Santa Train Will Roll Through Sat. Nov. 18

Santa Train

The Santa Train will make its 75th run from Kingsport, Tennessee northward along the CSX route for 110 miles,  passing through Elkhorn City before finishing the run to Shelby in Pike County on Saturday, November 18.
This year, Louisa and Lawrence County Country Music Highway superstar Ricky Skaggs will be riding along with Santa as the Santa Train rolls through Appalachia with scheduled stops in 14 towns in Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky and is loaded with 110 tons of toys, food, clothing, and gifts.
Past celebrities on earlier train trips include another Country Music Highway favorite, Patty Loveless from Elkhorn City, and country hit maker Daryl Worley. In fact, Loveless recorded a hit titled “Santa Train” that honors the charitable efforts which began in 1945.
Food City, the Kingsport, TN Chamber of Commerce,  CSX Railroad, Soles 4 Souls, and Appalachian Power carry the bulk of the annual project.
The train was loaded on Wednesday, November 15 by over 100 volunteers in Kingsport.

Ricky Skaggs 2017 Santa Train

Highlands Museum Christmas Tour of Homes

New Letcher County Pine Mountain Overlook Is Now Open

PMO Ribbon Cutting by Teddy Paynter 8

The Letcher County Tourism Commission hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for the newly-constructed Pine Mountain Overlooks on Friday, November 10th. Pictured from left to right are: Letcher County Tourism Commission Member Collin Fultz; Whitesburg Mayor James Wiley Craft; Jenkins Mayor Todd Depriest; Letcher County Magistrate Woody Holbrook; Letcher County Tourism Commission Chairman Missy Matthews; Deputy Secretay at KY Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet Regina Stivers; 94th District State Representative Angie Hatton, Letcher County Judge Executive Jim T. Ward; and Letcher County Magistrate Terry Adams (photo by Teddy Paynter). “These overlooks were an obvious must-have for our county,” said Missy Matthews, chairman of the Letcher County Tourism Commission. “Before the overlooks were constructed, people got out of their cars, climbed over guardrails and walked through weeds to take pictures. Now, they have a safe and more convenient spot to sit, relax and enjoy nature’s beauty.” Letcher County Judge/Executive Jim Ward said, “Tourism is a key contributor to our economy, not only on a state level, but also right here in Letcher County. Our county offers some of the most breathtaking scenic vistas in the region and the new Pine Mountain overlooks offer the public a nice, attractive place to enjoy them.” The five overlooks took approximately six weeks to complete, having met the commission’s initial deadline of fall’s peak color. “This would not have been possible without many local residents and organizations who gave their time and resources to help,” said Matthews. “I am so proud that we, as a little community, came together to create such wonderful overlooks that will be enjoyed for years to come.” Among some of the volunteers recognized were Letcher County Judge/Executive Jim Ward, HOMES, Inc., Childers Oil Company, Colin Fultz, Mac Fultz, Tim Caudill, Gary Boyd, Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, Letcher County Fiscal Court, Nathan Bailey and N.C. Bailey Construction, Jarisa Coal Company, Kevin Pack, Joe Pratt, Ann and Carl Hall, P.M. and Sandy Hogg and family, Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation, Community Trust Bank and Rod Back. For more information about each overlook, see the descriptions below: CLIFFSIDE — This overlook is dedicated to Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation and is located in the curve before the summit of the mountain. Its elevation is at 2,315 feet and it offers visitors a nice concrete landing to enjoy the view. HEMLOCK — Because of HOMES, Inc.’s diligent service working on the overlooks, Hemlock is dedicated to this non-profit organization located in Whitesburg. Standing at an elevation of 2,377 feet, this overlook gives guests an overwhelming 180-degree view of Letcher County’s mountain range. Hemlock Overlook provides guests with custom railing and an observation deck. It also has picnic tables, where those passing through can rest, eat and enjoy the view. HOGG OVERLOOK — Dedicated to Debbie Hogg by the Hogg Family and Jarisa Coal Company, this overlook sits at 2,399 feet and offers the same accommodating amenities as the Hemlock Overlook. FALCON OVERLOOK — Located where the old Falcon Inn used to be, this overlook is dedicated to Community Trust Bank.  The elevation at Falcon Overlook is 2,557 feet. Etched in the concrete is the date 1948 and the name Doyle. This location was an overgrown building foundation with only a chimney standing. THE SANDERS ANDREW COLLINS OVERLOOK — The fifth overlook sits at the old site of Sanders Collins’s Log Lodge.  It was a weekend retreat for family and friends with unparalleled views.  Now, after the new construction, guests can experience what the view would have been like from the lodge’s living room window. The stone chimney at the overlook is from the original lodge.

stapleton hankjr

Chris Stapleton’s Works Again Recognized by CMA

Chris Stapleton has notched two more major honors during the November 8 CMA Awards. He earned recognition as the Male Vocalist Of The Year and Album of the Year. Stapleton was in competition with Dierks Bentley, Eric Church, Thomas Rhett,  and Keith Urban in the Male Vocalist of the Year category. His album, “From A Room Volume One” grabbed top honor versus Little Big Town’s “The Breaker”, Lady Antebellum’s “Heart Break”, Jason Isbell’s “The Nashville Sound”, and “The Weight Of These Wings” by Miranda Lambert.


“The 51st Annual CMA Awards” airs live Wednesday, November 8 on ABC-TV. Country superstars Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood will preside over the evening, returning as hosts for the 10th consecutive year.

 Country Music Highway superstar Chris Stapleton has been nominated for Entertainer of the Year,  and has a separate honor for his album, “From A Room: Volume One”, as Album Of The Year. Stapleton joins other Entertainer Of The Year nominees, Garth Brooks, Keith Urban, Luke Bryan, and Eric Church. The Album Of The Year nominees also include “The Breaker” from Little Big Town, “Heart Break” from Lady Antebellum, “The Nashville Sound”  by Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit,  and Miranda Lambert’s “The Weight Of These Wings”. Stapleton is also in the running for Male Vocalist Of The Year. as are Eric  Church, Thomas Rhett, Dierks Bentley, and Keith Urban. ********************************************josh osborne***************************************** Pike County’s Josh Osborne continues his songwriting genius as a song he has co-written is up for Song Of The Year in the November 8 Country Music Association Awards show on ABC. The song is “Body Like A Back Road” by Sam Hunt, who also credited with writing the song in collaboration with Josh Osborne, his partner Shane McAnally, and Zach Crowell. The song has eclipsed Florida Georgia Line as the longest period of time overall on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts.

Letcher Co Tourism Logo

Free Tours from Nov. 3 thru 5

The Letcher County Tourism Commission is happy to invite you in celebrating their Inaugural Weekend for the Discover Letcher County Hiking & Driving Guided Tours. During this weekend, all tickets for the tours are FREE. The Tours offer participants the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the Mountains, while being lead by experienced tour guides. There are 9 brand new tours and each tour can accommodate 8 people. To register for the guided tours, the public is encouraged to visit Letcher County Tourism’s Facebook page at or the Tourism’s website at and go to the Explore navigation link. Tours Begin and end at Pine Mountain Outfitters, located at 47 Highway, 119 S Ste 1, Whitesburg, KY 41858 Hiking Tours to Bad Branch Falls, High Rock Loop and Skylight Rock Driving Tours through Little Shepherd Trail & a breathtaking, undisclosed location offering a VIP experience:  Friday, November 3 – Sunday, November 5. Tour schedule: Friday, November 3 4:00pm – 6:30pm – Little Shepherd Trail Sunset Driving Tour 4:00pm – 6:30pm – VIP Sunset Driving Tour Saturday, November 4 10am – 1pm – Bad Branch Falls Hiking Tour 9am – 5pm – High Rock Loop Hiking Tour 10am – 1pm – Little Shepherd Trail Driving Tour 2pm – 5pm – Bad Branch Falls Hiking Tour 3pm – 6pm – Little Shepherd Trail Sunset Driving Tour Sunday, November 5 1:30pm – 4:30pm – Skylight Trail Hiking Trail 3:00pm – 5:30pm – VIP Sunset Driving Tour

Pike County Tourism CVB Wins Gold at Kentucky Travel Conference, Announces Chairlady Judi Patton

Award Pike CVB
Pike County Tourism CVB Chairlady Judi Conway Patton is pleased to announce that the organization was one of 11 tourism offices in the state of Kentucky awarded gold for marketing efforts by the Kentucky Travel Industry Association. Pike County Tourism CVB was also the recipient of an additional six awards, including four silver and one bronze, which were all awarded at the Kentucky Travel Industry Association’s annual fall conference, which was held in Louisville, Kentucky, from October 23 to the 25.  Pike County Tourism CVB brought home awards in the categories of web design, conference material, and marketing campaigns, with the gold award recognizing their work on developing
“It just goes to show that planning and working your plan pays off,” Pike County Tourism Executive Director Tony K. Tackett said. “We design all of our editorial, ads and websites in-house, so when the visitor request information from us to plan their trip, we are able to provide them literature that we have designed specifically to detail what they are looking for. We are truly blessed that the Kentucky Travel Industry Association has recognized our efforts with six awards this year. We could not be any happier with the results and the diligent work that has gotten us to this point.” Patton stated that the recognized works are all part of a comprehensive marketing effort that highlights our events, outdoor adventure and storied history. “Our board and staff pour over every detail of our marketing, from brochures to websites, magazine ads, television commercials and more. This year, we realized that in order to better market our Hillbilly Days festival, we would need to purchase the Hillbilly Days website, and build it from scratch. Our marketing director Jay Shepherd, with input from Executive Director Tony K. Tackett, was able to build the website in time for the festival, with a fresh new look that is fabulous.” “Many of our marketing efforts brought home a silver award, including our website,, as well as event/meeting and conference materials, and marketing campaigns,” Tackett said. “The conference and convention associations and the motor coaches that we have aligned ourselves with in the past few years, creating a plan and working that plan with our wonderful staff to carry it through creates heads to beds, fork to mouth and coming soon, sip to lips with our new Dueling Barrels Brewery and Distillery. It is a win-win for all”, Tackett said. “Being able to create our marketing materials in-house is tremendously satisfying, and allows us to create our own narrative,” said Marketing Director Jay Shepherd. “No one knows us as well as we know us, and we enjoy showing our visitors what we are all about. We are so blessed that our small office of 3 employees is recognized alongside other, larger and more prominent offices.”


October: We Offer Many Scary Attractions Along the Highway

October Is A Scary Month on the Country Music Highway The Fallsburg Fearplex in Lawrence County near Louisa boasts a strong attendance every Halloween season.  Often, many  participants travel two hours to get here.  The Fearplex experience includes five specific attractions. It is open Friday and Saturday nights,  with tickets available 30 minutes before dark up to  midnight. The Fearplex is located in the Fallsburg Community at 5877 KY. Route 3.  Phone (606) 686-3030. Van Lear Haunted Museum is open on weekends thru Halloween.  They have an adults show and a separate show for smaller children. It’s the 16th year for the Haunted Museum.  This attraction happens inside the four-story Coal Miner’s Museum Building that serves as the headquarters for the Van Lear Historical Society. Friday and Saturday nights every weekend thru Halloween with admission for adults at 5.00. There is a kiddie haunted tour with a 3.00 admission every Saturday. The Jenny Wiley State Resort Park invites all the brave souls to come to the Stratton Branch boat ramp at Dewey Lake for a Haunted Pontoon Ride. These rides start at 7 p.m. and continue thru 11 p.m. These rides continue for the weekend of Oct. 20-21, and Oct. 27-28 at 75 Theater Court, Stratton Branch, Prestonsburg. Elkhorn City, Ky. invites you to tackle a Haunted Trail where survivors will navigate through a zombie-infested maze and fend off the undead! Price is $10 dollars for 13 and up and $5 dollars for 12 and under. Located in Elkhorn City, Kentucky.  This event runs October 10 thru October 17.  Admission is $10. The exact location is Carson Island at Elkhorn City. The Pikeville Police and Fire Department will try their best to scare everyone as they pass through the Haunted Trail Cut Thru Mountain Holler event. Opens Oct. 13 in the Bob Amos Park in Pikeville. October 28 the Paramount Players will present a PG performance of  Little Shop of Horrors. Location is in downtown Ashland on Winchester Avenue. Martin County Firefighters invite you to the 2015 Firefighters Fright Fest & Haunted House at the Martin County Fairgrounds. Don’t miss out on the largest, scariest haunted house on the Treasure Coast! There will be 6 nights of family fun and fright for all ages including a “Not-So-Scary” area for the younger goblins…hay rides, face painting, bounce houses, bean bag toss, potato sack races, games and an obstacle course maze! Food vendors will be on site each night. October 22-24 & 29-31 operating from 6pm-11pm. Admission Adult $10,  Student with ID $8, Children 12 & under $5.

