (270) 782-0222


Louisville Chorus, St. Brigid Catholic Church, Louisville, (502) 968-6300

Boone County Library – Florence Branch, Florence, (859) 342-2665





Joyeux Noel,

Hills of Kentucky Dulcimers,

Dickens in the Centre House,


Give a Jam to End Homelessness,

South Union Shaker Village, Auburn, (270) 542-4167


Headliners Music Hall, Louisville



Collage: A Holiday Spectacular, Singletary Center for the Arts, Lexington, (859) 257-4929



Theatre, Russell Springs, also Dec. 14-15 and 20-22, (270) 866-7827

Louisville Chorus, Annunciation Catholic Church, Shelbyville, (502) 968-6300



A Christmas Carol, Star

McAfee Jamboree, Harrodsburg, (859) 613-4052





Northern Kentucky Convention Center, Covington, (614) 486-7119



Joyeux Noel,

David Phelps: It Must Be Christmas, Paramount Arts Center, Ashland, (606) 324-0007


Christmas Christmas Day Eve


31 New Year’s Eve

Ongoing The Good Earth, UK Art Museum, Lexington, through Feb. 9, (859) 257-6218



a guide to Kentucky’s most interesting events 40

K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY • D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 9 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 0








New Year’s Day



Louisville, through Feb. 1, (502) 584-1205

Winter Birding,



Campbell County Environmental Education Center, Alexandria, (859) 572-2600,



Faith Lutheran Church, Lexington, (859) 266-7621

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Harstad Fine Arts Series,

The Butterfly Lovers, presented by the Shanghai Ballet, Norton Center for the Arts, Danville, (859) 236-4692,




Concert with the Stars,



Lexington Opera House, Lexington, (859) 233-4567

The Wolves, Actors Theatre,




Family Fun Weekend, Rough River Dam State Resort Park, Falls of Rough, through Jan. 12, (270) 257-2311



Puzzle Pieces Annual Lip Sync Battle, Owensboro Convention Ctr, Owensboro, (270) 297-9932




New Riff Distilling, Newport, (859) 261-7433

Market House Theatre, Paducah, through Jan. 19, (270) 444-6828





Caves State Resort Park, Olive Hill, through Jan. 26, (606) 286-4411

River Dam State Resort Park, Falls of Rough, through Jan. 26, (270) 257-2311

River Dam State Resort Park, Falls of Rough, through Feb. 2, (270) 257-2311

Whiskey Experience,

PJ Masks! Appalachian Wireless Arena, Pikeville, (606) 444-4406

Evelyn in Purgatory,

Winter Adventure Weekend, Carter


Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Bluegrass Band, Singletary Center for the Arts, Lexington, (859) 257-4929

Family Fun Weekend, Rough

Murder at the USO, Rough


Family Fun Weekend, Rough River Dam State Resort Park, Falls of Rough, through Feb. 2,, (270) 257-2311


find more at D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 9 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 0 • K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY



Let’s Go


Dec. 7 Kentucky Reptile Expo, Lexington Convention Center, Lexington, (859) 233-4567,

Ongoing The Good Earth, University of Kentucky Art Museum, Lexington, through Feb. 9, (859) 257-6218,

Dec. 7-21 Meet Mrs. Claus, Waveland State Historic Site, Lexington, (859) 272-3611,

Ongoing Southern Lights, Kentucky Horse Park, Lexington, through Dec. 31, (859) 233-4303,

Dec. 7-21 Tea Time With Mrs. Claus and Illuminated Evenings, Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Harrodsburg, (859) 281-5104,

