By Kathy Witt
We're sure you've heard about Hopkinsville's latest claim to fame, considering it was named THE best place in the United States to see the recent total solar eclipse on Aug. 21, 2017. But that's not the only other-worldly treasure this area has in store!
Little Green Men
The town has already made history for its extraterrestrial ties. On Aug. 21, 1955 – exactly 62 years to the day before the 2017 eclipse – a “spaceship carrying 12 to 15 little men landed in the Kelly community” (or so they say) and thrust Hopkinsville into the headlines. How’s that for coincidental timing? (We like to say the little guys were just coming to get the best seats for that major solar show!)
Today, the locals celebrate this Twilight Zone-worthy incident with an annual festival named in honor of the deep space denizens: Kelly Little Green Men Days, where you can come participate in a weekend of far-out fun, food and more!
Other fun summer events include the Christian County Cattlemen’s Lonestar Rodeo at the Western Kentucky Fairgrounds and a Summer Salute featuring headlining music acts, a chili cook-off, kids’ fun zone, food and crafts vendors and other activities.
Looking for yet another celestial tie? Head to Hopkinsville’s Riverside Cemetery where you can pay your respects at the gravesite of Edgar Cayce, considered America’s greatest 20th century psychic. Known as the “Sleeping Prophet,” Cayce is attributed with predicting the Stock Market Crash of 1929, World War II and El Niño. Wow! You can learn all about him and the history of the area and its people at the Museums of Historic Hopkinsville.
Trail of Tears
Also not to be missed is Trail of Tears Commemorative Park, site of the 1838-1839 encampment set up during the forced removal of the Cherokee people and the burial site of Cherokee Chiefs Fly Smith and Whitepath. Of course, long before astronomers and telescopes, Native American medicine doctors would predict eclipses based on their knowledge of the earth and sky. Each year during the weekend following Labor Day, the park hosts a Pow Wow with Native American singing, storytelling, dance competitions, arts and crafts, foods – including fry bread – and more.
When you come to town, be sure to take your money and appetite to the historic downtown, the heart of Hopkinsville’s shopping and dining scene full of shops stocking books, jewelry, thrift store finds, quilting supplies, original artist works and other treasures.
Grab a meal or a snack – choosing among bakery goodies and other sweet treats, pub grub and fine dining – before heading to the Alhambra Theatre (the town’s main entertainment venue) for a performance, concert or film.
Drop by the Casey Jones Distillery to sample its liquid homage to the 2017 eclipse: Total Eclipse Moonshine. Then pop into MB Roland Distillery, a “grain to glass” craft distillery for a tour, tasting and Pickin’ on the Porch, a live music program presented on select Saturdays. Sip one of eight different craft beers at the Hopkinsville Brewing Company near the center of town — the first and only craft beer brewery to take up residence in Christian County.
More to See & Do
Time permitting, add some of Hopkinsville’s hidden gems to your list of things to see. Rummage for odds and ends at Young’s Hardware, the town’s oldest hardware store, having been established in 1898. If you’re looking for a little recreation, check out our city parks or stroll a segment of the Hopkinsville Rail Trail, which stretches out three miles along the former Fort Campbell railroad spur. Browse original artworks and handmade crafts at Griffin’s Studio, a gift shop, art gallery and art studio.
A total eclipse of the sun, a festival celebrating Little Green Men, a sacred space commemorating what Native Americans call “The Trail Where They Cried” and more. These are all great reasons to mark your calendar and hit the road for Hopkinsville this August!
Plan your once-in-a-lifetime adventure to Hopkinsville by calling 270-885-9096 or 800-842-9959 or visiting www.visithopkinsville.com.