Madison Doyle story:
The Edmonson County Chamber of Commerce will host a brand new festival in our area, the Big Brownsville Bash, a three-day event that will take place Thursday, June 2nd through Saturday, June 4, 2022. Newly elected Chamber President Darren Doyle discussed what types of events and activities could be expected at the Bash, who is making it possible, and how it got started.
Doyle was first elected to the Chamber board back in the fall of 2021, and took office as president in January of this year. In addition to Doyle, the Chamber has mostly a brand new board of directors; only two members of which were also part of last year's group. In addition, new officers were also elected this year, that also include Vice President Josh Casey from C & C Firearms & Outdoors, and Treasurer Daniel Bolton from the Bank of Edmonson County.
"The talk of a new festival was first introduced last year under the previous board," Doyle said. "In February, the board of directors first started talking about what would be feasible for us to host and to handle, because none of us have ever hosted a festival before. Mark Wardlow, Co-founder of Santa's Helping Hands, recently joined the board and his expertise in events and love for his community is a win for us all. Once he got involved with the planning, things began to come together quickly."
He said there's been a lot of talk around the community about having an additional annual local event outside the county fair.
"We support the fair, we love the fair, but we have heard from the community that they wanted something in addition to the fair." He said the whole purpose for even having a Chamber of Commerce is for it to "support our local business community." He said the best way that they (the board) feel to support that community is to "provide opportunities for people to come into our community and see what all of these local businesses have to offer."
He said the Chamber board began discussion on what events would appeal to the majority of the people of Edmonson County while trying to add some not typically found here. "We basically just started to make a potential list of events that we thought might have interest our community, and at first, we had a list that was way too long. We started narrowing things down until we felt like it was a manageable list, and then we began to reach out to the folks that had expertise in those areas. Once we started telling these guys what we wanted to do, people started getting excited," Doyle said.
Doyle said one of the first things they were able to do was secure a carnival company.
"Finding a good carnival company to come to Edmonson County is something that has always been difficult to do because it's such a small place. The large companies don't want to come here because they want to go to places with larger populations. A carnival contract was actually signed last year, but we still had several issues that had to be addressed. After several weeks of working with our carnival provider, and Superintendent of Schools Brian Alexander, we felt like we had the makings of something that will work in our community."
Doyle said Alexander was on board from the beginning.
"Mr. Alexander is very well connected to the community and wanted to be a part of this, and he's allowing the carnival to set up the front parking lots of the high school."
After they got the carnival figured out, Doyle said they started breaking things down day-by-day. With the festival starting on a Thursday, the square wasn't the best option for events due to the courthouse and other area businesses being open that day. "That's when the public library came into play, and they immediately opened their doors to us and said they wanted to help in anyway they could." So, Thursday, June 2nd, activities will begin with a farmer's market at 8 am and continue throughout the day in the public library parking lot. This event is for anyone who is interested in selling their locally, homegrown produce.
Doyle said the Edmonson County Extension Office offered to help with their connection to local 4-H, and will host what they call 4-H Rally Days, which will be similar to exhibits that you might see at a county fair, according to Doyle. He said they will judge these entries, and the kids who participate will receive ribbons. This will also be at the library, which will also have a dunk tank, hosted by Edmonson County Soccer.
On Thursday evening, there will be a baby show organized by the local homemakers. This event is currently scheduled to take place in the high school auditorium, but could possibly change due to some construction planned at the site. Doyle encouraged everyone to follow EdmonsonChamber.com and the Edmonson County Chamber of Commerce Facebook page for event updates or possible changes made. Registration will start at 4:30, and the show will start at around 5:30 - 6.
At 5 pm on Thursday evening, the carnival will start for the first time at Edmonson County High School and run until 11 pm. You can purchase tickets to ride individual rides or you can purchase a pass that will be good for an entire day, unlimited rides for $25.
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Doyle said, "Obviously this is a big event, and it cost a lot of money. This is a community investment, so we had some local businesses in mind that we felt like would be a good fit for what we wanted to do, and that could help us sponsor this event. We initially reached out to four business and then two more came on board after hearing a buzz about the event." Doyle says they now have six major corporate sponsors that include Rafferty's, Patton Funeral Home, Bank of Edmonson County, A Plus Family Health Care, Edmonson County Tourism Commission, and Alford's Pharmacy. "Without these sponsors, we wouldn't be doing this. We couldn't." Doyle said. "I actually said this was a community investment more than a sponsorship because we want this to be an annual event, we want it to come back next year bigger and better, and all the years after that." He said there are also other various sponsors helping in additional ways. One thing he says people are already excited about is that they will be giving away a number of carnival passes on the chamber Facebook page (courtesy of sponsors).
The Edmonson Voice is the media sponsor for the event. The Voice designed the Big Bash logo, all the artwork, flyers, signs, and banners at no cost. They are also assisting the Chamber with their marketing campaign.