Dec. 1 Lexington Chamber Chorale Sing Community, Second Presbyterian Church, Lexington, (859) 317-3353, Dec. 1 Straight No Chaser, Kentucky Theater, Lexington, (859) 231-6997, Dec. 1-8 The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Lexington Opera House, Lexington, (859) 233-4567, Dec. 3-18 Christmas Teas, Waveland State Historic Site, Lexington, (859) 272-3611, Dec. 3 A Christmas Carol, EKU Center for the Arts, Richmond, (859) 622-7469, Dec. 4 EKU Chautauqua Lecture Series, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, (859) 622-1000, Dec. 5 Holiday Sip and Shop, Cork & Barrel, Lexington, Dec. 5-31 Lighting of The Trace, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, through Jan. 2, (502) 875-8687, Dec. 6 Under the Streetlamp, Norton Center for the Arts, Danville, (859) 236-4692, Dec. 6-7 Christmas Tea Room, Harrodsburg Historical Society, (859) 734-5985, Dec. 6-17 Candlelight Tours, Ward Hall, Georgetown, (502) 863-5356, Dec. 6-21 Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Waveland State Historic Site, Lexington, (859) 272-3611, Dec. 6-28 Holiday Lunch and Tour, Woodford Reserve Distillery, Versailles, (859) 879-1939, Dec. 7 Collage: A Holiday Spectacular, presented by the UK School of Music, Singletary Center for the Arts, Lexington, (859) 257-4929,


Dec. 8 Jordana Greenberg & Price Hill Duo, University of Kentucky Art Museum, Lexington, (859) 257-5716, Dec. 8 Country Christmas Concert, McAfee Jamboree, Harrodsburg, (859) 613-4052 Dec. 11 Blind Boys of Alabama Christmas Show, Singletary Center for the Arts, Lexington, (859) 257-4929, Dec. 12-15 Visit Santa at the Distillery, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Frankfort, (502) 875-8687, Dec. 13 Mrs. Lincoln’s Birthday, Mary Todd Lincoln House, Lexington, (859) 233-9999, Dec. 13-22 Twas the Week After Christmas, The Spotlight Playhouse Theater, Berea, (859) 756-0011, Dec. 14 Winter Birding, Raven Run Nature Sanctuary, Lexington, (859) 272-6105, Dec. 14 Holiday Dinner with Tour, Woodford Reserve Distillery, Versailles, (859) 879-1939, Dec. 14 Lexington Ballet: The Nutcracker, EKU Center for the Arts, Richmond, (859) 622-7469, Dec. 14-15 Aesop’s Fables, Lexington Children’s Theatre, Lexington, (859) 254-4546, Dec. 28 Little Explorers – Winter Wildlife Treats, Raven Run Nature Sanctuary, Lexington, (859) 272-6105, Dec. 31 Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Lexington Opera House, Lexington, (859) 233-4567, Jan. 3 Concert with the Stars, Lexington Opera House, Lexington, (859) 233-4567, Jan. 17 Harlem Globetrotters, Rupp

K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY • D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 9 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 0

Arena, Lexington, (859) 233-4567, Jan. 17 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Bluegrass Band, Singletary Center for the Arts, Lexington, (859) 257-4929, Jan. 17-19 The SpongeBob Musical, Lexington Opera House, Lexington, (859) 233-4567, Jan. 19 Harstad Fine Arts Series, Faith Lutheran Church, Lexington, (859) 266-7621, Jan. 25 Dinosaur World Live, Lexington Opera House, Lexington, (859) 233-4567, Jan. 25 Music Builds Exploration! Concert for Kids, Hummel Planetarium, Richmond, (859) 233-4226, Jan. 25-26 The Princess and the Peas, Lexington Children’s Theatre, Lexington, (859) 254-4546, Jan. 26 The Butterfly Lovers, presented by the Shanghai Ballet, Norton Center for the Arts, Danville, (859) 236-4692, Feb. 1 Long Road to Freedom, Lexington Children’s Theatre, Lexington, (859) 2544546, Feb. 1 The Greatest Love of All, Lexington Opera House, Lexington, (859) 233-4567, Feb. 5 The Illusionists, EKU Center for the Arts, Richmond, (859) 622-7469, Feb. 6-9 Fiddler on the Roof, Lexington Opera House, Lexington, (859) 233-4567,

LOUISVILLE REGION Ongoing Kentucky Women: Enid Yandell Exhibit, Speed Art Museum, Louisville, through Jan. 12, (502) 634-2700, Ongoing Celebrating the Sounds of Kentucky, Frazier History Museum, Louisville, through Aug. 28, (502) 753-5663, Ongoing Tales from the Turf Exhibit, Speed Art Museum, Louisville, through March 1, (502) 634-2700, Ongoing Lights Under Louisville, Louisville Mega Cavern, Louisville, through Jan. 4,