The Greater Huntington Park & Recreation District is pleased to announce the return of the Fantasy Maze to Ritter Park this October!  Since its debut in 2015, thousands of families have enjoyed an enchanted trip through the Fantasy Maze filled with classic storybook and cartoon characters!  GHPRD’s non-scary alternative to Halloween returns to the heart of Ritter Park for the last two weekends in October (20, 21, 22, 27, 28, and 29) from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.  Children are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes and bring a candy bag because each character in the Fantasy Maze will be giving out sweet treats!  Tickets are $5 per person and can be purchased at the event from 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. each evening.  Concessions will be available courtesy of Laikyn Hot Dogs, ScragglePop, and Lil Creamer Hawaiian Shaved Ice.  M&M Inflatables will be on hand to give kids a chance to burn off excess energy and excitement after they finish the Maze!  Parking will be available inside Ritter Park, with traffic entering on 8th Street, traveling east on the road inside the Park, and exiting on 12th Street.

This event is brought to you by the Greater Huntington Park & Recreation District, with the help of the HART Choose Joy Players.  For more information contact GHPRD Recreation Superintendent Stacey Leep at 304.696.5954 or

New Features From Ashland’s Highlands

Museum & Discovery Center

On September 7, the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center on Winchester Avenue in downtown Ashland opened their latest exhibit, “Building Ashland: An Industrial History. The newest displays gives a spotlight to the C & O Railroad,  Armco Steel,  Ashland Oil, and other key components in the development of northeast Kentucky’s industrial giant. Part of your visit to see this gallery of history is an opportunity to get familiar with Brady Industries, the area’s newest 1.3 Million aluminum mill. In another annual event, the Highlands Museum is now selling tickets for Walking With The Past. This fall tradition is to be held Saturday, Ocotber 21. It features tours and information about the Ashland Cemetery. Participants can pick up a surprising amount of history and interesting facts during the event Tickets are on sale at $12.00 each and are available either at the Highlands Museum or the Ashland Cemetery office, Proceeds go to the continued maintenance and new innovations at the museum and to restore historical gravestones at the Ashland Cemetery. To find out more about these and other activities at the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center, phone 606-329-8888.

Night Market in Elkhorn City Set for Friday, September 29

Artists Collaborative Theatre (ACT) is again inviting friends and neighbors to come shop beneath the setting sun on Friday, September 29th from 6-10 pm at the 2017 Elkhorn City  Fall Night Market! Recent Elkhorn City Night Markets have grown substantially. With crowds of over 1,000 people visiting the town to enjoy streets lined with an array of vendors, live performances from local musicians, and a delicious assortment of foods and treats, the Elkhorn City Night Market has earned a reputation for being a perfect way to kick of the weekend. The evening will feature a full lineup of live music and entertainment. Several well-known local musical acts will be in attendance, featuring sounds across several genres. Market-goers can expect to hear bluegrass, indie, folk, rock, and more. Visitors can also enjoy a cozy bonfire, S’more and marshmallow roasting, fun hayreides, a selfie station full of theatre props, face painting, and more. Vendors expected to line the streets on September 29th include many returning favorites, such as those selling handmade and unique jewelry, woodworking crafts, home décor, restored furniture, original pieces of artwork, customizable embroidery items, an array of locally-themed apparel, homemade soaps and lotions, a variety of mouth-watering foods, and much more. Several brand name vendors will be present as well, such as Lula Roe clothing, Pink Zebra scented wax melts, and Plunder jewelry. Everyone is invited to make an “Elkhorn Evening” out of it and stop in at Artists Collaborative Theatre to catch a showing of the pg-13 comedy drama Calendar Girls which will begin at 7:30 pm at only $10 a ticket. Tickets may be purchased at the door or online at Several highly reviewed Elkhorn City restaurants also stand-by to serve hungry town guests everything from the best freshly made pizza in the region to hot homestyle meals like grandma used to make those interested in setting up as a vendor or performing on stage should contact Samantha West by email at or by sending a message to the Artists Collaborative Theatre, Inc. Facebook page at More information and vendor applications may be found online at or may be picked up in person at the Pike County Extension Service located at 148 Trivette Dr. in Pikeville, KY. All proceeds from booth registration fees go directly to support ACT, a 501c3 non-profit organization working to support the arts in Appalachia.

 Hatfield-McCoy Story Plays

Front-And-Center Sept. 23 and 24





E Ky booth at Ky St. Fair


Each year a dedicated group of tourism officials and various volunteers and supporters occupy booth space at the Kentucky State Fair. They are there to share the many reasons tourists are coming to the area spanned by our famous Country Music Highway. They make available detailed information from our region to acquaint future visitors about the various activities and attractions along our 144-mile U. S. 23 thoroughfare traversing the easternmost travel corridor in Kentucky. In fact our publication, the 2017 Country Music Highway Travel Guide, was distributed heavily during this year’s fair. The Pride Of The Counties booth was shared by Pike, Boyd, and Montgomery County. Live music was continually presented at this year’s event,  and the people staffing the booth informed all visitors about our special part of the world.

Enjoy Interactive Lecture

and Examination of

the Hatfield-McCoy Feud

The Big Sandy Heritage Center will be hosting Interactive Lecture Series: Hatfield-McCoy Feud, Saturday, September 23, beginning at 10:00 a.m. This event was rescheduled from August, and will be one of the highlights of Pikeville’s 2017 Hatfield McCoy Heritage Days. Presenter Reed Potter will be bringing the history to life with a discussion and a question and answer session. Refreshments will be served to participants. This is a museum open house event, no admission will be charged, but donations will be taken. This is an exceptional opportunity to share your family stories with others! Pre-registration is preferred, call (606) 766-1025.


The Lawrence County Septemberfest happens Sept. 8 and 9 in Louisa. Music starts on Saturday, Sept. 9 at 1 p.m with a Bluegrass concert. After several different groups perform by 7:30 it will be time for Lawrence County’s favorite daughter Kelsie May,  a sensation on NBC’s The Voice in 2015. Then, Tate Stevens will begin at 9:30 p.m.  Stevens was the winner of the  X Factor TV show in 2012. September fest will also feature a parade, car show, 5 K Run, a carnival, trail ride, and food booths.   The Gingerbread Festival in Hindman, Knott County, will cover three days of activities for adults and kids from September 7 thru 9. The festival is called “a tribute to mountain literature”. Plenty of music will be available,  including Tyler Stephens on Thursday night, September 7 and Coal Town Dixie on Friday, September 8. On Saturday night, September 8 Terry Turner’s Tribute To Elvis Show will wrap up performances by around ten different groups at the Gingerbread Festival.” Visitors can also enjoy food booths, arts and crafts, a Saturday parade at 1 p.m. and a gingerbread baking contest. You might want to check out the “Womanless Beauty Pageant” set to start at 3:45 Saturday afternoon.   Poage Landing Days will be Sept. 15-17 in downtown Ashland. Events include dog and trailer teams competing for cash, prizes, and ribbons. A popular new game, Pickleball, will be played and on display. Music will be by Jessie Keith Whitley, son of Keith Whitley. Also Don Rigsby, famed Bluegrass performer will headline on Sunday,  September 17 at 5 p.m.  Other regional acts will be featured throughout. Other special events will be a Fiddle Fest, arts and crafts, car show, 5K Run and more.   The Mountain Heritage Festival  will be held Tuesday, September 19 thru Saturday, September 23 in downtown Whitesburg. The festival was started in 1982, and features live music, plenty of crafts,a carnival, and food booths. Country artist Brian Davis will headline the event with a live show Saturday, September 23.

A Huntington, WV Party On the Patio/Eat In the Street

Heritage Station | 210 11th St | 7 pm

It’s been years since Willie Phoenix packed the house at Calamity, but get ready Huntington, Willie’s coming back to Rock your Socks off! It’s all happening August 25th as the Park District and IHeart media partner to present Party on the Patio / Eat in the Street on 11th Street at Heritage Station! This Party starts at 7…. Grab a bite from one of the great food vendors and be ready to get your Blues on! Kicking off the Party is Chris Sutton with C & S Railroad warming up the crowd and the stage for the return of the legendary Willie Phoenix! Great Food, Great Music, Ice Cold Beer and Free Admission!

State Fair Exhibit By Eastern Kentucky Expanded

The 2017 Kentucky State Fair is scheduled for August 17th through the 27th, and this year, Eastern Kentucky tourism offices plan on having the largest booth in the Pride of the Counties showcase. Pike County, Paintsville, Ashland and Mount Sterling will be sharing the Eastern Kentucky booth, which will be twice as large as last year’s booth. Focusing on the US 23 Country Music Highway, and the individual entertainment, outdoor and heritage offerings of each region, this year’s booth will the largest exhibit ever featured in Kentucky State Fair Pride of the Counties history. As with last year’s booth, this year will feature entertainers, artists and historians, all giving fairgoers a taste of the unique flavor of Eastern Kentucky. “We are focusing on experiences,” said Tony K. Tackett, Pike County Tourism CVB Executive Director. “We want the potential visitor to know that when you travel along the Country Music Highway, you are in for unique and special experiences that you cannot get anywhere else.” Last year’s booth from Eastern Kentucky won the Best Exhibit Award.

Heritage Farm in Huntington Invites Tourists Each Saturday

Heritage Farm is extending their primary event, the “Way Back Weekends” to include every Saturday from May to December, with a different theme celebrated every month! Admission to every Saturday from May to December is the same price – $12 for adults, $10 for seniors, $8 for youth (under 3 free) or buy our Annual Saturday Pass for the whole year! One of the oldest named regions of the United States, Appalachia is known for its mountains, its people, its culture, and much more. Experience the infamous Hatfields and McCoys feud, listen to some mighty fine old-time music, and sit a spell on the spacious front porch! August 19        Southern Ohio Wolf Sanctuary Expect; four museums (Progress, Transportation, Country Store, and either the Doll or Industry Museum,) Blacksmith Shop, Artisans, Children’s activities, including the Hands-On Activity Center, the Petting Zoo, MakerSpace, and the Six Simple Machines Discovery Zone, Wagon Rides and “Our Daily Bread” Cafe will be open and serving food in the village. Check out or call 304) 522-1244 for featured activity, group rates, and more information.

Friday Night, August 4 from 6 to 10 p.m

night market

Elkhorn City’s Night Market Returns for The Second Year


Festival of Glass August 4-5, 2017

This event is hosted by the legendary Blenko Glass Factory in Milton, West Virginia, about four miles east of the Huntington Mall,. A selection of classes are offered for all ages within the factory. From hot glass to crafts with wood, glass and glue for youngsters. Special prices, tours, signing event and family activities are all in effect. Classes fill quickly.  Annual commemorative medallions will be given out free with purchase of any item $10 or more or (sold separately for $10) Get the full story at


Ever felt FEED SACK RICH? See our newest feature article below…..

