As Lexington prepares for the two-week extravaganza known as the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, state officials want to make sure the rest of Kentucky is part of the party, too.
To that end, they plan to set up a 25,000 foot, three-part pavilion at the Kentucky Horse Park for the Games called The Kentucky Experience.
One one side, visitors can sip bourbon; on the other, they can explore a virtual Mammoth Cave; and straight ahead, they can listen to pure Kentucky bluegrass.
"It is all about Kentucky, and we are anxious to educated our visitors about what there is to see and do in Kentucky," said Cheryl Hatcher, chief marketing officer for the Kentucky Department of Travel.
Three temporary structures will be grouped around a courtyard. The exhibits space will feature the state's nine tourism regions, with comprehensive, digital exhibits featuring the various trips to take during downtime from the games. There also will be travel experts on hand to help make those travel arrangements.
The products wing will feature Kentucky Proud food products, exhibits from the bourbon and wine industry, and plenty of Kentucky-made arts and crafts.
Between those two pavilions will be a stage featuring Kentucky performers.
First lady Jane Beshear, who unveiled the program last month, called it a "mini world's fair, focusing entirely on all things Kentucky."
State officials call it an economic development tool.
"The Kentucky Experience will showcase Kentucky's assets, not only to those who come to the Games, but also to their friends, associates and others," said Marcheta Sparrow, secretary of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet. "That will increase interest — and business — in Kentucky over the long term."