(877) 614-6342, Ongoing White Christmas: The Exhibition, Frazier History Museum, Louisville, through Feb. 28, (502) 753-5663,

Dec. 12 Bourbon and Benevolence, The Ice House Lounge, Louisville,

Rough, (270) 257-2311,

Dec. 13-15 Live Nativity, Bardstown Baptist Church, Bardstown, (502) 348-3866

Jan. 16-26 The Novel Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – The Sign of Four, John Hardin High School, Elizabethtown, (270) 765-2175,

Dec. 1-23 A Christmas Carol, Actors Theatre, Louisville, (502) 584-1205,

Dec. 13-15 Christmas Gift and Decor Show, Kentucky Expo Center, Louisville, (502) 456-2244,

Jan. 17-19 Family Fun Weekend, Rough River Dam State Resort Park, Falls of Rough, (270) 257-2311,

Dec. 1-23 The Santaland Diaries, Actors Theatre, Louisville, (502) 584-1205,

Dec. 13-15 A Kids Christmas Creation! Central Kentucky Community Theatre, Springfield, (859) 336-9410,

Jan. 22-26 Louisville Boat, RV & Sportshow, Kentucky Exposition Center, Louisville, (502) 367-5000,

Dec. 14 Joyeux Noel, Louisville Chorus, Annunciation Catholic Church, Shelbyville, (502) 968-6300,

Jan. 25 Murder at the USO, Rough River Dam State Resort Park, Falls of Rough, through Feb. 2, (270) 257-2311,

Dec. 14 Cakes with Kris Kringle, Kentucky Derby Museum, Louisville, (502) 637-1111,

Jan. 26-31 Once on This Island, Actors Theatre, Louisville, through Feb. 23, (502) 584-1205,

Dec. 14 The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, Louisville, also Dec. 21, (502) 584-7777,

Jan. 31 Family Fun Weekend, Rough River Dam State Resort Park, Falls of Rough, through Feb. 2, (270) 257-2311,

Dec. 14-15 Christmas Tea, Wickland, Home of Three Governors, Bardstown, (502) 275-6731,

Feb. 11-16 Miss Saigon, Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, Louisville, (502) 584-7777,

Dec. 15 Joyeux Noel, Louisville Chorus, St. Brigid Catholic Church, Louisville, (502) 968-6300,


Dec. 1-29 Corita Kent Exhibit, Muhammad Ali Center, Louisville, (502) 584-9254, Dec. 3-8 The Band’s Visit, Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, Louisville, (502) 584-7777, Dec. 5 Holiday on the Hill, Bourbon Heritage Center, Bardstown, (502) 3311000, Dec. 5-8 A Christmas Post, Shelby County Community Theatre, Shelbyville, (502) 633-0222, Dec. 6 Beautiful Music of Christmas, Basilica of St. Joseph Proto-Cathedral, Springfield, (859) 481-7094, Dec. 6-21 North Pole Express, Kentucky Railway Museum, New Haven, (502) 549-5470, Dec. 6-21 An Old Kentucky Christmas Carol, My Old Kentucky Home State Park, Bardstown, (502) 348-3502, Dec. 6-8 Nuncrackers: The Nunsense Christmas Musical, Hardin County Playhouse, Elizabethtown, also Dec. 12-15, (270) 765-2175,

Dec. 15 Emilie Strong Smith Chamber Music Concert Series, Historic Locust Grove, Louisville, (502) 897-9845, Dec. 19 Give a Jam to End Homelessness, Headliners Music Hall, Louisville, Dec. 27 Old Crow Medicine Show, Louisville Palace, Louisville, (502) 583-4555,

Dec. 7 Gaither Christmas Homecoming, KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, (502) 690-9000,

Dec. 31 Comedy Festival, KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, (502) 690-9000,

Dec. 7-8 Santa Safari, Louisville Zoo, Louisville, (502) 459-2181,

Dec. 31 New Year’s Eve Dinner & Dance with Bleu Phonque Band, Rough River Dam State Resort Park, Falls of Rough, (270) 257-2311,