Kids Fun Day Is Saturday, July  29 at Ashland’s Highlands Museum

A day full of activities especially aimed at kids happens Saturday, July 29 at the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center on Winchester Avenue in downtown Ashland. Young people can enjoy Des Coveries Wild Animal Shows, Ronald McDonald, and magician Gary Boothe. Other special guests will include Spiderman and Captain Jack Sparrow. Admission is $5.00 with ages 2 and under get in free. Parking will be available behind the newly remodeled museum in the 17th St. parking garage. For more details on Kids Fun Day, please phone 606-329-8888.

Van Lear Museum Bldg.Crystal-Gayle-exhibit-image

Van Lear To Shine During 2017 Town Celebration August 4 & 5

The people who grew up in Van Lear, Loretta Lynn’s old home town and coal camp in southeastern Johnson County, recall life there as peaceful, friendly, and neighborly. Everyone was a part of the town’s coal mining industry. The Van Lear Town Celebration began as a reunion for all who had ties to this model coal community. The 2017 Town Celebration is always held during the first Saturday of August. This year it will be Friday, August 4 and Saturday, August 5. Attractions will include a lot of live music , food, crafts, a car show, parade, men and women’s cornhole tournament, tours of the Coal Miners’ Museum and more. Van Lear has consistently drawn thousands of tourists annually, since it is where visitors can see and tour Loretta Lynn’s actual home place. Just down the road is the old #5 Company Store, now restored and operated by her brother, Herman Webb. The current Coal Miners’ Museum building was once the actual company headquarters for Consolidated Coal Company in the heyday of Van Lear’s Coal Industry. Inside there is a full restored diner from the 40s era, known as Icky’s. A replica of the town is on the second floor of the museum. In the top floor is a triple brick-lined vault where the coal company stored its money. There’s a lot to see and do in Van Lear, especially during Van Lear Days 2017!

Below is a partial view inside the 40s styled Icky’s restaurant located on the ground floor of the Coal Miners’ Museum in Van Lear, Ky. The world renowned home town of Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle. Also see a shot of the Coal Miner’s Museum building. inside Icky's revised

 Remember Older Products With Practical Benefits? Feed Sacks , Free Dishes , and Collectible Containers

From the turn of the century, lasting until the eary 60s Americans would routinely re-use product containers, and shop for popular products containing free gifts such as dishes. Peanut butter cans, yes tin cans originally, were saved. People would save cans that once contained legendary Prince Albert tobacco and some would place them atop their mailboxes to let the mailman know to pick up outgoing mail. Flour companies serving eastern Kentucky would put new plates inside their sacks of flour, as housewives collected the entire sets over time. One of the most remembered extra-value items collected by everyday citizens was feed sacks. Feed companies selling bags of middlings, made of finely ground wheat and other ingredients and fed to young pigs and hogs required tightly woven cloth to seal in the contents, Over time the feed companies realized that attractive fabrics that families could later use to make make numerous items like clothes, quilts.

  feed sack feature 2

An old photo showing the beautiful patterns, unfortunately in black and white.

A retired Pike County English teacher named Cathy Bartley has written a sweet children’s book called Feed Sack Rich. Her book describes a large crowd of women in the Pike County community of Marrowbone who would gather early Thursday morning for the regular shipment of animal feed.  The food was important to the families there, but so were the eye-catching sacks they were packed in.  There was a good variety of prints and patterns on these bags. Sacks for sugar, flour, hams, sausages, seed, and fertilizer took over for barrels and boxes around 1857.   IMG_0223

Author Cathy Bartley knows about the wonderful blessing of feed sacks in her grade school days.

feed sack feature They were all picked out by this group of customers as they would strive to get the better of the feed sack patterns of the day ahead of a neighbor. In a few areas served by different feed suppliers, the sacks were not as elaborate, but were still made of the finely woven muslin fabric that was a bone white or nearly ivory color. The feed company would print their name on the feed sacks, but with a good bleaching, all you had left was the desired fabric to have the neighborhood seamstress turn into a usable garment for a quarter or a bit more. Medium florals, large florals, polka dots, stripes, plaids, solids and ornate designs were manufactured. Themed prints for gardening and kitchens were common, along with hankie and border print feed sacks as well. Some feed sack prints were designed for specific seasons and months, and there were even prints highlighting different geographic areas. Pop culture was not ignored by the feed sack fabric manufacturers either — it’s possible to find Disney-themed feed sacks, including Alice in Wonderland, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. A Gone with the Wind design was even created and well circulated.! The fabric from these bags was used to make clothing, quilts, pillowcases, diapers,  and items such as curtains, dish towels and aprons, up until the early 1960s, when most of the fabric bags were replaced with paper ones. 1850s stuff shipped in barrels and boxes. Then plain fabric feed sacks began to appear, for flour, seed, sugar, flour, hams, sausages, and fertilizer. Materials were available in U. S., U. K. and Canada Many patterns were specific to a region, and would be seasonal. Gone with the wind  Disney characters, etc. The beloved feed sacks finally went away in the sixties replaced by paper sacks.

FEED SACK RICH IS AVAILABLE BY REQUEST AT 606-432-4963  or for more information by e-mail at



The Boyd County Fair happens July 11 thru 15 west of Ashland on the fairgrounds off U. S. 60

There’s live music, livestock, wrestling, a rodeo, a pageant, sporting events, and motorsports.

Music includes gospel groups, The Perry Sisters and Gold City Thursday, July 13. On Friday, July 14 its Blue Highway, and then Saturday, fans will hear from Tyler Booth and The Asphalt Outlaws.

Music for Thursday and Friday begins at 7 p.m. For Saturday it all starts at 6:30 p.m.

Fundraiser will help showcase the Highway’s up-and-coming talent

The 2017 Under the Fireworks at the Hilton Garden Inn event generated $4800 in funds that will go toward showcasing Eastern Kentucky artists at the Kentucky State Fair, 2017. This event was made possible by Pikeville Food City, the Hilton Garden Inn of Pikeville, and Pike County Tourism CVB.The event was sponsored by Appalachian News-Express, Appalachian Wireless, Billy Johnson Law Firm, Community Trust Bank, Eureka Energy Corporation, Gary C. Johnson, PSC, Judi Conway Patton, Shane Hall Attorney at Law, PLLC, Southeast Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Southside Wine & Spirits, Tony K. Tackett and The Inn at Wise. Eastern Kentucky performers Jason Goble, Jessie Rachelle and Jim Hunt and the Jaguars provided entertainment for the event. The funds generated by the sponsors of this event will be used to pay for the travel expenses for Eastern Kentucky performers and hand-to-eye artists to be featured at the Eastern Kentucky “Pride of the Counties” booth at the Kentucky State Fair, 2017.

“The state fair sees hundreds of thousands of attendees from across the world, offering a great opportunity for Eastern Kentucky stars to shine,” said Tony K. Tackett, Executive Director of Pike County Tourism CVB. “Our community businesses have really stepped up this year, and we are so grateful that they have supported these wonderful artists.” “At the end of the day, it is all about showcasing what Eastern Kentucky offers,” said Jay Shepherd, Pike County Tourism CVB Marketing Director. “We want to let our visitors know that our region is a hotbed of talent, and we offer high quality entertainment in addition to all of our other attractions.” Readers that wish to support showcasing Eastern Kentucky talent at the Kentucky State Fair may contact Pike County Tourism CVB for details, (606) 432-5063. Donations are still being accepted.


Lonestar and Kelsie May will be on stage July 4 at Ashland River Port.

Summer Motion In Ashland Offers Family Events and Live Music

The 29th Summer Motion in Ashland, Ky. Will run June 30 thru July 4. A main feature of Sumer Motion is offering largely free family entertainment since all concerts are without admission charges. Sheila Fraley, a co-chair of the 2017 Summer Motion Festival says the event has come a long way since it began as the former Tri-State Fair and Regatta. “The event used to began in Ironton, then was held for the second week in Ashland, and the third week was in Huntingon, WV.” Fraley’s involvement with Summer Motion goes back seven years. There will be  music by local bands and performers at Central Park for 3 days during the festival, and the headliner music shows will be at the banks of the Big Sandy River from a floating stage. Summer Motion will include a carnival, 10K Race that will invite donations of canned food for River Cities Harvest, food vendors, games, and a car show. Music begins at the Ashland River Port with Contemporary Christian Night on Monday July 3 featuring groups Cypress and Cedar followed by Matthew West. On Tuesday, July 4 rising Country Music Highway star Kelsie May from Louisa takes the stage, followed by country supergroup  Lonestar. The Tri-State’s largest fireworks display will immediately follow the July 4th evening’s music above the Ohio River at 10:30 p.m.. Fraley and fellow co-chair Ruby Deerfield invite everyone to this year’s Summer Motion. Both ladies work at Marathon in Catlettsburg. A new attraction this year will be key participants in the TV Show Mountain Monsters.  This show focuses on the search for Bigfoot and other mysterious sighting reports about scary beings some believe dwell in our forests. For further information, go online at

Huntington’s Garden Party Artist Market Set For Saturday, June 24

Heritage Station | 210 11th St | 10am – 3pm The Red Caboose beside Heritage Station, 210 11th Street will host its Garden Party Artist Market on Saturday, June 24th, from 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM. The market will occupy the Cabell-Huntington Convention & Visitors Bureau’s meeting space at Heritage Station and spill out onto the sidewalk to include an open air market. Twenty Red Caboose artisans and authors will be on hand selling and discussing their work. Stop by the craft table and make your own garden party accessory! Thomas Teas of Charleston, WV will offer tea tastings throughout the event. The Artist Market is free and open to the public. While you are at Heritage Station visit the other locally-owned shops. Grab a cup of coffee at River and Rail Bakery or Butter It Up, explore the fashions and accessories at Birds of a Feather, and peruse the artisan products at Full Circle Ceramic and Brand Yourself.

State Grant Will Propel Louisa Riverwalk Construction

Louisa has been awarded $312,200 for their long sought Riverwalk Project. The Rediscover Louisa Riverwalk will tie in the existing sidewalks with a walkway beside the river and will provide several outlets when complete. The announcement came from Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin in early June.

