Great Games, nice people, lovely area and good coverage
This is a thank you note to the people of Lexington for the wonderful job you did hosting the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. We were there a full week, and were continually impressed with the professionalism, pride and friendliness exhibited by both paid staff and your many volunteers.
Lexington is a beautiful place, and the Games were a great showcase for all you have to offer. I was traveling with a friend who has physical limitations and people went out of the way to make sure the Games were accessible to her as well.
We also enjoyed exploring downtown, seeing two horse farms, touring Keeneland, eating in some of your great restaurants and visiting the Second Sunday event.
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My one suggestion would be more healthful and interesting food choices at the Kentucky Horse Park. I know you're trying to promote a healthier Kentucky and showcase your regional cuisine; it would be great if you could extend that to your visitors.
On the way home on the airplane I was reading the Herald-Leader, catching up on all the horse coverage and a gentleman in the seat behind me tapped my arm. He said he was from Switzerland and had such a fantastic time at the Games he wondered if he could take the paper as a memento. I gave it to him. I have plenty of fond memories in my head.
Our stay in Lexington during the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games was incredible, due in large part to the unparalleled hospitality of your fine city, as well as the hard work of the thousands of Kentucky folks who volunteered at and who made the Games a huge success. What a delight.
This was our second WEG (Aachen being our first), and the Kentucky warmth and cordiality was unbeatable, from our house hosts to the city's police officers to the volunteers who acted as ushers in the arenas.
And for all the Lexington area residents who came to our equestrian vaulting events and cheered us on as the USA won a Team Gold, you sure know how to "rock the house" at a sporting event.
The Herald-Leader articles on vaulting really helped introduce your city to our sport, and many local parents and kids are asking us when we will be starting beginning equestrian vaulting programs in the area. The answer now is definitely in the next 90 days. Those interested in upcoming dates can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lexington and Kentucky, you are unbelievable and much appreciated.
President, American Vaulting Association
West Hollywood, Calif.
My husband and I had experiences at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, at the downtown venues and on the local tours that were nothing short of wonderful.
We were treated as special guests wherever we went, even though we were nothing more than very excited spectators.
Though we never took LexTran, the shuttles provided were terrific and we had no problem living without a car for seven days. Lexington and the state of Kentucky should be very proud. We came home quite impressed and very happy that we took the opportunity to visit.
Mary Alice Dennehy
Rocky Hill, Conn.
A huge thank you to all who helped with the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games. Such a huge success. The clean and efficient transportation from downtown to the Kentucky Horse Park provided by LexTran was excellent. The volunteers at the park were gracious and well-informed. My pass for the day provided more entertainment than I had the stamina for. As I wandered the grounds on a beautiful October day, I saw school children have a world-class experience, international visitors enthralled with the competition and thousands more just soaking it all in.
I stopped by several trade booths, was impressed by the Kentucky pavilion and fascinated by the Alltech one. To think how much goes on in our own backyard that we never take advantage of.
As the first superintendent of the Horse Park (1972-79, when it was still in the state parks system), I can truly state no one then could have imagined these events.
A huge thanks to Alltech's Pearse and Deidre Lyons, the Games staff and park's director. I will be buying Alltech's Haitian coffee.
And about a downtown so many had written off five years ago, the last few weeks have proven another thing: the best is yet to come.
Just a lot of noise
At first, I blamed the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games visitors, and that was wrong. After two weeks of listening to horrid, off-key 1960s pop cover bands on the Courthouse Plaza, I realize it's the banal, bourgeois local horse people who were at fault.
The only things these people have contributed to Lexington are elitism and corrupt politics. The tourists should have taken them with them when they left, and good riddance.
During the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, I had business in Kentucky and had to fly into Blue Grass Airport. I was stunned to find a rental car company had jacked up costs to nearly $900 per week.
I have never experienced the outright greed shown by these companies, which are owned by local franchisees. I will endeavor to avoid Lexington in the future and encourage all leisure and business travelers, travel clubs, travel blogs, auto clubs, hotel clubs and airline clubs to be aware.
Kentucky should be ashamed to allow such price gouging, regardless of the fact that it is legal. Shame on Attorney General Jack Conway, the horse industry, Games officials and the people of Kentucky. Nothing like Kentucky showing its greedy face during a world event.
Linda M. Zequeira
I made a reservation several months ago for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games at a south Lexington hotel. I was told because of the Games, the rate was $224.99 a night.
While there, I spoke with other guests and discovered they were paying $119 a night. Same weekend, but quite a bit less. I spoke with the front desk who stated my rate was the one on the Web site they use. End of story.
My room key had to be replaced twice and did not work until the last day. The manager told me it was probably because there was a camera and batteries in my purse, which were canceling the strip on the key. Others in the hotel had the exact same problem. Front desk staff were often not there or on private calls.
Price gouging? Absolutely. I will contact the hotel chain's corporate office as well as the automobile association about this hotel.
LexTran to the rescue
There is no way to fully thank LexTran for its great service during the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.
The drivers were nice and the trips were fun. The driver who, while trying to merge into the heavy traffic, begged other drivers to "show me your love" was hilarious.
On that same trip, the cowboy who led all of the passengers in the rousing rendition of My Old Kentucky Home proved that the beer concessions at the Kentucky Horse Park were also giving good service.
LexTran manager Rocky Burke has done a tremendous job organizing a very competent, gracious staff. They welcomed residents and visitors and made it easy to get to the Games.
Sanitation workers excellent
The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games have ended, and life in Lexington will get back to what we call normal.
I would like to show my appreciation for the men and women of Urban County Government's Division of Solid Waste. They did what I consider to be an outstanding job keeping Lexington clean and inviting for us locals and our many guests from around the world.
I watched as they went about their jobs silently, efficiently and unnoticed by most. I am certain we would have noticed had they not been there and done their job.
Kudos and thanks.
Deborah Coleman Wigginton
Can I vote now? Pearse Lyons gets my vote for Man of the Year.
Mary Jean Eddins
Why not keep the downtown party going?
I grew up on hip-hop artist Rob Base. I also grew up on Lexington — the Bluegrass, horses, basketball, all those things that make Lexington unique. But it was only recently that I got to see something truly special about Lexington: the bonding of its locals as a result of entertaining its outsiders. Yes, Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games came. And went. My hope is that we get to experience its tremors for a while longer.
As a single gal living in downtown Lexington, I did my best to soak up all the WEG-goodness, and am now inspired to demand more. There was a rainy Friday with Blake Shelton, a cozy Sunday with Trombone Shorty, whatever show you would like to insert here — it doesn't matter — the sentiment is the same: Lexington came to play, they came to party, they came to be let out of their cage.
When the band asked, "Who here is from Lexington?," the overwhelming majority cheered out to answer, "Me!"
So lawmakers of Lexington, I request: Please keep this party going.
We found out that open containers do not equal altercations; indeed, the whole scene was pretty peaceful. More importantly, we found out that seemingly the entire city can come together on the courthouse lawn, sing in unison to One Love at a chill-worthy Sam Bush concert, and smile because our city is giving us something to sing about. We all got together and felt all right. Now let's keep that love afloat. Who's with me?
Elizabeth M. Seither