Dec. 7-8 Old Louisville Holiday Home Tour, Old Louisville, Louisville, (502) 635-5244, Dec. 7-14 Santa on the Square, 1 Court Square, Bardstown, (502) 350-6180, Dec. 11 Luke Combs Concert, KFC Yum! Center, Louisville, (502) 690-9000,

Jan. 7-12 Jesus Christ Superstar, Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, Louisville, (502) 584-7777, Jan. 8-31 The Wolves, Actors Theatre, Louisville, through Feb. 1, (502) 584-1205, Jan. 10-12 Family Fun Weekend, Rough River Dam State Resort Park, Falls of

Ongoing Holiday Toy Trains, BehringerCrawford Museum, Covington, through Jan. 5, (859) 491-4003, Dec. 1 Winterfair, Northern Kentucky Convention Center, Covington, (614) 486-7119, Dec. 1 Ludlow Flea and Craft Fair, Bircus Brewing Company, Ludlow, 1-800-381-8232, Dec. 1-7 Marjorie Prime, Falcon Theater, Newport, (513) 479-6783, Dec. 1-21 Water Wonderland, Newport Aquarium, Newport, 1-800-406-3474, Dec. 1-30 Christmas Town, The Creation Museum, Petersburg, 1-888-582-4253, Dec. 6-8 Frozen Jr., Stage Right Musical Theatre, Williamstown, Dec. 6-8 Of Dragons and Dwarves, The Village Players, Ft. Thomas, also Dec. 13-15, (859) 781-3583, Dec. 7 A Country Christmas, downtown

D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 9 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 0 • K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY



Let’s Go

Williamstown, (859) 824-3322 Dec. 7 Frozen Wonderland Day, General Butler State Resort Park, Carrollton, (502) 732-4384, Dec. 7-8 Victorian Christmas Tour, East Row Historic District, Newport, Dec. 12-15 An Old Kentucky Christmas Carol, First Church of Christ, Burlington, (859) 586-4673, Dec. 14 White Christmas Parade, Augusta, (606) 7562183, Dec. 16 Hills of Kentucky Dulcimers, Boone County Library – Florence Branch, Florence, (859) 342-2665, Dec. 17 Kentucky Dulcimers Gatherin’, General Butler State Resort Park, Carrollton, (502) 732-4384, Dec. 31 New Year’s Eve Celebrations, Blue Licks Battlefield State Resort Park, Carlisle; and General Butler State Resort Park, Carrollton, Jan. 11-26 Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center, Covington, (859) 491-2030, Jan. 12 Winter Birding, Campbell County Environmental Education Center, Alexandria, (859) 572-2600, Jan. 15 Whiskey Experience, New Riff Distilling, Newport, (859) 261-7433, Jan. 24-31 Blues for an Alabama Sky, Falcon Theater, Newport, through Feb. 8, (513) 479-6783, Jan. 31 Brantley Gilbert - Fire’t Up Tour, BB&T Arena, Highland Heights, (859) 442-2652, Feb. 4 Greensky Bluegrass, The Madison Theatre, Covington, (859) 491-2444,

WESTERN KENTUCKY Ongoing Grand Rivers Festival of Lights, Patti’s 1880’s Settlement, Grand Rivers, through Jan. 14, (270) 362-0152, Ongoing Festival of Trees, Owensboro Museum of Fine Art, Owensboro, (270) 685-3181, Dec. 1 Cirque Dreams Holidaze, Carson


Center, Paducah, (270) 908-2037, Dec. 1-14 Impressions Art Show, Ice House Arts, Mayfield, (270) 247-6971, Dec. 1-30 Christmas in the Park Holiday Light Display, Noble Park, Paducah, (270) 443-8783, Dec. 6 Christmas Time Is Here, Glema Mahr Center for the Arts, Madisonville, (270) 821-4171, Dec. 6-15 A Christmas Story, Playhouse in the Park, Murray, (270) 759-1752, Dec. 7 Santa Visits the Park & Gift Shop Open House, Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park, Dawson Springs, (270) 797-3421,

