Lexington residents who have been paying attention to their city recently have likely noticed the ticking of the clocks, counting down the hours until the 2010 World Equestrian Games officially kick off at the Kentucky Horse Park. This month marks two years out, which might seem like a long time, but to the people involved with making sure Lexington is ready in all aspects, the red numbers on those clocks may start to become a bit menacing. It’s crunch time.
Not only will our international visitors – estimated to be anywhere from 250,000 to 600,000 – be lodging, dining, and sporting in Lexington, but they will be looking to us for entertainment during their 16-night stay.
“[Lexington] needs to anticipate a party that goes on 16 nights in a row,” said John Long, CEO of the United States Equestrian Federation and chairman of the World Games Foundation. “And if we get it right, and I know we will, it will be a breathtaking event downtown.”
While it’s too early for many specific details and economic conditions add to uncertainties, the city is indeed planning a large downtown festival for those 16 days, according to Penny Ebel, director of special events for the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government and liaison for the World Equestrian Games. Approximately ten committees have spawned from the original Host Committee organized by Mayor Newberry, and the committees have been meeting regularly to plan the various city aspects for the WEG, including downtown beautification, sidewalk, signage, street improvements, and entertainment.
Harold Tate, president of the Lexington Downtown Development Authority (DDA), said the DDA is working with various downtown venues looking to expand or make improvements, and is also working with new venues that want to open or relocate to the downtown area.
Alltech is curating a regional concert series that kicked off in July and will lead up to the event, and LexArts is planning to bring back HorseMania for the entertainment of the guests.