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Central City Cancels Music and Car Tourism Events as COVID Surges

A photo of, left to right, Phil Everly, Jimmy Velvet, Buddy Holly and Don Everly is among the collection at the Muhlenberg Music Museum in Central City, Kentucky.
Credit Rhonda J. Miller
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A photo of, left to right, Phil Everly, Jimmy Velvet, Buddy Holly and Don Everly is among the collection at the Muhlenberg Music Museum in Central City, Kentucky.

Kentucky towns that depend on tourism revenue from small museums and festivals are being hit again by the recent surge of COVID-19. As a result, one Muhlenberg County town just cancelled tourism events for the rest of the year. 

The Muhlenberg Music Museum features memorabilia of rock & roll pioneers, the Everly Brothers, Phil who died in 2014, and Don who died Saturday.

That museum and the adjacent Kentucky Motorsports Hall of Fame and Museum are still open with sanitizing, masking, and social distancing. 

But Central City Tourism Commission Executive Director Freddie Mayes said the annual Cruise-In car and music show scheduled for Sept. 3 and 4 that draws thousands of people has been canceled.

“We had a recent death in our community that’s gotten everybody really concerned," Mayes said. "Brent Yonts, our long-time representative, passed away last week, complications from COVID. So the idea was the city is really concerned about being a potential super-spreader of this delta variant.”

The city also cancelled the final event of the season, the ‘90s Night concert and dance party at the Lu-Ray Amphitheater that was scheduled for Sept. 17.

Mayes said local officials decided to avoid hosting possible “super spreader” events.  

“The concerts might have been doable, in that we could spread out in Lu-Ray Park and keep people a little more distanced and safe," said Mayes. "But our festival downtown, the car show, is elbow-to-elbow, thousands of people.”

Muhlenberg County and virtually all the rest of Kentucky's 120 counties are now in the red zone, with critically high levels of COVID-19 spread. 

Copyright 2021 WKU Public Radio. To see more, visit WKU Public Radio.

Rhonda Miller began as reporter and host for All Things Considered on WKU Public Radio in 2015. She has worked as Gulf Coast reporter for Mississippi Public Broadcasting, where she won Associated Press, Edward R. Murrow and Green Eyeshade awards for stories on dead sea turtles, health and legal issues arising from the 2010 BP oil spill and homeless veterans.
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