Jan. 11 Puzzle Pieces Annual Lip Sync Battle, Owensboro Convention Center, Owensboro, (270) 297-9932, Jan. 16-19 Evelyn in Purgatory, Market House Theatre, Paducah, (270) 444-6828, Jan. 20 Air National Guard Concert Band, Clemens Fine Arts Center, Paducah, (270) 534-3212, Feb. 1 Little Rembrandts – Valentines Art, John James Audubon State Park, Henderson, (270) 826-2247, Feb. 7-9 Kentucky Dam Village Eagles Weekend, Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park, Gilbertsville, (502) 703-0304,

Dec. 7 Breakfast with Santa, Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park, Gilbertsville, (502) 564-4270,

Feb. 7-9 West Kentucky Boat and Outdoor Show, Owensboro Convention Center, Owensboro, (270) 297-9932,

Dec. 7 The Nutcracker, presented by the Owensboro Dance Theatre, Riverpark Center, Owensboro, (270) 687-2787,

Feb. 29 Owensboro Art Guild Juried Art Exhibition, Owensboro Museum of Fine Art, Owensboro, through April 23, wdsinc@roadrunner

Dec. 12 Cirque Dreams Holidaze, Riverpark Center, Owensboro, (270) 687-2787, Dec. 12 Dailey & Vincent: The Joys of Christmas Tour, Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum, Owensboro, (270) 926-7891, Dec. 12-15 Disney’s Frozen Jr., Market House Theatre, Paducah, also Dec. 19-22, (270) 444-6828, Dec. 14 Home for the Holidays, presented by the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra, Riverpark Center, Owensboro, (270) 687-2787, Dec. 15 The Ten Tenors, Carson Center, Paducah, (270) 908-2037, Dec. 26 Fiddler on the Roof, Carson Center, Paducah, (270) 908-2037, Dec. 31 One Time Only Goldie’s New Year’s Eve Show, Riverpark Center, Owensboro, (270) 687-2787, Dec. 31 New Year’s Eve Celebrations, Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park, Dawson Springs; Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park, Gilbertsville; Lake Barkley State Resort Park, Cadiz; and Kenlake State Resort Park, Hardin,

K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY • D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 9 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 0

SOUTHERN KENTUCKY Ongoing Twinkle at the Track, NCM Motorsports Park, Bowling Green, through Jan. 1, (844) 977-7333, Dec. 3 Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker, Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center, Bowling Green, (270) 904-1880, Dec. 6 Downtown Lights Up, Fountain Square Park, Bowling Green, (270) 782-0222, Dec. 6-7 Winterfest, Lake Cumberland State Resort Park, Jamestown, (270) 343-3111, Dec. 7 Holiday Market, South Union Shaker Village, Auburn, (270) 542-4167, Dec. 11 Cirque Dreams Holidaze, Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center, Bowling Green, (270) 904-1880, Dec. 13-15 A Christmas Carol, Star Theatre, Russell Springs, also Dec. 20-22, (270) 866-7827, Dec. 14 J.C. Kirby and Son Christmas Spectactular, Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center, Bowling Green, (270) 904-1880,

Dec. 17 Dickens in the Centre House, South Union Shaker Village, Auburn, (270) 542-4167,

Dec. 14 Holidays, Santa and More! Carter Caves State Resort Park, Olive Hill, (606) 286-4411,

Corbin; Pine Mountain State Resort Park, Pineville; Bridge State Resort Park, Slade,

Dec. 17 A Motown Christmas, Center for Rural Development, Somerset, (606) 677-6000,

Dec. 14 Michael Bolton, Paramount Arts Center, Ashland, (606) 324-0007,

Jan. 22 PJ Masks! Appalachian Wireless Arena, Pikeville, (606) 444-4406,

Dec. 31 New Year’s Eve Celebrations, Lake Cumberland State Resort Park, Jamestown; Barren River State Resort Park, Lucas; ,and Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park, Burkesville,

Dec. 19 The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Paramount Arts Center, Ashland, (606) 324-0007,

Jan. 23-26 Winter Adventure Weekend, Carter Caves State Resort Park, Olive Hill, (606) 286-4411,

