5 Things to Look Forward to in Pikeville-Pike County, KY 2019

Without a doubt, the last several years have been incredible for tourism in Pikeville Pike County, Kentucky. According to the Kentucky Department of Travel and Tourism, tourist spending in Pike County, Kentucky has increased by over $7.2 million since 2014. This is a great sign for a region rich in heritage, culture, scenic beauty, and of course the Hatfield McCoy Feud Tour. But the greatest news is, there are no signs of slowing down. People from all across the globe are inthralled with the feud history, and the unique experiences that can only be had in Eastern Kentucky. So what can visitors expect for 2019 in Pikeville Pike County, Kentucky? Let’s take a look:

Eastern Kentucky’s first joint brewery/distillery, Dueling Barrels has made a big splash with visitors since opening in June. With each passing month, more and more experiences have been added to what has already been an experience rich attraction. A host of amazing special events have already been held there for 2018, from the Hatfields and McCoys descendants having a meet, greet & taste for Hatfield McCoy Heritage Days 2018, to a special three-course dinner with Town Branch’s Master Distiller, Mark Coffman. The popular Hoptoberfest also kicked off in 2018, as well as a variety of fun block parties, making Dueling Barrels Brewery & Distillery a place to keep an eye on for 2019.

With the addition of the Randolph McCoy statue in 2018, as well as the completion of the Hatfield McCoy historic sites restoration project, there could be further plans in the works for the popular heritage tour for 2019. Pike County Tourism CVB commissioner and McCoy Well property owner Bob Scott has spearheaded many of these improvements, and despite the red tape and hurtles that still exist, hopes to possibly have the McCoy cabins rebuilt on the legendary property, a project he has been working on for several years. While there is no promise that this will be accomplished in 2019, there is still plenty of interesting things that will no doubt become available as the year progresses.

The East Kentucky Expo Center has featured a plethora of excellent events in 2018, seeing an increase not only in the frequency of events, but variety as well. Now under new management, there are more exciting things to come for the expo in 2019, with Tri-state MX, City Rockfest and Travis Tritt with the Marshall Tucker band shows scheduled for the opening quarter. If Cirque Musica’s Wonderland is any indicator of the variety that is to come, 2019 should feature a whole slew of unique entertainment experiences at the East Kentucky Expo Center. 

Elkhorn City’s Artist Collaborative Theatre is one of Kentucky’s most award-winning community theatres, capturing a bevy of awards over the past several years for awe-inspiring performances and stage design. 2018’s schedule was packed full of standout shows, such as The Crucible, Send Me No Flowers and The Christians just to name a few. The shows currently announced for 2019 include the literary classic Desire Under the Elms and Mary Poppins Jr. Cotton Patch Gospel, (which features a live bluegrass band), along with the hilarious Beverly Hillbillies are also on tap, making 2019 an already exciting year for live theatre in Pike County, Kentucky. 

Perhaps one of the most exciting new events coming to Pikeville-Pike County in 2019 is Preservation Kentucky Tour 120, May 18-19. The focus of the Preservation Kentucky 120 event is to showcase the diverse architectural styles of Kentucky, with the Pike County Courthouse being featured as a part of a state-wide initiative. A special production of Blood Song: The Story of the Hatfields and the McCoys will be showcased at the courthouse on the May 18th. More information on this exciting event is to be announced, so stay tuned.

Hatfields and McCoys: A Story of Forgiveness

When one thinks of the Hatfields and the McCoys, they no doubt think of a bloody grudge, unrelenting violence, unforgiveness and vengeance. After all, the Hatfield and McCoy feud is perhaps the world’s most infamous feud, and is a pop culture staple that is found in everything from movies, to television shows, artwork, as well as a huge assortment of books. The Hatfield and McCoy feud is so ingrained in American culture that one name is rarely said without the other, with the figure of speech “feuding like the Hatfields and McCoys” being used across the nation, and in many parts of the world.

Ron McCoy with “Devil Anse” Hatfield

With all of the sensationalism found within feud lore; the gunfights, the forbidden Hatfield-McCoy love affair, law men and outlaws, and everything in between, it is no wonder that this story has garnered the attention of so many, and has had the lasting appeal that it has. With all of this considered, it is easy to lose sight of the greatest feud story told, a story of forgiveness.

Since the signing of the peace treaty in Pikeville back in 2003, Hatfield and McCoy descendants have gone to great lengths to use the infamy of the feud to bring a new message to the world, a message of conflict resolution and forgiveness. In fact, this message of forgiveness was recognized by the John Templeton Foundation as being one of “Ten Great Moments in Forgiveness History”, alongside notable acts such as Holocaust survivor Corrie Boom shaking the hand of a guard that held her captive in a prison camp, Pope John Paul II forgiving his would-be assassin Mehmet Ali Agca, and Jesus Christ forgiving roman guards as they were in the process of executing him on the cross.

While the Hatfield & McCoy descendants may disagree on some of the details of the feud, they are passionate about bringing their message of reconciliation to the world. Each year, at Hatfield McCoy Heritage Days in Pikeville, Kentucky, Hatfield and McCoy descendants travel to Pikeville to take part in a variety of events, from a pig roast at the Pikeville Farmer’s Market, to a Hatfield McCoy theatre production, storytelling events and more. Hatfield & McCoy Heritage Days culminates in a special service at the McCoy Well in Hardy, Kentucky, the site where the Hatfields attacked and burned down the McCoy cabin on New Years Eve, 1888. This attack resulted in the death of two of Randolph McCoy’s children, a daughter and a son, as well as leaving his wife permanently injured. This special service focuses on memorializing the past, and reiterating the message of peace and forgiveness.

Gary McCoy & William Keith Hatfield

So, when telling the story of the Hatfields and the McCoys, remember, the story does not end in the execution of Ellison “Cottontop” Mounts, nor does it end with a climactic battle. The story of the feuding Hatfields and McCoys ends with a treaty, a handshake, and a newly forged kinship between both families. Where one story of vengeance and unforgiveness ends, a new story of forgiveness and brotherhood begins. Hatfield McCoy Heritage Days will be held in Pikeville, KY September 21 – September 23, 2018.

 

Peace Treaty Signing Media

 

 

Hatfield McCoy Gallery

Hatfield McCoy Heritage Days