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The world is coming to visit! Are we ready?
Beginning Sept. 25, running through Oct. 10, there will be thousands and thousands of travelers traveling through Grant County, on their way to the World Equestrian Games. If you think that won’t affect us, you’re wrong. People have to eat, people have to get gas, people have to spend the night somewhere. Checking with our local hotel and motel managers, I have found, they are getting lots of reservations for these dates. The Georgetown hotels are already totally booked. So that means our hotels will soon follow suit.
When we are expecting guests in our homes and places of businesses, we always want to spruce up the place and make our guests feel welcome. There’s no difference here, folks.
If you own a business near the expressway, this is your prime time to showcase your place.
This is the first time the World Equestrian Games have been in the United States ever in the history of the event.
Kentucky has always been known for it’s Southern hospitality. Lately this has become a concern of mine. Many times, when shopping, eating, or buying gas, the clerk just hands me my change. They don’t say thank you and come back, like they used to. There are exceptions to the rule. Some will say have a good day, but not always.
If I were an employer training new employees, the first day on the job, would be hospitality training. They need to make the traveler feel welcome in our state. Maybe, just maybe, if they receive a warm welcome, they will want to return and see what else we have to offer.
Three years ago ,the Kentucky Department of Tourism sent out a request to counties lying near the Kentucky Horse Park to create a horse-related event. Grant County formed a committee, and the Kentucky Horse Heritage Days were born. As a matter of fact, Grant County was the first county to form such an event.
Last year we had bad luck. Mother Nature decided to bring us rain for days and days, making it impossible to hold our event at the fairgrounds in Williamstown.
Kentucky Cowtown became our location for the horse pulls. It was a great success, being the second largest horse-pull held in the state, second only to the Kentucky State Fair.
Some people I have talked to, say that all these world travelers will just stay at the Horse Park, and not venture out to events such as ours. I have to disagree. I try to put myself in the place of tourists. Let’s say I am from Germany, and yes, I love horses. I also love to travel, and chances are, I won’t be back in the United States again. I won’t just stay in Lexington near the Horse Park. I will want to travel to other areas of the state, or other nearby states. I would visit the cave region, the state capitol, Berea, Churchill Downs, Corbin where Kentucky Fried Chicken originated, and oh yes, I would visit events within an hour’s drive of the Horse Park.
This is our time to shine and be proud of our Kentucky heritage. I know I plan to do my part as being a volunteer at the Horse Park, along with Tracie Rothwell, and Marlene McComas.
Our own James Family Band will be performing on stage Oct. 8 at the WEG.
When you see tourists in our area, put on a big smile, and say, “welcome to Kentucky” Make our guests feel welcome, and they just might want to visit us again.
Grant County, are we ready? Let’s hope so. The World Equestrian Games are just around the corner.
Visit the Web site at www.grantcokentuckytourism.com for a list of current happenings.
(Judy Mullins is the director of the Grant County Tourism and Convention Commission. Her office is located at 149 N. Main St. (inside the Grant County Chamber office). She can be reached at 859-824-3451.)