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Program 917

1. Park Mammoth Resort
2. Middlesboro’s “Pumpkin Alley”
3. Día de los Muertos
4. wildlife at Land Between the Lakes
Season 9 Menu

Barren County

For more information:
Park Mammoth Resort, P.O. Box 307, Park City, KY 42160, (270) 749-4101

Producer, videographer: Dave Shuffett
Editor: Joy Flynn

A Hotel with History

Park Mammoth Resort

Host Dave Shuffett goes for a little R&R to begin this edition of Kentucky Life as he checks out the Park Mammoth Resort in Park City.

Located just nine miles from Mammoth Cave National Park in northern Barren County, the resort naturally draws a lot of tourists headed for the famous cave. But Park Mammoth also strives to be a destination in itself—a family resort with old-fashioned charm. It offers golf in two forms: an 18-hole regulation course as well as the miniature version. An indoor pool, train rides, and other kids’ activities also help make the place family-friendly.

The property even has caves of its own, with their own interesting histories. One boasts an impressive dome, one was a stopping place for runaway slaves, and one reportedly served as a hideout for notorious outlaw Jesse James. Their parents were Kentuckians, so Jesse and his brother Frank passed through fairly often to visit family members. Jesse was identified by a captured gang member as the perpetrator of two stagecoach robberies in the Mammoth Cave area in 1880.

None of Park Mammoth’s caves was open to the public at the time of our visit because of the need to protect some contemporary cave dwellers: an endangered species of bat.

Bell County

For more information:
Bell County Tourism Commission, (800) 988-1075

Producer, videographer, editor: Cheryl Beckley

Carving Out Some Fun

Middlesboro’s Pumpkin Alley

In the early 1980s, Paul and Wanda Lee of Middlesboro decided to dress up their yard for Halloween with a selection of carved jack-o’-lanterns. In succeeding years, some neighbors followed suit. Fueled partly by the spirit of community and partly by the spirit of competition, the displays kept getting bigger and more elaborate, and before too long the thing had just taken on a life of its own. The annual transformation of 30th Street into “Pumpkin Alley” had become a certified local tradition.

Then, in the fall of 2001, Pumpkin Alley made Southern Living magazine and Paul Harvey’s radio show. Suddenly, people started arriving in Bell County from all over the country to see the pumpkins. Pumpkin Alley has now become a tourist attraction and an annual shot in the arm for the local economy. But the neighbors who started it all say there’s really only one reason they keep doing it: for the kids.

Fayette County

For more information:
Living Arts and Science Center, 362 N. Martin Luther King Blvd, Lexington, KY 40508, (859) 252-5222 (also featured in Program 916)
About Los Días de los Muertos from

Producer, editor: Joy Flynn
Videographers: Michael Follmer, Amelia Cutadean, Brandon Wickey
Audio: Charlie Bissell

Honoring Los Muertos

Day of the Dead celebrations

Halloween, of course, evolved out of various other holidays, including Celtic and Roman harvest celebrations. And its modern name comes from the fact that it’s on the eve of Hallowmas and All Souls Day, two feast days established by the Catholic Church in the 9th century to honor first saints and then all the dead.

The Mexican twist on All Souls Day is Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), which mixes all of the above traditions with Aztec influences. It coincides with the arrival of the monarch butterflies on their annual migration, since the Aztecs believed that the butterflies carry the spirits of departed ancestors with them. Though full of trappings like skeletons and ghosts, Día de los Muertos is a festive time, during which people welcome back the dead to spend some time with the living.

Kentucky’s growing community of Mexican immigrants has brought Day of the Dead traditions along, adding a new dimension to the mix of fall holiday celebrations in the Bluegrass. In this segment, we explore the origins, meanings, decorations, foods, and other traditions of Día de los Muertos at two places we’ve visited before. At Simply Oaxaca, a Lexington store selling folk art, jewelry, and other goods from Mexico that also functioned as a kind of community center, owner Jacobo Aragon talks about the meaning of the holiday. (The store, which we also visited in Program 908, has since closed.) At the Living Arts and Science Center downtown, director Marty Henton and local 5th graders get into the spirit by creating their own Day of the Dead festivities.

Trigg County

For more information:
Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area

Producers, videographers: David Brinkley, Cheryl Beckley
Editor: Stephen Kertis

Fur and Feathers

Land Between the Lakes wildlife

We end this edition with a little wildlife watching at Land Between the Lakes. This scenic Western Kentucky recreation area draws crowds of humans as one of Kentucky’s biggest tourist attractions. But this short “music video,” shot in the area around the Woodlands Nature Station, focuses on the birds and animals for whom the place is home.

SEASON 9 PROGRAMS: 901902903904905906907908909: Along Highway 62

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