Jan. 26 National Geographic Live! Spinosaurus, Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center, Bowling Green, (270) 904-1880, Feb. 4 The Illusionists, Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center, Bowling Green, (270) 904-1880,


Dec. 21 David Phelps: It Must Be Christmas, Paramount Arts Center, Ashland, (606) 324-0007,

Feb. 6 Rodney Carrington Live, Paramount Arts Center, Ashland, (606) 324-0007,

Dec. 27-31 Tyler Childers, Appalachian Wireless Arena, Pikeville, (606) 444-4406,

For additional Calendar items or to submit an event, visit

Dec. 31 New Year’s Eve Celebrations, Cumberland Falls State Resort Park,

Submissions must be sent at least 90 days prior to the event.

Dec. 1 Festival of Trees and Trains, Paramount Arts Center, Ashland, (606) 547-5077, Dec. 1-8 Holiday Open House, Greenbo Lake State Resort Park, Greenup, (606) 473-7324, Dec. 1-15 The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Artists Collaborative Theatre, Pikeville, (606) 432-5063, Dec. 1-21 Moonshine and Mistletoe, Appalachian Center for the Arts, Pikeville, (606) 444-5500, Dec. 7 Elk Viewing Tours, Jenny Wiley State Resort Park, Prestonsburg, also Jan. 11, 18 and 25 and Feb. 1, 8 and 15, 1-800-325-0142,

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Dec. 7 Breakfast with Santa, Natural Bridge State Resort Park, Slade, (606) 663 2214, Dec. 13 Harlem Globetrotters, Appalachian Wireless Arena, Pikeville, (606) 444-4406, Dec. 13 Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker, Paramount Arts Center, Ashland, (606) 324-0007, Dec. 13-15 JBo’s Kentucky Opry Christmas, Mountain Arts Center, Prestonsburg, also Dec. 20-21, (606) 886-2623, Dec. 14 Cumberland Falls Polar Express Train Ride, Cumberland Falls State Resort Park, Corbin, (606) 528-4121,

Owensboro Art Guild 58th Annual Juried Art Exhibition Feb. 29 — Apr. 23, 2020 at the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art. Opening reception and awards Feb. 29, 2020 at 6:30 p.m. For prospectus or more information email PADUCAH, KY

D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 9 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 0 • K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY



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Vested Interest

Homeward Bound

STEPHEN M. VEST Publisher & Editor-in-Chief Readers, and those looking for a speaker, may contact Stephen M. Vest at

Right, Ada and George Clooney. Photo courtesy of Nick Clooney.

KWIZ ANSWERS: 1. A. A city-owned preserve; 2. B. Washington Monument, which wasn’t completed until 30 years after his death; 3. C. The Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio give Pittsburgh’s Three Rivers Stadium its name; 4. A. Tiger Woods matched Blackburn’s accomplishment in 2008; 5. B. Chris Sullivan, recipient of the Gene Sarazen Spirit Award, began caddying at 12 for $4 a bag and was inducted in 2010; 6. C. “Bye Bye Love,” written by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, was their first hit (1957). The first hit written by the Everlys was “Cathy’s Clown” in 1960; 7. C. Scruggs & Flatt, who each spent time in Bill Monroe groups, wrote and performed “The Ballad of Jed Clampett” for The Beverly Hillbillies and appeared in several episodes of the popular show; 8. B. Ken-Rad lit up Crosley Field in Cincinnati; 9. C. The Susan Constant was the largest of three ships to land at Jamestown; 10. C. Goebel was described as contemptuous and humorless and greeted only his closest friends with a smile or handshake. He was never married.



aul Simon was recently on Skavlan, Scandinavia’s biggest late-night talk show. The host, Fredrik Skavlan, asked Simon to sing his song “Homeward Bound,” which was released in 1966 by Simon & Garfunkel. “What is your memory of writing that song?” Skavlan asked about the hit that reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100. “Well,” said Simon, “I started writing it in a railway station.” Well, duh. “Were you sitting down?” I would have quickly asked. As you may remember, “Homeward Bound” begins, I’m sitting in a railway station, got a ticket for my destination. I wondered if inspiration is as simple as it sounds. I wondered if I were to ask Bruce Springsteen about “Glory Days” if he’d say, “I had a friend who was a big baseball player back in high school.” When did you think of writing about him? “I was walking into a roadside bar; he was walking out.” Did Paul McCartney see a 17-year-old “standing there?” Did Jackson Browne or Glenn Frey stand on a corner in Winslow, Arizona? If so, this month’s offering would begin with: “I was sitting in a wingback chair in a Lexington retirement home.” My audience included Mary Ellen Lucas, with whom I wrote a story (Kentucky Monthly, July 2004) about a northern Kentucky

