Fayette County

Singer Blake Shelton to kick off Spotlight Lexington festival

The Spotlight Lexington festival will open with country music singer Blake Shelton, performing Sept. 24 at Courthouse Plaza.

Shelton, whose hit songs include Home and She Wouldn't Be Gone, will kick off the free entertainment, which will begin a day before the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games open and continue until they end Oct. 10.

The festival will feature live entertainment, children's activities, and arts and crafts from Kentucky vendors in three downtown venues every day, mostly in the evening.

The main stage at the Courthouse Plaza also will feature performances by actress-singer Laura Bell Bundy, Sam Bush, J.D. Crowe and the Lexington Philharmonic. The two other venues for the festival are Triangle Park and Cheapside Park.

■ Since July 14, when they began to offer a special 30 percent discount on ticket sales for some events, WEG organizers have sold 6,000 tickets. About 276,000 tickets have been sold. Each event requires a separate ticket. Originally, Games officials said they expected to sell 600,000 tickets.

■ The University of Kentucky is giving its employees and retirees a 35 percent discount on tickets for the early rounds of some competitions.

The offer is good for tickets to eventing, dressage, jumping and reining, and is only for the original ticket prices. It's not in addition to the 30 percent ticket price discount.

To order the tickets, go to www.ticketmaster.com/promo.

UK spokesman Jimmy Stanton said Games organizers are offering the same discounts to all Games sponsors.

■ Games organizers have started a new series of news releases called "Myth Busters," aimed at dispelling what they think are incorrect perceptions about the Games.

The first release: "Ticket Prices are Outrageous!," says general admission passes start at $25 and go upward to $150 for the opening ceremonies. They compare those to a University of Kentucky football game at $46 for the game or online prices for the Super Bowl at $1,800 a pop.

But the release also points out that tickets are only for one event at the multievent competitions. For example, ticket to all the sessions of the three-day event — dressage, cross-country and show-jumping — would cost $390. Not to mention a $20 parking charge, plus food and drink.

So "outrageous" is a matter of opinion, as is affordability.

The second myth-buster release says: "I'm not a horse person; there is nothing for me at the Games."

The release details all the other things that will be going on at the Kentucky Horse Park from Sept. 25 and Oct. 10. These include the Kentucky Experience, an interactive tour through the state's culture, food and tourism areas; the Alltech Experience, which highlights the Games' lead sponsor, including its Kentucky Ale; and the Equine Village, which will showcase different breeds, and have clinics and demonstrations. In addition, the trade show will feature dozens of booths with sales of everything from jewelry to clothing to cars.

■ Kentucky Equine Research, an international equine nutrition and research company in Versailles and a Games sponsor, is giving away tickets to the Games.

Ten pairs of tickets will be available to those who sign up for KER's newsletter, The Weekly Feed and Equine Review, through Sept. 24. Go to www.ker.com and click on the link that says "Win tickets to the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games."

A winner will be announced every week. Each week's winner will have a choice of which event they'd like to see from the remaining available tickets.

E-mail marketing@ker.com for more information.

■ A reminder to horse and dog lovers everywhere: Your canine friends will not be allowed at the Kentucky Horse Park during the Games. Although the park sometimes looks like a dog trial during other competitions, such as the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, the World Games are banning dogs because of equine piroplasmosis, which causes jaundice, fever and anemia. It's caused by the ticks on dogs, it's fatal about 20 percent of the time, and no vaccine exists.

The prohibition on dogs is a U.S. Department of Agriculture requirement with a precedent, officials say. The 2006 World Games in Aachen, Germany, also banned dogs.