The 24th “Shelby Railroad Reunion Homecoming”

Is In Pike County Saturday, June 24

Shelbiana, KY — Pike County is home to a rich railroad tradition. Each year, eastern Kentucky railroaders, along with their friends and families gather at the beautiful Grace Baptist Church on the hill in Shelbiana to reminisce of the old railroad days and honor the memories of those who worked on the tracks that built America. This year’s event will be held Saturday, June 24th. Everyone is invited to this event; feel free to bring your favorite dish. This event will be held indoors at the church, with doors opening at 9:30 a.m. Visitors are also welcome to “A Time to Reflect”, a great opportunity to fellowship and share golden memories This year, 4 more college scholarships will be awarded to deserving high school seniors. William “Bill” Clark Enterprises and the Shelby Reunion Committee make these scholarships possible. Collis P. Huntington will again return as a sponsor and will provide two tickets on Amtrak’s “New River Excursion” valued at $450.00. The trip leaves Huntington, goes to Hinton, WV and will take place in the fall. A flat screen TV will also be awarded by drawing. The Shelby Railroad Reunion homecoming committee will honor Pike County Tourism CVB and board members for their years of commitment to the Shelby Railroad Reunion. You must be registered and be present to be awarded any prizes. Drinks will be provided. View old railroad pictures and railroad artifacts, which will be on display. Bring your old pictures; join in the fun and great food. The purpose of this event is two-fold; to remind us of our railroad heritage and to generate funds to continue providing scholarships to worthy recipients. More than 30 scholarships have been awarded to date. The Shelby Railroad Reunion Homecoming is a 501C3 non-profit organization. If you would like to donate, it is tax deductible. Send check to Shelby Railroad Reunion, P.O. Box 496, Shelbiana, KY 41562.
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Tennessee Bar Association Convention Hears Hatfield-McCoy Information From Direct Descendants June 14-17

The Hatfield-McCoy Feud has recently been the focal point of the Tennessee Bar Assoication  Annual Convention. The event occurred June 14 thru June 17 at the Meadowview Mariottt in Kingsport, TN. The members of the Bar Association were personally moved  by the way the speakers elaborated about this legendary feud, shedding new light and knowledge about an American conflict that entangled two states and dozens of family members on both sides. They summarized the events that led to the end of this feud and where the families are today, and their modern relationship. Speakers were direct descendants, William Keith Hatfield, a great grandson of Hatfield family patriarch, “Devil Anse” Hatfield,  and Ron McCoy, third-great grandson of Randolph McCoy,  the rival family leader. They also heard from Bob Scott, a Hatfield descendant and owner of the original McCoy property in the Pike County Community of Hardy. Over 200 members of the legal profession in Tennessee heard intricate details of the famous feud, including future plans for rebuilding the McCoy Cabin that was burned by the Hatfields in the 1888 New Years Day Massacre. Presently, the water well is all that remains along with a few relics of burnt wood. William Keith Hatfield is the pastor of Charity Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and has served in this position for 36 years. He and wife, Sharon, have six children and fifteen grandchildren. Ron McCoy was a key organizer of the 2003 Hatfield-McCoy Truce. Bob Scott is a board member of the Pike County Tourism Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and is an active promoter of the Feud tours and the historical attractions that have recently evolved around it. Pike County CVB Executive Director Tony Tackett moderated a lively question and answer session at the Tennessee convention, and noted the story of the Hatfields & McCoys is something we “should never forget”. Tackett acknowledged the many successes surrounding the developments that have transformed this colorful part of American history into a major east Kentucky and southwestern West Virginia tourist attraction.



A notable accolade for Pike County Tourism is the inclusion in Kentucky Tourism’s 99 Days Of Summer. The overall campaign is being handled at the state level, with an interactive calendar and page that isolates 99 premier attractions across the Commonwealth. The Hatfield and McCoy Heritage Days September 22-24, and a mention of the Zip, Paddle, and Saddle opportunities are the particular points of interest to be covered on the Kentucky Tourism website,.


“I have everything I have ever wanted, or ever thought about having,” this was the personal observation by Chris Stapleton during a recent national TV interview. Chris is introducing some new tunes around the country, like “Broken Halos”, and “Either Way”. He had a recent accident that caused him to reschedule some tour dates in June and July.

chris stapleton broken finger

chris-stapleton-sliderReports are he broke an index finger on his right hand and injured a tendon. On his Facebook page, he says he will need therapy on the inured hand. He thanked everyone for their concern and well wishes.

Jewel City JAMboree  at Harris River Front Park Huntington, WV | Veterans Memorial Blvd & 10th st

JCJAM3 is a multi-genre music festival held at David Harris Riverfront Park along the beautiful Ohio River. Music, food, friendship and a celebration of our local heritage will take place May 26th & May 27th of 2017. From Bluegrass and Old Time to Americana, the Blues, Rock and Western Cowboy Swing with a little of all in between, makes this one of the most unique festivals of the season. JCJAM3 is a 100% not for profit show staffed entirely by volunteers. Besides the great venue, food and music, the show supports local charities for Veterans and 1st Respondents with its net profit. For a full lineup, tickets, and more information please visit

Blenko Glass Garden Party at Milton, WV 9 Bill Blenko Drive |6 pm – 8pm  Friday, May 26

All guests can look forward to an evening of live music, elegant finger foods and  a “vintage” 1964 floral and glass garden. Chat with old and new friends in the garden or stroll about and enjoy the flowers and glass displays. At 7pm a Hat Parade will be conducted for those wishing to compete in our 1st ever Garden Party Hat Contest. Two categories will be judged to offer both a first and second place prize for Best hat in the Elegant category and in the Outlandish category. A total of four uniquely handmade Blenko glass hats will be awarded as prizes. Special glass made by Blenko for use in gardens and landscaping will be offered for sale both that evening and throughout Saturday in the Visitor Center store. The cost per person is $18 and is nonrefundable. In the event of rain the event will be held indoors. Only 80 tickets are available. Advance registration is required. Reservations can be made by calling us at 304-743-9081.

US 23 Yard Sale Is Set to Go

The 2017 U.S. 23  Country Music Highway Yard Sale will operate Thursday, Friday and Saturday, May 25 thru May 27.

The Kentucky portion of the highway, running from Greenup County to Letcher County is open to sellers for this special annual event. It’s important to understand that although sales and setups are encouraged all along the highway,  care should be taken to position items displayed off of the state right-of-way. Participants must receive permission from landowners. Those participating are asked to mark their yard sale area with orange balloons

Loretta Lynn Hospitalized

May 4 Following Stroke

The week of May 20, reports from Nashville are that the 85-year-old Country Music Highway icon has been released from the hospital with expectations she can fully recovery from a Thursday evening, May 4 stroke. The event occurred at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee. Sister Crystal Gayle thanked fans for their prayers and well wishes. Lynn is being encouraged to rest and stop working for a while. She was described after being hospitalized as responsive and alert.

Come to the Knott County Spring (and Fall) Trail Ride, Rodeo, and Live Music Extravaganza featuring Country Star John Anderson May 4-6!

The Knott County Spring Trail Ride is scheduled Thursday, May 4 thru Saturday, May 6 at the 50,000 acre mountaintop site just off Ky. 80 about seven miles north of Hindman.
This year, horse owners and enthusiastic riders will form their own self-contained community complete with live music, vendors, and a full calendar of activities.
Participants come from across the nation and throughout the four-state immediate area.
New this year is a Rodeo.
This site is a former strip mine that has been named the Mine Made Adventure Park and offers a huge expanse of essentially flat, reclaimed land for riding, camping, sightseeing, and enjoyment of the live music and rodeo.
Country music superstar John Anderson will be the headliner this year. img_8916-small-web-size

Highway Sign For Chris S. stapleton hankjr

Stapleton Is Now an Official

U. S. 23 Superstar A little more than a year has passed since the decision to add superstar Chris Stapleton’s name to the U. S. 23 Country Music Highway road signs at the north and south entrance to his Johnson County home, but Kentucky Transportation employees erected the new sign on Friday, April 21.

Hillbilly Days To Feature Two

Chris Stapleton Shows

At Expo Center Hillbilly Days for 2017 will happen April 20 thru 22 in Pikeville, Ky. Hillbilly Days is Kentucky’s second largest festival. A main event for this year’s festival is two shows from country music sensation Chris Stapleton.  Adding to the appeal of Stapleton’s two sellout shows is the fact he is from the Country Music Highway,  of which Pike County is a major part. Stapleton hails from the Johnson County community of Staffordsville, and is a graduate of Johnson Central High School where he was a football player and class valedictorian. There will be plenty of live music, specialty and food booths, a parade on Saturday, a car show and many other great events to enjoy.

Diamond Divas – A Night Against Domestic Violence Barboursville Holiday Inn & Suites | 3551 US Route 60 E | Barboursville | 6 pm

Tickets are on sale now! Call or stop by the Holiday Inn, Huntington CVB, Barboursville CVB, and Kenzington Alley! $15 in advance/$20 at the door! Event will have mini manicures & pedicures, massages, complimentary apps, a fashion show, great music, drink specials, and over 20 vendors

Huntington Harmonica Club Jam Gino’s Pub | 2501 5th Ave | 7 pm – 9 pm

The Huntington Harmonica Club hosts its weekly jam from 7 to 9 p.m. every Tuesday at Gino’s Pub. The group, which formed up back in August 2001, has been making a joyful noise weekly ever since. Everyone is invited to play. Visit, listen and hang at the Pub (which has a newly renovated game room) or jam and learn to play everything from folk and rock to rhythm and blues.

Go online at to find out more about the Harmonica Club.

        Huntington’s Ritter Park Hosts Easter Egg Hunt and More

This egg hunt has a special twist, it is for dogs!  Called the Paws in the Park Easter Egg Hunt,  you are invited to bring your leashed dog to search for eggs filled with dog treats.  This cute event is set for Friday April 7 at 6:00 p.m.


The first ever Maple Syrup Festival at Savage Farms in Northwest Lawrence County


Folks were treated to a tractor-drawn wagon ride into the hills to see first hand how the sap from Maple trees was withdrawn through long light blue tubes.  Food, vendors, and live music entertained hundreds of visitors.

Kelsie May Gets Record Deal

Kelsie May Signs Record Deal, Performs at Mt. Arts Center

Nashville Video Project Is Next April 2

Kelsie May of Louisa has remained a hard-working singer and songwriter since she made a big splash in 2015 on Season 8  of NBC’s The Voice. She announced Friday evening, February 24 live from her Facebook page that big things had been happening on her road to stardom and continued accomplishment in the music business. During Kelsie May’s live Facebook announcement, she said “I will be shooting a video on April 2, in Nashville, and will use four individuals who registered to win an appearance in the video during her March 18 concert. A special press conference and Launch Party happened Saturday, March 18 at around 6 p.m. and preceded her first show of the year at the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg. “Co-headlining my own show there is awesome,” she said.  My first single with my new record label is called “Drivin’”. She completed a signing with the Blue Sapphire record label of Canada in February of this year. Blue Sapphire is also an affiliate of Universal Music Group, a worldwide operation. She has just released an EPM titled “Love Is Where You Find It”.

C Stapleton Sketch

Stapleton Coming For Two

Expo Center Shows

Chris Stapleton nominated in three categories for the 52nd annual ACM Awards

He will be doing two sellout shows at the East Kentucky Expo Center on April 20 and 21 as part of the Hillbilly Days spring festival. His ACM nominations are for Male Vocalist Of The Year, “Tennessee Whiskey” was tagged as a possible “Song of the Year”, and the song video for “Fire Away is in the running for “Video Of The Year.” CBS will air the awards show from Las Vegas on April 2 at 8 p.m. EDT.


Sturgill Simpson Has East Ky. Roots

Sturgill  Simpson has earned a Grammy and a Grammy nomination at this year’s 59th awards show. His success points to the rich talent to be found in eastern Kentucky, near our Country Music Highway. His birthplace is Jackson in Breathitt County. He graduated from Woodford County High School in Versailles. “A Sailor’s Guide To Earth” captured the Grammy for Best Country Album, and had a nomination as Album Of The Year. This was his third album produced in studio.


