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Program 824

1. Christmas at Renfro Valley
2. pet photos with Santa
3. toy train exhibit
Season 8 Menu

Rockcastle County

For more information:
Renfro Valley Entertainment Center, I-75 and U.S. 25, Renfro Valley, KY 40473, (800) 765-7464

Producer: Joy Flynn

Country Christmas

lights and more at Renfro Valley

This special holiday edition of Kentucky Life begins with the lights and music of Renfro Valley, the country music entertainment showcase in Rockcastle County. Host Dave Shuffett listens to holiday tunes from performers at the Christmas in the Valley show, tours shops decorated for the holidays, and samples some other local holiday events—not to mention the sweet wares of Candyland.

John Lair, a native of the town of Renfro Valley who went on to become a radio programmer and folk music collector, founded the Renfro Valley country music center in 1937. A traditionalist, Lair was concerned about the Depression-era drift of country music toward the Western influence of cowboy and swing performers like Gene Autry and Bob Wills. He established the famous Renfro Valley Barn Dance, broadcast nationwide on radio, to showcase a more authentic form of country music.

Lair’s traditionalism also made him shun television and its corrupting influence (as he saw it) on country performers. As televised entertainment took over in the 1960s, attendance at Renfro Valley shows dwindled. Lair finally sold the complex, then bought it back again, but neither effort to revitalize it worked. Finally, five years after his death in 1985, his heirs sold the Renfro Valley complex to a new partnership of local businessmen. During the 1990s, that group revived the center with new construction, big-name shows, new family attractions—and yes, a television show. One of the most ambitious additions was the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum, which inducted its first class in February 2002 and opened its doors a few months later.

Fayette County

Producer: Valerie Trimble

... and a Chew Toy and a New Tennis Ball ...

pet photos with Santa

Thanks to some animal-loving Central Kentucky volunteers, pets get their own chance to whisper their wishes into Santa’s ear at Pets with Santa. This annual fund-raising event benefits animal protection services and organizations ... and gives pet owners a chance to snag a charming photo of their favorite pooch or kitty—or llama, for that matter.

Dogs seem to take to it pretty well. But as anyone who lives with a cat might guess, the felines are not nearly so thrilled about dressing up in cute little outfits. And they tend to be much more suspicious of strangers in red suits, no matter how jolly they appear.

Thanks to the patience and persistence of St. Nick and his volunteer elves, though, the pets and their people all seem to go away with both dignity and Christmas cheer intact. And local animals who don’t have such devoted families benefit all year long.

Kenton County

For more information:
Behringer-Crawford Museum, 1600 Monague Road, P.O. Box 67, Covington, KY 41012, (859) 491-4003

Producer, editor: Marsha Hellard
Videographer: Brandon Wickey


toy trains at the Behringer-Crawford Museum

Everyone’s a kid at Christmas, right? That must be why the folks at the Behringer-Crawford Museum in Covington, normally dedicated to educational displays covering Northern Kentucky history (and prehistory), spend a little time in December playing with toy trains. As this visit shows, there’s something about a tiny train making its rounds that can bring out the child in anyone.

Of course, the year-round exhibits at the Behringer-Crawford offer their own delights. They include an extensive fossil collection reaching back 450 million years and displays devoted to such topics as Native American history in the region, the Underground Railroad, and Kentucky writer and painter Harlan Hubbard. A tour of the museum is included in Kentucky Life Program 821, an all-Northern Kentucky edition.

SEASON 8 PROGRAMS: 801802803804805806807808
809: Simple Pleasures and Hidden Treasures810811812813

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