Inclement weather wasn’t enough to keep community members from converging on downtown Corbin on Saturday for Colonel Fest.
Although the crowd was significantly smaller than anticipated, many of the vendors still set up booths along Main Street.
“I think that overall, despite the rain, it ended up being a pretty good day,” said Maggy Kriebel, the director of tourism and downtown manager for Corbin. “The community came out and supported [the event] despite the weather.”
Kriebel said it gives her hope that next year, if the weather is good, the event will be everything the town imagined.
“We had contestants in almost every contest. Lots of smiling kids. That is what it was all about for us,” said Kriebel. “Doing something to serve our families, bring the kids out and have good family fun.”
Among the contests were an egg toss, a chicken cluckin and struttin contest, nuggets on ice eating competition, chicken costume contest, a Colonel Sanders look-alike contest, and a finger lickin chicken .5K.
Kriebel said the chicken clucking and strutting contest entrants
were adorable and hilarious. The nuggets on ice was really good, but Kriebel said above all, her favorite event was the .5k because of the variety of people able to come out and participate. Participants ranged from less than five years old to nearly 50.
“It incorporated everybody,” said Kriebel.
Kriebel said that she looks forward to the event growing in the coming years.
While some of the vendors left early due to the weather, some had set up for the long haul.
Krafty Koop, a customize sign booth, which is owned by Kiersten and Gage Bowlin, was one of those booths.
Kiersten Bowlin said Krafty Koop got its start during the pandemic.
“I like to paint and he likes to work with wood,” said Kiersten Bowlin. “I started just drawing on wood. I made one for myself and posted a picture of it because we were stuck inside anyway.”
Kiersten Bowlin said that the couple’s three children enjoy drawing and painting so it is something they can have a small part in as well.
The duo said getting out and interacting with the community
was one of the major reasons they chose to attend Colonel Fest. They said that after a year of being indoors, they were ready to get out and interact with others.
Another couple that set up shop at Colonel Fest were Jerry and Kim Eaton, the owners of J&K Carvers.
The couple are no strangers to Corbin as there carvings have appeared now at multiple Corbin events.
They are responsible for the wood carved winter village featured at the 2020 ice skating rink. For Colonel Fest, the couple set up a wood carving station in the lot across from Sanders Park where they carved bears and other creations as an exhibition.
“We are a husband and wife team,” said Kim Eaton. Everything they do is for the Lord.
One of the couple’s most recent creations, a statue of Colonel Sanders for Corbin Tourism, is expected to be unveiled on May 5.
Mother and daughter duo, Karen and Sara, set up their booth of air plants and driftwood sculptures.
Air plants are really low maintenance and add greenery to any
“They require very little care,” said Johnson.
Johnson said the idea for selling air plants was inspired by COVID. As a wedding planner by trade, Johnson said they needed a creative outlet since the wedding planning business, Vivid Events, had come to a halt.
“We started just going ‘okay, we can’t do events right now, so what is something we can do to stay busy and to be crafty and have a creative outlet?’,”said Johnson.
Originally from Georgia, Johnson said they now split their time between North Carolina and Corbin.
The duo chose to participate in Colonel Fest because of the nature of the event.
“It seems like it is a very unique event,” said Johnson. “I hate that the weather was bad, but I think it was a great turnout still.”
“I think they have done a really good job in making it a unique festival,” said Johnson. “We are excited to be a part of it.”
Colonel Fest would not be complete without the Colonel
himself. While several impersonators made appearances throughout the day, Col. Robert Buehl began preparing for the event before it even began by taking off work on Friday so that he could make sure he had everything ready for the event. “I was really excited about being here,” said Buehl.
He traveled from Smiths Grove, near Bowling Green, to
participate in the event.
Buehl is an actual Kentucky Colonel and is a three-term commissioner in his hometown.
He got his start as a Colonel Sanders impersonator at an anime convention,
“In 2011, my son invited me to an anime convention in Nashville,” said Buehl. “I wasn’t sure what to wear as a costume.”
Buehl said that when he went to put on a white coat it was too large, which gave him the idea to improvise a double-breasted suit.
“That became the genesis of my Colonel Sanders outfit,” said Buehl.
“I never realized that it would become that popular,” said Buehl. “When we got out of the car, people were lined up to get into the convention and they were shouting ‘Colonel Sanders’ across the parking lot.”
“I was averaging about 20 feet before someone stopped me to take a picture,” said Buehl.
As for Colonel Fest, “to come here and get to be with everybody and enjoy it, is just a lot of fun,” said Buehl.