Crystal Gayle Inducted Into Grand Ole Opry 

Country Music Highway superstar Crystal Gayle was surprised during her November 15 Grand Ole Opry performance with Carrie Underwood with an invitation to become an official Grand Ole Opry member. The legendary Grand Ole Opry is in its 91st year and a membership is a top honor offered only to a select group of top artists of country music. She had just completed a duet with Underwood on the Opry stage of her signature Grammy winning song, Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue when she was invited to join. Her famous sister, Loretta Lynn, has been a Grand Ole Opry member since 1962. Gayle (Brenda Gail Webb) was formally inducted into the Opry on Jan. 21, 2017 by her legendary sister. Crystal Gayle first sang at the Opry at age 16 at the old Ryman Auditorium by singing “Ribbon of Darkness”. On the night she was invited after their duet before a sellout crowd, Underwood spoke these words to Crystal Gayle, “You are an inspiration to so many of us. You are important to country music, and you are important to the Opry, which is why I was asked tonight to ask you if you would like to join our Opry family officially.” She smiled and gave Underwood a hug as she accepted. Big sister Loretta Lynn was an early member of the Grand Ole Opry back in 1962. She made the induction official as the two stood on the Opry stage Saturday, January 21.  Pete Fisher, Opry Vice President and General Manager commented, “For more than half of the Opry’s 91 years, Crystal Gayle has been lending her signature vocals to Opry shows and connecting with Opry audiences as well as with everyone backstage. She is family, and we are very excited. Crystal Gayle’s latest honor is in addition to being a Grammy winner,  CMA Female Vocalist of the Year in 1977 and 1978, ACM Female Vocalist Of the Year in 1976, 1977, and 1979, she has a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, and has been inducted into the Kentucky Music Hall Of Fame. Crystal has a singing presence and style considerably different from Loretta, and enjoyed wide acceptance as a performer who was able to be a key crossover artist. She was the first female country artist to have a platinum album with “We Must Believe In Magic”.  She has had 20 Number One hits. Crystal Gayle made her Opry debut when she substituted for Loretta Lynn who had been too ill make her scheduled appearance.

Savage Farms for Web

The only commercial maple syrup producer in eastern Kentucky, with only three in all of Kentucky

Lawrence County Farm Is Hosting A Maple Festival March 25

Traditionally, the region that provides the best maple syrup is New England, and Vermont in particular. Lately, maple syrup from a new producer from Lawrence County, Kentucky was judged in a taste test to be a worthy competitor to the renowned maple products from Vermont. Savage Farms can be found along Kentucky Route 3 in Lawrence County around 9 miles northwest of Louisa. It is a family enterprise, led by retired Kentucky State Trooper Keith Moore, his wife Jennifer, and son Wesley, and fiancée, Holly.  Moore retired as an administrator at Kings Daughters Medical Center in Ashland at the end of 2015. In keeping with their evolution as a commercial producer of maple syrup and maple products, on Saturday,March 25 Savage Farms will host the annual Maple Festival. The event begins with a pancake breakfast, followed by tours and demonstrations that showcase Savage Farms many maple products produced on their farm. The farm has over 200 Red Maple trees and has been building a reputation for maple-based choices at their store beside Highway 3 like pecan maple pies, maple butter, maple candy. They have been producing commercial products on their farm now for over three years.  They also make sorghum and grow strawberries and blueberries on an ever increasing scale. Savage Farms is the only commercial syrup producer in eastern Kentucky, and one of just three statewide. The farm participates in what is known as Agri-tourism, a grouping together of progressive farms for tours and demonstrations of their products for the special benefit of visitors and tourists. In spring, the clear lifeblood of various types of trees flows freely in a water-like substance known as sap.  It is this plentiful liquid that is boiled down to syrup.


Marlana, center, is flanked by a group of new friends and admirers after one of her performances at a UK basketball event,

VanHoose Will Perform In Washington, D. C, at Pres. Trump’s Inaugural

Another high honor has been directed toward Marlana VanHoose, a young Johnson County woman who has turned in numerous high profile singing performances all across the United States. On Jan. 19, she will hit the international spotlight at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. as part of President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration festivities. Miss VanHoose has been playing piano since she was a toddler, and singing just a little later on, and was in her first talent contest at Johnson Central High School in Paintsville at age six. One of a dozen performers for the 58th Presidential Inauguration, she was notified by a January 2 letter of her newest assignment through the Artists Music Guild (AMG) office in North Carolina. As a member of the Artist Music Guild, she was honored as the 2015 recipient for Youth Artist of the Year. Marlana also was the 2012  New Artist of the Year and Young Artist of the Year. She was a nominee two years in a row, 2013 and 2014 for Artist of the Year. She began singing at large venues in 2012, that has now broadened to include appearances from coast to coast. David VanHoose, her proud father, remembers with a wide smile, “She’s done Madison Square Garden, she’s done Carnegie Hall, and the Barclays Center in Brooklyn,” her father said. “She’s been from Miami to Boston, Oregon to California. She’s been all over the country singing.” Marlana, now 20, received increased prominence after appearing for a National Anthem performance at such sporting events as UK games,  the 2015 NBA playoffs, NBA Finals (game 6), and at the 2016 Republican National Convention. For more information and background on Marlana VanHoose, refer to  the Future CMH Stars tab on this website’s Home Page.

Dancing With Our Stars is Highlands Museum’s Biggest Fundraiser

The biggest annual fundraiser for the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center in Ashland will happen Saturday, February 4 at the Boyd County Community Center at Meads on Ky. Rt. 180.  Dancing With Our Stars features competition among local celebrities for the most votes to win the Mirror Ball Trophy in the main event from 6 p.m. to midnight. Participating celebrities this year are: Dr. Leon Briggs, Dr. Mary Legenza, Marilyn Mason, Kathryn Robinson, Mark Maynard, Leslee McLeod, Amanda Collins,  and Matt Perkins. Vote your favorite participant with a one dollar contribution per vote at For more information go to the website at or call 606-329-8888.


The Sipp Theater of Paintsville will be undergoing interior remodeling, it has been announced by Paintsville Tourism. The historic Main Street venue will be reopening in early Spring. Progress reports will be available periodically on Paintsville Tourism’s Facebook Page.




Loretta Lynn is a current Grammy nominee for Full Circle, her first studio album in a decade. The album was created from a large collection of her recordings, described by many as the story of her life and career. She now at age 84, is still active on several  fronts, like taping a Christmas special and a March 31, 2017 performance at the Louisville Palace. A previous album, Van Lear Rose captured two Grammys in 2005. Lynn is one of the earliest country superstar from the Country Music Highway section of eastern Kentucky.  Her book Coal Miner’s Daughter was adapted into the smash hit movie of the same name that further acquainted folks with her remarkable career. Country music icon Loretta Lynn will perform at the Louisville Palace on March 31, 2017. The show  starts at 8 p.m.Tickets run from $39.50 to $69.50. She has had numerous top ten chart his, including these notable Number Ones;   Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ 1966;  Fist City 1968;  Woman of the World  and Coal Miner’ Daughter from 1970. Other nominees for the 2017 Grammy for Best Country Album include:  Big Day In A Small Town, Brandy Clark;  HERO, Maren Morris; A Sailor’s Guide To Earth, Sturgill Simpson; Ripcord, Keith Urban.

Christmas Tour of Homes Is Coming To Ashland

Tickets are now on sale for the Highlands Museum & Discovery Center’s annual Christmas Tour of Homes.  This holiday tradition coordinated by the Friends of the Highlands will take place on December 3 from 11am to 5pm and December 4 from 1pm to 5pm.  The 2016 tour features eight beautifully decorated locations.  In addition to private residences, The Ambassador is a stop on the tour and will be offering a 20% discount on food purchases to participants when they present their tickets during the tour days.

The locations being featured on the 2016 tour are:

  • Robert & Teresa Powers-1420 Bath Ave
  • Gerardo & Kathy Mejia-1301 Bath Ave
  • Lisa Cain & Bruce Davis-1550 Prospect Place
  • Justin & Rose-Linda Stafford-1558 Prospect Place
  • Pete & Terri Wonn-1933 Coburn Ave
  • Jerry & Amy Dickerson-979 Ivy Creek-Bellefonte
  • The Ambassador-1701 Central Ave
  • Highlands Museum-1620 Winchester Ave

The tour will begin at the Highlands Museum with refreshments and cookies set among decorations provided by the Boyd County Homemakers.  The Tour of Homes also coincides with the museums Holiday Open House.  From 12pm to 2pm on December 3, stop by the museum for live music and a special visit from Santa Claus.   Tickets for the Christmas Tour of Homes are $20 and can be purchased at the museum with cash, check made payable to the Highlands Museum & Discovery Center, or Visa/MasterCard.  Members of the Friends of the Highlands are also selling tickets.  Transportation will be provided to all stops on the tour; however, participants are welcome to drive.  Homes on the tour are not handicapped accessible.  Please no children under 8 years of age.  Photography will not be permitted inside of the homes.  For more information about the Tour of Homes call the museum at 606-329-8888.

Enjoy Christmas in the City

Downtown Paintsville

December 3 12:00-5:30 PM
Come celebrate the Christmas season in beautiful downtown Paintsville. This annual Christmas event is FREE and hosted by Paintsville Main Street and Paintsville Tourism. Events includes free photo booth, a live Nativity, carriage rides, and a parade. Call 606-789-2600 for more information

Stapleton Continues To Earn Industry Awards

Chris Stapleton had his talent and position in country music again validated in the 2016 CMA Awards TV broadcast on Wednesday, November 2 Stapleton was honored for the Music Video Of The Year with “Fire Away.  He was also picked as Male Vocalist of the Year. The Fire Away video focuses on mental health awareness. Other honors could be coming Stapleton’s way.  On Sunday, November 30 at 8 p.m., ABC will broadcast the American Music Awards (AMA). The album Traveller is nominated for an AMA award as Favorite Country Album. He was also honored as Artist of the Year at the 15th Annual Americana Music Association Honors and Awards show from the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. chrisstapletoncma2015 STAPLETON AGAIN ENJOYS MULTIPLE CMA NOMINATIONS ABC TV will be shining a bright spotlight at this year’s CMA Awards show on Wednesday, November 2 from Nahsville.  The familiar broadcast that rewards top country performers of all types is again hosted by Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley. The Country Music Highway has a bright star among several nominees again this year in Chris Stapleton. He is in competition for the honor of Male Vocalist Of The Year along with Tim McGraw, Eric Church, Keith Urban,  Dierks Bentley and Eric Church. “Nobody To Blame” is Stapleton’s entry in the Single of the Year category.  Also in the running are newcomer Maren Morris for “My Church”, Eric Church with “Record Year”,  Thomas Rhett’s “Die A Happy Man”, and “Humble and Kind” from Tim McGraw. The top prize of Entertainer of the Year involves Stapleton, Carrie Underwood, Garth Brooks, Luke Bryan, and Keith Urban. A live version of “You Are My Sunshine” by Chris and wife Morgane Stapleton is up for a nomination for Musical Event of the Year. A Special Free Event on Kentucky Aviation Set October 13 in Ashland

For people that love airplanes and aviation, a special Program Thursday, October 13 will be especially enjoyable. It happens at the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center  on Winchester Avenue in downtown Ashland. The event will focus on aviation history from historian Bill Martin, and the admission is free. Martin will detail the top fighter pilot in World War I, Lt. Jesse Orin Creech, a native of Harlan, Ky.  His exploits will be detailed, along with his flying history and the aircraft he flew. This event begins at 6:30 p.m.

Knott County Trail Ride

Draws Thousands


img_8996-small-web-size-copyTourism along the Country Music Highway at its best! This trio from Greenup Co. were thoroughly enjoying a ride Friday evening, October 7.