K E N T U C K Y M O N T H LY • D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 9 / J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 0

legend that John Wilkes Booth escaped to Grant County after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and kept his identity a secret until his death in 1924. “You have more gray hair than the last time I saw you,” Mary Ellen said. Yes. Some time has passed. We’re all a bit older now. To Mary Ellen’s right was Kathy Cloyd, who for the past decade has sat directly behind me at church in Frankfort. “Yes,” Kathy said. “I’ve heard my fair share of his snoring. I’ve seen his children grow up as I’ve read about them in the magazine.” Yes. My children are grown up. When did that happen? “George Clooney never sat still in church,” offered someone, sparked by the previous mention that his photo was on the cover of Kentucky Monthly’s first issue. “When was that?” I asked. “When he was a little boy, silly.” “I enjoy the quiz and the vacation photos of people with their Kentucky Monthly magazines.” “I like the history stories,” said another. “George stuck his tongue out when I told him to sit still.” “So you just woke up one morning and started a magazine?” asked Marie Wilson, the activities assistant who had invited me to visit Friendship Towers in Sayre Christian Village. “This magazine is your baby?” “Well, yes,” I said. “It’s

actually older than my youngest child.” “George was a precocious child.” “I enjoy the recipes,” said another resident. “I like the out-of-the-way places,” said another. “So you just dreamed up this magazine?” Marie asked. “Well, my wife might say I hit my head, but no, I put some serious thought into it. I studied other magazines and believed Kentucky deserved a contemporary magazine that shows why we’re proud to be Kentuckians.” “I really like the recipes, too,” offered another resident. “I like that you steer clear of politics,” said another. “George should have stayed out of politics.” Everything was peaches and cream until Marie asked, “So what about when you … well, let’s say, retire? Do you see the magazine continuing without you?” “Aw,” Kathy said. “He’s still a spring chicken.” All two dozen eyes stared at me, waiting for an answer. Actually, that’s not true. Two sets of eyes were closed; one since the John Wilkes Booth story. Another set left the room when I mentioned that an Oklahoma drifter was embalmed in 1903 and was displayed in Western sideshows for 40 years as the “Booth Mummy.” Spring chicken? No. I no longer fit that description. It’s a fair question. “I have no plans to retire anytime soon, but yes, I hope that I can find someone who loves Kentucky as much as I do, and it can continue long after I’m gone.” “Gone? Where are you going?” “Back to Frankfort, I guess.” “Why would you want to go there? My second cousin’s daughter worked there during Happy’s second term. She didn’t like it much.”

A WRITER WRITES. AND WORKS. AND HAS A FAMILY. You’re committed to your writing—but how to make room for it? At Spalding University’s School of Creative and Professional Writing, we’re making top-tier graduate writing education more accessible. Alongside our lowresidency creative writing MFA—one of the country’s oldest and best-regarded—we’ve created a new 15-credit Graduate Certificate in Writing and 35-credit Master of Arts in Writing with creative and professional tracks. The low-residency model shows you how to build writing into your daily life. All students work with our distinguished MFA faculty. Certificate and MAW students can matriculate into the MFA, earning two degrees for about the cost of one. You have dreams. We can help you get there. Let us help you change your world.


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Profile for Kentucky Monthly Magazine

December 2019/January 2020 | Kentucky Monthly Magazine  

The Kentucky Castle becomes a magical winter wonderland at Christmastime | Berea’s Christmas Country Dance School keeps folk traditions al...

December 2019/January 2020 | Kentucky Monthly Magazine  

The Kentucky Castle becomes a magical winter wonderland at Christmastime | Berea’s Christmas Country Dance School keeps folk traditions al...