Friday, June 3, 2022, the Farmer's Market will start again at 8 am and go throughout the day at the Public Library, along with the 4H Rally Days, and the dunk tank. The judging for the Rally will start at 3 pm, so if you have something entered you can stop by at 3pm on Friday to see if you have won a ribbon. At 4pm Friday, in the high school auditorium, registration for the Bank of Edmonson County Brownsville Bash Beauty Pageant will begin. "We want to thank Lori Alexander and Madison Hollis for their expertise and help with organizing the pageant," Doyle said. He mentioned again to make sure to watch their Facebook page for any location changes due to possible construction inside the high school. Also on Friday at 5 pm, the carnival will start back up and will run until 11 pm.
Doyle says Saturday, June 4, 2022, is going to be the biggest day of the festival. At 8AM at Chalybeate park, The Edmonson County Tourism 5K Run and a 1 Mile Walk will start the day. The cost is $25 to enter, and those who enter in time will receive an event t-shirt.
"We want to thank A.B. Webb for helping us put this event together, A.B. is a runner himself and he is the director of Parks & Rec here in the county. He's going to be promoting our parks and promoting this event, and we can't thank him enough." Also at 8 am, in the Community Center will be the Patton Funeral Home Big Brownsville Bash Arts & Crafts and Trader Show. Doyle says there will be lots of vendors, boutiques, handmade gifts, etc., that will be inside and out of the Community Center. This event will run until 2 pm. Also on the square, the Rafferty's Big Bash Car Show will run until 2 pm. "So many people are already calling about this. We have a ton of categories that will be issued trophies and we hope this event takes up the whole square with lots of unique vehicles."
Also featured throughout the day on Saturday will be "Food Truck Square," located in the new paved parking lot on Washington Street on the left, just before Patton Funeral Home. Those booked include the Edmonson County Cattlemen's burgers and hot dogs, Tin Roof Coffee, Pelican's Snoballs, Walden's BBQ, Layo Taco, Ladybugs Fritters and Fries, and Big Al's Hot Chicken.
Also Saturday at 10 am, there will be the first-ever Alford's Pharmacy Canoe & Kayak Challenge. Doyle says there will be a number of categories available and the challenge will start at Houchin Ferry and end at the Brownsville boat ramp. "We've got some other local Chamber businesses helping us out with this event as well," Doyle said. "We'll also have local emergency personnel on site; some will actually be in the water to make this as safe as possible. Mammoth Cave National Park is also assisting. This is something that has never been done here before and hopefully will draw a lot of people out."
Another event never held locally before, starting at 4 pm in the Community Center will be the A Plus Family Healthcare Pro-Am Cornhole Tournament. Doyle says they have some professionals coming in, and you have the option to watch them play, or you can play yourself. "There will be two major divisions--advanced and social. If you feel like you're pretty good in the backyard, we want you to come compete in the social division," Doyle said. "If you can compete with the pros, then try your luck in the advanced division." He also said there will be an event later where social players can team up with a pro. "If you compete in this event you will be teamed up with a pro, and play against another pro and amateur player," Doyle said. "Local pro player Damon Dennis, who we've seen on ESPN, is helping us put this on, and we want to thank him for his willingness to give back to his community."
On Saturday, the carnival will be open in two different sessions. The first session will start at noon, and run until 5 pm. You must have a different pass for each session if you choose to attend both, you cannot purchase a day pass and also use it later for the night. The night session will start at 6 pm and run until 10 pm.
The Big Bash Firework show will start at approximately 9 pm. This is brought to you by all six corporate sponsors. Doyle says the show will be shot from the practice football field on top of the hill at the high school, and you should be able to catch the show anywhere in Brownsville. "Anywhere you would usually park for parades should be a good place to catch the fireworks. The school is allowing us to park up and down Wildcat Way, you can sit in the bleachers at the football field, bring blankets, lawn chairs, but we really believe you will be able to watch the show from anywhere in Brownsville."
Inflatables will also be set up on Saturday in the Judge Executive parking lot where the former childcare playground area was.
There is also going to be an online photo contest that will start in a couple of weeks. To participate, you will need to submit your photos to the EC Chamber of Commerce Facebook page. Detail on the contest will be announced in the coming days. The winners will be announced when the festival starts.
"As a business owner myself, I hear people here say there is nothing to do here and they want more things for their kids to do," Doyle added. "Well, here it is. That's why we are doing this. We hope this is huge, we hope we run out of room for people. We want this to be 'the next big thing.' We're trying to make this something for everybody."
Doyle said as its the Chamber's job to support local businesses, he can't think of a better group that should organize an event like this.
"It will be an event where you can bring your kids, adults can come out, and it's all about building better things in our community."
The Chamber Board of Directors is made up of Darren Doyle, Josh Casey, Daniel Bolton, Scott Skaggs, Mike Stoyonovich, Patrick Merritt, Scott Lindsey, and Mark Wardlow.
Doyle said to watch the Chamber of Commerce Facebook page for updates on the event that you won't want to miss.