Outdoor adventure, equine style combined with excellent live music and horse races made life sweet for people from around the United States, Mexico, and Canada at the 2016 Knott County Trail Ride. The location for this adventure is the Mine Made Adventure Park, a beautiful mountaintop former strip mine site that has been fully reclaimed and offers three picturesque riding trails. Those who choose to take the longest trail available often spend around eight hours to ride full circle. The site of the Trail Ride is just two miles north of Hindman, the center of Knott County Government, and is put on by the county and its tourism commission. Campfires began to glow as sundown arrived with an especially dramatic glow because of the flattened mountain top perspective. Neighbors on the huge campground are busy making new friends and planning for their upcoming rides,  making visits to the numerous food booths,  and enjoying full evenings of live music, which kicked off with bluegrass bands on Thursday, October 6. The first group was the Tommy Webb Band at 6:30, then Middle Fork Grass took the stage at 7:30, and wrapping it up was Mountain Melody at 9:00 p.m. At 5:30 on Friday, October 7 the first band onstage was Stillwater, and at 6:30 it was Hassell Bryant. By 7:30 the spotlight fell on Midlife Crisis, and wrapping it up at 9:00 p.m. was a band called Triple Run. The Saturday night playbill included Michael McKay Combs starting at 5:00 p.m., Tyra Short followed at 6:00 p.m., next was James Carothers at 7:30 p.m., and the finale was William Michael Morgan beginning at 9:00 p.m. Visitors from all over Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia were there in droves, many having been there for past Trail Rides for at least three years or more. Deb Knudson  lives in Catlettsburg, having recently moved here from North Dakota.Of the Knott County Trail Ride, she says, “This is big, bigger than a lot of the rides I’ve been on before.  It’s a remarkable site. She was riding a Tennessee  Walker and she has two other Appaloosas. img_8948-small-web-size

img_8916-small-web-sizeThis panoramic shot only captured less than half of the campsites just beyond the entrance gate. The music stage is just to the right, as are many additional campers, booths, and riding trails.


Saturday morning’s Car Show reached from Broadway to Jefferson Avenue, and is always a favorite.

Looking back at Whitesburg and Letcher County’s Mountain Heritage 2016

img_8882 img_8899img_8896

In the above photos: A Saturday evening crowd (PHOTO 1)…..woodcraft at its best(2)……one of many interesting booths(3)




A big weekend for Greenup County will be September 29 thru October 1 during the 51st annual Greenup Old Fashioned Days. A highlight is a Saturday, October 1 parade at 4 p.m. on Main Street.  That morning from 9 a.m. until noon, there’ll be a Lions Club car show. On Thursday, Sept. 29 a pizza eating contest  on the main stage starts at 3 p.m. and will wind up about an hour later. Near the court house on Friday morning,  September 30, a pie baking contest starts at 9 a.m., with judging at 10:00 a. m. Hoops on the River will be a basketball competition starting at 8 a. m. Saturday. Saturday evening on the main stage, there will be a talent show.  Participants can register from 6:15 p.m. until 7 p.m.  The show will start a 7 p.m. The Little Sandy River will be the site of a Saturday morning canoe race. After a 9 a. m. registration, the race starts at the Racoon Bridge near Route Two and ends at the Greenup Boat Docks. A costume contest will occur Saturday morning starting at 9 a. m. with judging scheduled at ten o’clock. The main honor for this year’s Old Fashioned Days is the Greenup High School Baseball team,  with a season record of 39 wins and two losses. They were honored by USA Today as one of the top 10 high school baseball teams in the nation. mccoy-well

Hatfields and McCoys unite for a special service at the McCoy Well, lead by “Devil Anse’s” direct descendent, Billy Hatfield.

Pike Co. Event

Revisits Famous Feud

The Hatfield McCoy Heritage Days begins Friday, September 23, and continues through the Sunday, September 25. A wide variety of events are planned, such as a Ruff, Tuff, Cuss race weekend, live music Friday Night at the Billy Johnson Expo Stage in Downtown Pikeville, with Saturday featuring a Hatfield McCoy Farmer’s Market event and Drag Racing that evening.R A special Hatfield McCoy church service is planned at the McCoy Well, Sunday, September 25, 2016. Lead by Billy Hatfield, direct descendant of Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield, the service will begin at 10:00 a.m., and will conclude with the unveiling of new signs to be placed along the Randolph McCoy trail. “Part of what will make this service so special to me is that the Hatfields and McCoys are coming together on the property where the Hatfields attacked and burned down the McCoy’s cabin so many years ago,” said Tony K. Tackett, Pike County Tourism CVB Executive Director. “Lives were lost, and terrible history was made there on that cold New Years Eve. Now, we have the Hatfields and McCoys coming together in peace to honor the past. It will be a something to remember.” The Randolph McCoy Trail is a historic trail that guides visitors through the feud sites of the Hatfields and McCoys. The trail stretches through KY-319, and onto KY-1056, in a region known as Hardy, and Blackberry, Ky. Along this trail are many feud related sites, such as the Randolph McCoy property and well, as well as the Hog Trail Cabin, the Hatfield Washstand, the Pawpaw Trees site, and many more. This trail leads into historic Matewan, WV, where visitors can enjoy a Train Depot museum, as well as the West Virginia Mine Wars Museum. Mt. Homeplace Annual Craft Days on Sept. 22 & 23


Elkhorn City in southeast Pike County, and hometown of Patty Loveless, will host its annual Railroad Days September 30 and October 1 and 2. Elkhorn City has a rich railroad history, and was the main terminus for rail traffic in the region for decades. Events include: September  30  5:00 p.m. Line up for the Elkhorn City Express at the Caboose downtown.  Details at the Light or call 606-794-2486. Bring your own Box Car for the Express. October 1  2:00 p.m. Candle Lite Service at the Community Center in Elkhorn City. All railroaders will be honored.  Those who have passed on, and those still in the area.  There will be refreshments, and visitors can enjoy a special presentation called “Tall Tales by Cathy Cantrell”. October 2  All Day Events Happening beside the Caboose downtown.  There will be a special show featuring Chain Saw Carving.


Each year, the Kentucky State Fair hosts “Pride of the Counties”, featuring various information booths displaying all that the beautiful state of Kentucky has to offer. They are designed to be elaborate and captivating using larger than life props, displays and interactive showcases. They function as an information hub for each county represented, offering visitors brochures and magazines detailing their offerings. More than 600,000 people visit the Kentucky State Fair each year, providing a great opportunity for smaller, yet interesting tourist attractions to garner exposure.


Some of Eastern Kentucky’s greatest talent was showcased throughout the fair on a quaint rustic stage, built by Pike County government from donated lumber. Four musical artists did four, 40 minute live sets each. Artists demonstrating painting, woodworking, glass sculpting, quilting, drawing, candle and pillow making were also present throughout the event, making the Eastern Kentucky booth a place fairgoers may wish to visit more than once. “People would join our artists on stage and sing their favorite songs,” said Jay Shepherd, Pike County Tourism CVB Marketing Director. “I was delighted to see a lady come up and sing Coal Miner’s Daughter. Our booth was really engaging people.” Chris Stapleton & CMA backdrop

Stapleton Again Gains CMA Nominations


Chris Stapleton will be in the limelight again this November because of his five nominations inside the 2016 CMA awards show. The November 2 event will be televised on the ABC network from Nashville’s  Bridgestone Arena.Nominations this year include Entertainer Of The Year, Male Vocalist Of The Year,  Single Of The Year, Video Of The Year, and Musical Event Of The Year. ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR nominees include Stapleton, Garth Brooks, Carrie Underwood,  Keith Urban, and Luke Bryan. MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR will be selection between Stapleton, Dierks Bentley, Eric Church. Tim McGraw, and Keith Urban.MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR honorees include Fire Away by Chris Stapleton. Cam’s Burning House, Humble andKind by Tim McGraw, Somewhere On A Beach from Dierks Bentley, and Record Year by Eric Church. MUSICAL EVENT OF THE YEAR will be decided among these songs and nominees: You Are My Sunshine, Morgane Stapleton with Chris Stapleton; Different For Girls, Dierks Bentley, featuring Elle King; Home Alone Tonight, Luke Bryan featuring Karen Fairchild; The Fighter ,Keith Urban, featuring Carrie Underwood; and Think of You, Chris Young ,duet with Cassadee Pope.SINGLE OF THE YEAR will be decided between Stapleton’s Fire Away,  My Church by Maren Morris, Tim McGraw’s Humble and Kind, Die A Happy Man by Thomas Rhett, and Record Year from Eric Church.

Van Lear Will Invite People from Near and Far Aug. 5 and 6

download Loretta's Homeplace

Van Lear will be the site of multiple fun activities including a Saturday parade at 2:30, loads of live music, the Van Lear Idol talent contest, three cornhole tournaments, a car show, turkey show, tours of Loretta Lynn’s homeplace and the Coal Miners Museum, food, kids activities, and more. Plenty of live music is planned. Ralph Stanley II will be on stage near the Coal Miners Museum Friday, August 5 at 9 p.m. during the 31st Van Lear Town Celebration. Other Friday night performers will be Charlie Hall and the Rocky Knob Ramblers, Black Powder Express, and Five Miles From Nowhere. Saturday’s performers will be from 5 to 6 p.m., The Mountain Wayfarers, followed in order by the Kentucky Valley Boys, First Time Around, Now And Then Band,, and Five Miles From Nowhere. Performance schedules are subject to change.

melvin goins passes

Another Bluegrass Icon Passes; Melvin Goins Was Touring In Canada

By Dan Lyons

The Bluegrass community knew Melvin Goins as a legend, familiar performer and acquaintance, and I’ve always called him the “last of the ole-time pitch men”.By that I mean, when doing his radio show on WSIP-FM 98.9 FM from Paintsville (and WSKV in Stanton),each Saturday morning for over 20 years, he did most of the talking and enthusiastically vouched for and described all his program’s sponsors in colorful clichés and mountain sayings. It was exactly the way old-time radio sounded, and Goins never changed from his early beginning style. Perhaps it was fitting, when word of his passing came Friday, July 29,  he was touring in Canada at age 83.  Obviously Melvin found the career he loved 65 years ago.

Curiously, his death was just a little more than a month after his old friend and revered Bluegrass superstar, Ralph Stanley (June 23).

In his native West Virginia, Melvin and his brother Ray were quick fans of bluegrass radiating from radio programs originating from Bristol, Va., Here they heard The Stanley Brothers and Flatt & Scruggs. They listened also to Bluefield and were impressed by The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers and others. They performed as teenagers around home, and got to play their first show on the radio in 1951. It was a job well done, a good fit as a life’s work. Melvin carried many honors and awards and was extremely well known in national bluegrass circles, and in this Country Music Highway part of Kentucky.

night mkt example copy

Night Market Comes To Elkhorn City Friday evening, August 5

A popular attraction will kick off in Elkhorn City the first Friday night in August.  The Night Market will feature music, food and specialty booths, and arts and crafts from 6 til 10 p.m. Many interesting vendors have already reserved their space, and everyone is invited to come out and enjoy the sights, sounds, and tastes of Elkhorn City’s bold new addition to its list of attractions. If you’d like your own booth, applications are available for download at .  You can also contact the major sponsor of the event Artists Collaborative Theater  by
e-mail at: or at their Facebook page!

Marlana VanHoose, Jason Goble, and Jim Hunt Will Perform at July 29 Pikeville Gathering

Pike County Tourism CVB will be having a fundraiser event, “Artists’ Spotlight Night at The Hilton Garden Inn”, Friday, July 29thThis event is being hosted at the Hilton Garden Inn terrace, with doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Tickets for this event are $25/person, and can be purchased in advance at the Pike County Tourism CVB office, located on the bottom floor of the Pikeville Hampton Inn, or at the door as available. This event will feature great food, a cash bar, refreshments, children’s activities and door prizes, with entertainment provided by Jim Hunt and the Jaguars, Json Goble and Marlana VanHoose. A full menu of the food available for this event includes: mini chicken salad croissants, chicken tenders with assorted dipping sauces, finger sandwiches (ham, turkey, roast beef with and without cheese), BBQ meatballs, deviled egg potato salad, macaroni salad, cheese trays, vegetable trays and fruit trays, and an assorted decadent cookie tray. Food will be provided by Food City of Pikeville, Kentucky. This event is a replacement for the “Under the Fireworks at the Hilton Garden Inn Terrace” event, which was canceled earlier this month due to weather. The goal for this fundraiser is to raise funds to help showcase Eastern Kentucky artists, singers, bands, theatres, arts and crafts at the Kentucky State Fair Pike County Booth on August 18th – August 28th. This booth educates the potential visitor on Eastern Kentucky’s tourism offerings, with materials about festivals,

Marlana VanHoose facebook photo 2016




At the opening night of the Republican National Convention, Johnson County and the Country Music Highway’s Marlana VanHoose sang the national anthem at the start of the week-long political event of the year Monday evening, July 18.  VanHoose has been a noteworthy singer of the national anthem at many key events in recent years, like NBA basketball games, UK basketball games,  NASCAR Sprint races, and the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. The singer who was born blind and suffers from mild cerebral palsy, has been a member of the Artist Music Guild and was honored in 2015 as the Youth Artist Of The Year. After her much acclaimed performance on Monday, July 18, a brief tribute was made to her by Bill O’Reilly on the 8 p.m. prime time Fox News O’Reilly Factor.  Her appearance at the Republican National Convention was picked up by local, regional, and national media. She stated, “I love my country, and it was an honor for me to be here.”

