Almost 1,400 participants have registered for the two-day SOAR (Shaping Our Appalachian Region) Summit in Corbin this week.
SOAR was started by former Gov. Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers to champion local projects, programs, and advocacy for the 54 ARC (Appalachian Regional Commission)- mandated counties in Eastern Kentucky, according to the SOAR official website.
The summit will offer a number of diverse opportunities including a chance to hear from local, state, and national leaders, participate in breakout sessions, an exclusive dinner reception and networking opportunities.
The event will kick off on Wednesday, Oct. 13, with remarks from local leaders and Travis Freeman, the president and CEO of The Freeman Foundation.
A panel discussion about the role of post-secondary education in preparing the future workforce for the digital and remote economy will follow.
An exhibit hall, presented by Forcht Bank, will be open from 2 to 5 p.m. while breakout sessions take place.
At 6 p.m. a reception on Main Street in downtown Corbin will offer live entertainment and hordourves.
Beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday, the exhibit hall will open before the plenary session begins at 9 a.m.
Special guests on Thursday include, Congressman Hal Rogers, Federal Co-Chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission Gayle Manchin, and Gov. Andy Beshear.
Several successful local businesses will make presentations before the keynote speaker, Jerry Linenger, an astronaut and epidemiologist who lived for five-months aboard the Russian space station Mir.
There will be on-site registration available Wednesday morning at the Corbin Arena.
Corbin’s Director of Tourism and Downtown Manager Maggy Monhollen said “[I am excited about] the networking and educational opportunities, but of course, I am most excited about the opportunity to show off our great city!”
The 2021 Summit is the first time the event has been hosted somewhere besides Pikeville.