We have paved our roads, cleaned our sidewalks and gussied ourselves up in many other ways just to be presentable to those of you who have stopped by to visit.
Our best foot is right out there in front.
We embrace Southern hospitality and want to help you enjoy your visit to Kentucky and especially to Lexington.
In that vein, there might be a few things you need to know about us, just in case you came here with some misconceptions.
Most of us dont run around barefooted, wear overalls or chomp on straw. Some of us dont even eat Kentucky Fried Chicken because of dietary restraints. We dont all own horses, either, despite our claim of being the Horse Capital of the World. In fact, Ive ridden a horse once, and neither of us has gotten over the trauma.
But Kentucky does have rolling hills, spectacular season changes and good bourbon to go along with more than our share of horse farms.
The cost of living is very reasonable here, and we in Lexington have nowhere near the traffic of larger metropolitan areas. And we have great parks and great basketball.
Kentucky is a commonwealth, one of four in the United States. That doesnt mean a whole lot as far as preferential treatment from the federal government, but it is what it is.
This commonwealth, according to the Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives, began in June 1792, after residents of Kentucky County, then a part of Virginia, asked the Virginia legislature to recognize them as a free and independent state to be known by the name of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Back then commonwealth and state were interchangeable.
Lexington is the second-largest city in the state, behind Louisville, and has a population of just less than 300,000.
Lexington sits in Fayette County, which was named for the Marquis de Lafayette, a French military officer and hero of the Revolutionary War, according to Libraries and Archives. The city and county governments merged in 1974, so now were under the same umbrella.
We are home to the University of Kentucky and Jif peanut butter.
Neither Lexington nor Kentucky is known for its racial or cultural diversity. Kentucky is 90 percent white and a little more than 7 percent black. Lexington is slightly better at 81 percent white and 13.5 percent black. The Hispanic population is just shy of 3.5 percent in Fayette County and less than 2 percent statewide.
Fortunately, two major interstates run through Lexington: north-south Interstate 75, which can get you to Atlanta or Detroit relatively easily, and east-west Interstate 64, which can take you to Virginia Beach, Va., or St. Louis.
Thats the Cliff Notes version of who we are. This Web site lists a few more interesting facts about our state.
So now, let me give you some tips to help you fit in with the natives:
- If you find yourself in trouble in and around Lexington, just yell out, Go Big Blue! Youll be fine. That ploy does not work in Louisville, however.
- C-A-T-S. Cats. Cats. Cats. This chant works the same as Go Big Blue with the same restrictions. Use both liberally.
- The Kentucky Derby is run at Churchill Downs in Louisville, not Lexington.
- The most famous Kentuckians nowadays, besides the late Colonel Sanders, are actors George Clooney, Ashley Judd and Johnny Depp. I would add former University of Kentucky basketball players John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson as well, but they were just passing through.
- New Circle Road, or Circle 4, really is a circle, so you cant get lost on it. Just keep going and, eventually, youll end up back where you started.
- Versailles is pronounced Ver-SALES. And Athens is AY-thins. Louisville is LU-a-vull. Knowing that will impress us natives to no end.
- Pop is a soft drink in your choice of brands or flavors. You can curry more favor, however, if you order an Ale-8-One.
With those tips in mind, go exploring. Were usually very nice people except when discussing politics, religion or any team going up against the Big Blue.
Enjoy your stay. Weve enjoyed ours.