Tim Elkins Comes Out On Top In Road To Fame Contest

A Johnson County singer captured the 2016 Road To Fame Talent Search. 22-year-old Tim Elkins had entered before, as the five-year Road To Fame program winds up with his victory over another extremely talented group of singers and musicians. Elkins says he has always enjoyed writing and music since he was a young boy. “I’m comfortable when I’m on stage,” he said. Kelsie May, who wowed the nation during the winter of 2014-15 as a member of Team Blake on NBC-TV’s “The Voice” served as a celebrity judge and performed at the final show at the Mountain Arts Center. He won among 11 other contestants.


Loretta Lynn,  perhaps the biggest overall star to hail from the Country Music Highway, has just accomplished another notable project.  She has released a brand new album “Full Circle”. She has been making the rounds promoting the new effort, to the Tonight and Today Show on NBC, National Public Radio, and exposure in the print media thru the likes of Rolling Stone and USA Today, and New York Times. After over 60 years in the business,  the premier country superstar from the Country Music Highway has released another compilation of impressive songs on Sony Legacy,  many of which are familiar reminders of a highly successful career. Full Circle is the successor to 2004’s Van Lear Rose. Critics have spoken well of the new effort,  and of Miss Loretta’s continued vocal strength and presence. Many songs on the new Full Circle are of the type she was known for in the 60s and 70s,  including one of two brand new tunes,  “ Everything It Takes” that is getting strong radio airplay.

Chris Stapleton on TV

Stapleton Wins Two Grammys And Performs at 58th Grammy Awards

Chris Stapleton has once again shone brightly on national TV by performing a B. B. King blues classic with music legend Bonnie Raitt and singer, guitarist Gary Clark Jr. He also captured two out of four Grammy nominations, both connected to his smash hit “Traveller”.

He won Best Country Album and Best Country Solo Performance. Stapleton won over Little Big Town, and the album “Pain Killer”; Sam Hunt, “Montevallo”: Ashley Monroe,”The Blade”; and Kasey Musgraves, “Pageant Material”.
In the solo performance category, Stapleton bested “Burning House” by Cam; “Little Toy Guns” by Carrie Underwood; “Chances Are” by Lee Ann Womack; and Keith Urban’s “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16”.
Stapleton joined Raitt and Clark in “The Thrill Is Gone” a long-time Blues standard belonging to B. B. King who passed  in May of this year at the age of 89. Chris Stapleton comes from Staffordsville, Ky. in Johnson County.  He has enjoyed a highly successful 15-year career as a Nashville songwriter and has shown himself to be able to cross genres easily.
His rising fame after his sweep of four CMA nominations in late 2015 catapulted his Traveller album and the title song to huge success and critical acclaim.
The Country Music Highway is proud to claim Chris Stapleton as its latest superstar. He was also nominated for the multi-genre Album of the Year  and Best Country Song. Album of the Year went to Taylor Swift’s 1989.  Girl Crush by Little Big Town was awarded the Grammy for Best Country Song.

Stapleton Honored by ACM Nominations

Chris Stapleton is on a roll, and has been nominated by the Academy of Country Music in four prestigious categories. On top of that, he is up for four Grammy Awards. The Grammys will be televised on CBS February 15. ACM nominations are Male Vocalist of the Year,  New Male Vocalist of the Year, Album of the Year (Traveller), and Vocal Event of the Year. Grammy recognition will be for Best Country Album, Best Country Song, Best Country Solo Performance, and Album of the Year. Stapleton’s name will soon be added to the Country Music Highway signs that inform travellers driving into Stapleton’s native Johnson County that he is one of the official local superstars. He will join Loretta Lynn, Crystal Gayle, and Hylo Brown and has kept the fresh flame of musical success burning in the Country Muisic Highway. Now 37, Stapleton had already enjoyed phenomenal success as a songwriter before his recent rise as a performer. He graduated from Johnson Central High School in Paintsville, and grew up in the Cross Creek section of Staffordsville,  three miles west of Paintsville.

Tom T Hall Latest Gift

Tom T. Hall Sends New Items For Display at The Country Music Highway Museum in Paintsville

At midday on Wednesday, January 27, two associates of Tom T. Hall in Nashville traveled to Paintsville with additional display items for Mr. Hall’s section of the Country Music Highway Museum. Members of the Paintsville Tourism Commission welcomed Annette Kelley, pictured above, and Melissa Buck to the Museum. Hall’s beloved wife Dixie passed away at the age of 80 January 16, 2015. Kelly and Buck said Hall was having a tough time with the loss of his wife. Annette Kelly said “Tom T. handpicked these items for his display.” A number of awards and two framed information pieces have now been added to the display. The union of Tom T. Hall, “The Storyteller” and wife Dixie, who had been a Nashville fixture when Hall was a budding young writer, is one of mutual interests and ambitions. The couple first met in 1964 at the BMI Country Awards, and married in 1968. Hall is considered a key example in building the reputation for abundant country music talent surrounding U. S. 23, the Country Music Highway. He was present for the grand opening of the museum in the spring of 2005. Hall grew up in nearby Carter County at Olive Hill.  He has had dozens of hit songs,  like the number ones, “Year the Clayton Delaney Died”, in 1971 and 1972′s “Old Dogs and Children. Dixie Hall was a native of England, and was a poet just like her husband. She was credited with helping many young artists get a leg-up in the Nashville music scene, and for writing over 500 bluegrass songs. Kelley also said at the ceremony, “They were a great couple, working side by side and very well together.  Tom T. hall is a brilliant man and a good example for everybody.”

For Country Music Highway

Kentucky General Assembly Will

Consider Adding Chris

Stapleton As Superstar

Loretta Lynn, The Judds, Billy Ray Cyrus, Tom T. Hall, Ricky Skaggs, Keith Whitley, Dwight Yoakam, Patty Loveless, Crystal Gayle, and Gary Stewart could soon have company among this elite collection of country music talent with his own special highway signage along US 23 in his native Johnson County. Stapleton left for Nashville in 2001, and is a Johnson Central High School graduate.  He grew up in the Cross Creek community three miles west of Paintsville at Staffordsville. In the first week of January,  Kentucky State Representative Hubert Collins introduced a bill to add Stapleton’s name to the prestigious roster of stars along the Country Music Highway. The Country Music Highway was first called by this now popular name following a bill Collins introduced in early 1994 in the Legislature that was approved that Spring. Collins new bill lists ten career milestones Stapleton has enjoyed, including his recent sweep of three Grammy awards, impressive songwriting,  solo album success and  other well known accomplishments in his celebrated musical career.

Stafford House large

The Stafford House, the oldest standing house in Paintsville was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

The Stafford House in Paintsville is a historical landmark that has been taken over by the city of Paintsville with the goal of turning it into a thriving tourist attraction. Tours of this stately old home are now commonplace, but a new function is planned for the Halloween season this year. Beginning Saturday, October 17,  the Stafford House will turn into the Pumpkin House. In a brand new event this year, numerous pumpkins decorated and carved by a cross section of citizens of all ages and walks of life, as well as some prepared by civic groups, will all be glowing brightly out in front of the Stafford House. Pumpkins began to be picked up this week by those interested in entering the carving and decorating contest. The top pumpkin will win a $100 cash prize, with others awarded trophies and ribbons. It promises to be a memorable Halloween spectacle this Halloween season,  so please drive by and take a look for yourself beginning Saturday evening, October 17.


Van Lear Museum Bldg.


Haunted Houses Everywhere!! Here’s a rundown…..

The Fallsburg Fearplex is operating every weekend until Halloween.Tickets start at $22. Located at Fallsburg, Ky.
The Van Lear Historical Building will be the location of a popular Haunted Museum every weekend up to Halloween. Admission is $5.00 for kids four feet tall and above. There is a Haunted House for smaller and younger kids, too. Admission is $3.00

hatfields & mccoys raise funds for local charity
From left to right: Bob Scott, Margie Arnett, Judy Hatfield, Debby Bailey, William K. Hatfield, Dr. Kim McBride, and Ron McCoy. In front is a scale model of a McCoy home that was burned during the New Year’s Massacre.

Hatfields & McCoys Now Working Together

The legendary  Hatfield and McCoy families will always be remembered in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia for the long running feud spanning the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. But in the 150 years since, these two families have not only made peace, but have become advocates for goodwill in the Appalachian region, and the world. On Saturday, September 26, 2015 during the annual Hatfield McCoy Heritage Days in Pikeville, Kentucky, descendants from both families came together for a dinner and fundraiser for the purpose of reuniting, sharing stories, planning the reconstruction of the McCoy Homeplace, and raising funds of the Grace Fellowship Community Kitchen. “As Hatfield and McCoy descendants, we are always looking for ways to give back to Pike County, the place we call home,” said Ron McCoy, Randolph McCoy descendant. “We are impressed with the work Grace Fellowship Community Kitchen is doing in the community and we are proud to support them.” “Our reconciliation as families is such a powerful story and I am so glad it lends itself to worthy causes like the Grace Fellowship Kitchen,” said Billy Hatfield, a descendant of Anderson “Devil Anse” Hatfield. “There are many hurting and hungry people. Our small part in alleviating their suffering is humbling.” Another descendant of “Devil Anse”, Judy Hatfield, was also in attendance to show her support. “I would like to thank Ron McCoy, Judy and William Keith Hatfield and the decedents of the Hatfields & McCoys family, Pike Tourism and the all those involved for their generous donation of $750 for the Grace Fellowship Community Kitchen,” said community kitchen organizer Kathy Hamilton. “I was excited that the Hatfield and McCoy families wanted to help raise funds for the Grace Fellowship Community Kitchen, but absolutely thrilled at the generous response,” said Debby Bailey, Pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Pikeville. “Our budget is small and the funds they donated will help offset costs for several months and we’re deeply appreciative.  The Community Kitchen serves a free lunch over two days at the end of each month.  We just started this in May and already give out an average of 300 lunches each day.”

The legendary  Hatfield and McCoy families will always be remembered in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky and West Virginia for the long running feud spanning the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. But in the 150 years since, these two families have not only made peace, but have become advocates for goodwill in the Appalachian region, and the world. On Saturday, September 26, 2015 during the annual Hatfield McCoy Heritage Days in Pikeville, Kentucky, descendants


The true story of an American family feud that spanned several decades inspired American Legacy Firearms to create the Hatfield and McCoy Rifle, which will be made available during this year’s Hatfield McCoy Heritage Days event in Pikeville. With the approval of the direct descendants of Devil Anse Hatfield and Randall McCoy, the rifle also features the signatures of Reo Hatfield and Ron McCoy, who designed the truce that was signed in 2003. Not only will purchasers receive a copy of the truce, but a certificate of authenticity for this limited edition item as well. Only 150 were made, making this a very special item for gun collectors and history buffs alike.      This firearm commemorates the long lasting quarrel between the two families, and to ensure historical accuracy, American Legacy Firearms has been in contact with some of the Hatfield and McCoy family members to secure details about their lineage. Etched into the finish of the wood is a timeline of events between the two feuding clans. Both sides dealt with intense sacrifices, which forever transformed the family members that lived through it all. For More InformationFor a full list of events planned for Hatfield McCoy Heritage Days, Events details, times and dates are subject to change.

Hatfields and McCoys Make Peace and Create Annual Heritage Days Downtown

Today’s events validate the “Peace Treaty” agreed to in 2003 by Bo and Reo Hatfield and  Ron and Joseph McCoy. There will be a Hatfield-McCoy softball game , paintball shootout, Riverfill drag race, cruise-in, live music, a special Hatfield-McCoy Homecoming dinner at the Hilton Garden Inn on Hambley Boulevard, and  more on Friday, Sept. 24. Saturday’s events will include live music, a car show, demolition derby, and a Jenny Wiley Theater show about the Hatfield-McCoy era focusing on Nancy McCoy. In addition, there’ll be inflatables downtown, carriage rides, and participants can also ride the White Lightning Zip Lines or travel the Hatfield-McCoy River Trail. The Hatfield-McCoy Beauty Pageant is also a major attraction for this weekend event. For more information, contact Pikeville Tourism at 432-5063 or 800-844-7453.

Poage Landing Days in downtown Ashland headlined by Jo Dee Messina

In the early days of Ashland,  the Poage  (prounded Poe-g) Family established an Ohio River dock, which led to the buildup of this northeast Kentucky town.  Now in it’s 20th year, the Poage Landing Days Festival is scheduled from Sept. 18 thru Sept. 20. Activities will include live music, arts and crafts, inflatables, a skateboard competition, a carnvial and more.


End of Summer Bash is Scheduled for Saturday, September 5 at Park’s Golf Course

The End of Summer Bash is scheduled at Jenny Wiley State Park Saturday, September 5 starting at 3 p.m.  Activities include a full afternoon and evening of live music,  games, and concessions.  Admission to all events are free. Music begins with the band, Sons of FM, at 5 p.m. at the Executive Golf Course across from the Wilkinson-Stumbo Conventi on Center.  From 7 to 9, the performer will be the band, Exit 23.  At 9 p.m., theBr evening’s final act, Tim Michaels,  takes the stage. Concessions like hot dogs, hamburgers, pulled pork, cotton candy, snowcones and more. Please bring your own lawn chars and blankets, as seating is not provided during this event.

Kelsie May Performs at State Fair,  Lawrence Tourism Hosts Booth

      Sixteen year old rising star from Lawrence County, Kelsie May performed at the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville Friday, Aug. 21.
Kelsie May was a part of the ‘Barrels and Boots’ Festival featuring Montogmery Gentry, and John Michael Montgomery with Rae Lynn, Eric Paslay, and Craig Campbell.  The show is part of the fair’s Main Stage Concert Series held in Freedom Hall. Members of the Lawrence County Tourism Commission were on hand to represent Lawrence County at the Eastern KY ‘Pride of the Counties’ Tourism Booth, sharing the booth with Pike, Floyd, Boyd, and Montgomery Counties. Lawrence County reps handed out brochures on area attractions, events, recreational spots, and businesses.They emphasized Yatesville Lake State Park, Lawrence County Campground, Fallsburg campgrounds and ‘famous’ haunted house, Septemberfest, Heritage Harvest Tour, Appalachian Bike Tour, Nightmare in the Square and more. Reps also espoused key points of interest such as the Fred M. Vinson Museum, Louisa-Ft. Gay Bridge (Ripley’s Believe it of Not), Lock #3 (first needle dam built in U.S.), and other unique and historic features. Shops that sell unique items, antiques, arts, crafts, home and garden decor, were highlighted, and some pieces were on display. The Painted Cow Art Gallery had a display showcasing creations from local artists. Last year, over 600,000 people attended the Kentucky State Fair. The Eastern Kentucky Tourism Booth will provide an opportunity for folks to learn about the this unique region. Country Music Highway .com would like to credit Catrina Vargo of Lawrence Co. Tourism and Lawrence Co. government  for information presented in this article.

Kelsie May Will Perform at Van Lear’s Town Celebration Aug. 1

For the last 30 years, Van Lear has hosted the annual Town Celebration every first weekend of August. This year, the event will be held on Friday, July 31, Saturday, August 1, and Sunday, August 2.

                Kelsie May of Lawrence County ,and a powerful performer this past February on NBC’s The Voice talent search,  will be on the main stage in front of the Coal Miner’s Museum Saturday evening, starting at 6:30.
                Activities for this weekend will include live music all three days, finishing with a gospel performance Sunday evening .  There will be a cornhole tournament,  parade, turkey shoot,  tours of the Coal Miner’s Museum, a car show and much more.
Visitors can also tour Loretta Lynn’s Homeplace and the popular Coal Miner’s Museum. 

Ashland Area Events Happening In August

                Lobster Fest 2015 and a downtown  Cruise-In are coming up in the month of August in the Ashland area. 

                The month’s first event will be the First Friday Cruise-In that has been happening all summer downtown.  It Will be on Friday, August 7 and everyone is invited.

                On Saturday, August 15 visitors can enjoy the Safe Harbor’s 8th annual Lobster Fest at the Bellefonte Country Club beginning at 6:30 p.m.

                Activities will include dancing under the stars, live and silent auctions ,  Pollock’s Gem Scroop, and capped by live music from the Bad Habits Band.    


Hatfield-McCoy Site Dig Makes It On National TV

      National Geographic’s Diggers TV program principals “King George” Wyant , and  Tim “Ringmaster” Saylor have returned to the feud sites of the Hatfields and McCoys for another highly anticipated archaeological dig. Diggers new season began in late July Mondays at 10 p.m.  “The Real McCoy” episode airs Aug. 10 at 9:30 p.m. on the National Geographic Channel.After the exposure for this historic feud on The History Channel’s miniseries Hatfields & McCoys, featuring Kevin Costner and Bill Paxton, interest in the feud has reached an all time high.The Hatfield & McCoy feud, which took place in Pike County, Kentucky, and across the Tug River into Mingo County, West Virginia, is the world’s most famous feud. Having captured the fascination of the world since the first shot was fired more than 100 years ago, the feuding Hatfields & McCoys have been studied by researchers, historians and family descendants alike, all seeking the story behind the struggle. National Geographic’s Diggers first visited the Hatfield & McCoy feud sites in 2013, discovering bullets that were fired in infamous New Years Eve attack. These findings brought the feud out of legend and into reality in a way that further intrigued the nation. Feeling that more could be discovered, National Geographic’s Diggers have returned to the historic feud sites, and what they have discovered this time is truly unbelievable.“In my opinion, these findings are some of our country’s most incredible historical artifacts,” said Tony K. Tackett, executive director of Pike County Tourism CVB. “Very rarely does one come across items like these, drawn straight from American Legend.”“During the first Diggers visit, I told “Ringy” Saylor and George “KG” Wyant that they would soon return to the Randall McCoy home site,” said Bob Scott, owner of the McCoy property, and Pike County Tourism CVB board member. “After two years they have returned.”Over the past several years, thousands of people, including individuals from 26 foreign countries, have visited the Randall McCoy home site. After the showing of the newDiggers episode, property owners Bob and Rita Scott expect the airing to generate additional enthusiasm. “Preserving the history and the heritage of the Hatfields and McCoys is important to the future of the tourism industry in Eastern Kentucky and Southern West Virginia,” said Scott. “It’s a window of our past and a doorway to our future.”In 2003, feud descendant Reo Hatfield authored a truce, which he signed, along with descendants Bo and Ron McCoy, to officially end the feud between the two families, an event that was witnessed by the world on CBS’s Early Show.
IMG_8701 Edited 1Ralph Stanley II,  Ky. State Sen. Ray Jones of Pikeville, and Lawrence County’s Larry Cordle.

Larry Cordle Honored As Major

Influence in Country and


At a special ceremony at the Louisa Community Center, Larry Cordle was honored by local and state officials with respect to his long career as a Nashville performer and songwriter. The Blaine native and boyhood friend of Counrtry Legend Ricky Skaggs told the crowd he was humbled by the six additional honors he had been given at the dinner meeting. He acknowledged the important relationship he shared with his Dad, and said the recent induction into the Kentucky Music Hall Of Fame was especially “for Dad” He was given a key to the city of Louisa by mayor Harold Slone, who also has roots in the Blaine-Brushy area of Lawrence Co. Cordle was listed as a performer this year for Lawrence County and Louisa’s Fourth of July Celebration. He was given special honors by Lawrence Co. Judge John Osborne, Tourism Commission Chairman Keith Chaffin, and by Jim Burchett, Fourth of July Chairman and noted local musician. State Representative Jill York presented a special award from the Legislature. State Senator Ray S. Jones gave Cordle another special citation and award from the Kentucky Senate. During Cordle’s career, he has been involved with $55 Million in sales in the music industry. After his song “Highway 40 Blues” hit the top of the charts in the Summer of 1983, Cordle’s career was off and running, He has also been honored twice as being a part of te Bluegrass Group of the Year with Lonesome Standard Time. Ralph Stanley II was also at the event, along with rising star Kelsie May, and regional favorites Chico and Luna, First Time Around, and Darrell Perkins After dinner, Cordle said “This all really chokes me up, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.”


Chris Stapleton: One of Country Music’s Hottest Properties, and the Pride of Johnson County and the Country Music Highway

Critically acclaimed singer and songwriter Chris Stapleton is shining brightly as his name has been solidly molded into the roster of great country artists with roots  along the Country Music Highway. The 37-year-old coal miner’s son released his solo album “Traveler” on May 5, and has drawn rave reviews from virtually everyone. Rolling Stone concluded, “Stapleton’s writing is masterful. They wrote about his “huge country/blues voice”. A world class songwriter, Stapleton has penned four #1 hits. These songs are  “Never Wanted Nothing More” recorded by Kenny Chesney, which stayed on top for five weeks,  George Strait’s “Love’s Gonna Make it Alright”,  Darius Rucker’s “Come Back Song” and Luke Bryan’s “Drink A Beer”, which he performed with Lady Antebellum at the 2015 CMT Artists of the Year show. Stapleton has written many other songs, credited with over 170 album cuts,  recorded by top performers such as Adele, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley and Dierks Bentley. He has been involved with many prominent co-writers such as Vince Gill, Peter Frampton and Sheryl Crow among others.

Marlana VanHoose Sings for Cleveland-Golden State Playoff

Johnson County’s Marlana VanHoose has sang at numerous sporting events in the last few years.  Baseball and basketball games, including  the University of Kentucky, Cincinnati Reds, NASCAR, Indiana Pacers, a campaign event for Ky. Sen. Rand Paul, and for the Cavaliers numerous times. VanHoose perfected her talents as a youngster with the Kentucky Opry shows regularly seen at the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg. She will perform the National Anthem  Tuesday, June 16 in playoff game six.

Whitesburg to host 29th two-day festival June 5 & 6

The Appalshop orgaization will host the festival in downtown Whitesburg, known as Seedtime On the Cumberland. The weekends activities will focus on traditional appalachian music, headlined by Rich and the Po’ Folk, and many others. Crafts, food, music, arts, dancing, and film entertainment will be available. For full details, check the Seedtime On The Cumberland Facebook page, or online at

Dinner and a magic show….sound cool?

  Kentucky State Parks will be featuring dinner and a magic show in the month of June.Check with your favorite park for exact dates and      times. In Prestonsburg, it will be June 27 with magician Dave Carroll. Everything gets started at 6 p.m. at the May Lodge. For the accompanying meal, choose between baked walleye or a 6 oz. filet mignon.

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