Tuesday, November 19, 2013

In the Holiday Spirit...

Maybe it's the "mix-mas" music playing on our local station....maybe it's that cool "smell" in the air blowing around outside....whatever it is, and whether we're ready for it or not, the holiday season is, or at least will be, upon us. My sister in law has been watching the Hallmark channel all this past week which has just drenched it's programming with holiday spirit. Maybe i'm starting too early, but I've got all kinds of memories playing around in my head right now. All of my earliest memories revolve around Kentucky State Parks. My First Christmas was spent on a Kentucky State Park, my first "white" Christmas was experienced on a Kentucky State Park, and I think even the first time I sat on Santa's lap was at a Kentucky State Park.

One of the traditions that I enjoyed the most with my family was picking out a Christmas tree for our house. For years we'd buy a beautiful Christmas tree with the root ball still intact so my father could plant it somewhere on the park after Christmas. You could still see a few of these trees in and around the park where we used to live. My mother always supported this up until the Christmas of, if I can remember correctly, 1984 or so. We had selected a long leaf pine, I think it was a scotch pine if I remember correctly. Mom loved the smell a scotch pine would give off, especially in a nice warm house during the Christmas season. I only wish I had pictures of how beautiful that tree looked. All the bright colorful lights, the homemade decorations that my mother had collected over the years, and not to mention all the wonderful gifts that accumulated under the tree as we approached Christmas morning. To be quite honest though, I can't remember a single thing that i got that year for Christmas, but I do remember what we all found in our living room that morning. As always, my brother and I would be the first ones up so we could see what was under the tree for us. I opened the door and ran out and there, in our living room, were hundreds, possibly even thousands of teeny, tiny.....bugs. Our large picture window was just filled with small, green bugs. Bugs on our family pictures. Bugs all over the coffee table. Bugs all over our presents! Upon further inspection, these bugs were not just any little green, creepy crawly, but the terrifying, lethal, praying mantis, or at least that's how it played out in my mind. Now I of course was raised by a naturalist, and while at 8 or 9 years old, I respected all the little creatures of the forest, but praying mantis? It still sends shivers up my spine today. They were literally
Terror on Christmas morn'
everywhere. Once my mother was up and aware of what was going on, the great mantis removal was underway. Hand fulls being thrown outside, towels harvesting as many as they could hold. My father, all the while trying to save as many as he could from a "squashed" fate. We had mantis's.....manti....whatever the plural would be for not only the rest of December but all the way up through January and beyond. Once things had calmed down we began to give the tree a good once over to try and figure out what had happened. There upon one of the branches was the empty egg sack that no doubt had gotten a jump start from the warm temperature inside of our humble abode. My mother was a really good sport about it. Had this ever happened to my wife....well....there's no doubt that she would have never set foot in that house again. I'm just glad my parents don't live in the house anymore, because I'd probably even have a hard time getting her in there today.

Everyone out there has there own memories of Christmas. Maybe another time I'll tell you about the Christmas I got my first "Power Wheel"...all I'll say is that if you ever get one for your child....make sure you teach him how it works BEFORE they hop on it. (Needless to say, our Christmas tree never stood quite right after that) With that said, I'd like to ask everyone to check back often as I'll be updating the blog to reflect all the wonderful holiday festivities happening here at Blue Licks. Including a visit from Father Christmas himself, to our dinner theaters and new years events and more! As always....get out there and enjoy your state parks!! And hey, if you'd like to share a story with me about your memorable experience at a Kentucky State Park, please feel free to share. Email me HERE.

Friday, November 15, 2013


Wow.....Okay....so my apologies to anyone who may actually be following my blogsite. I always want to think that I'll be able to update on a regular basis but it always seems that time slips by so fast that I don't even realize it. So once again.....here we are staring at the finish line of another year, another season. The temperatures are dropping, leaves have changed and are all but gone, and those aren't the only things that are changing around here at the park. Blue Licks said goodbye to our park manager for nearly 4 years in September. Mr. Michael Schwendau has moved on to bigger and better things. He will be missed here at the park. Since about mid October, Blue Licks has been appointed a new "captain," if you will, who will assume the position of park manager. Mr. Rob Mack comes to us from the Indiana Dept. of Parks, having served at Hardy Lake State Park for several years before receiving this most recent appointment. We wish him well here at Blue Licks. If you get a chance to stop in some time, be sure and tell him "hello." Oh yeah, and check back often because I promise to do a better job keeping up with our blogsite so you can find out about everything that's going on here at park!

If your looking for some ways to get the family out and about this holiday season, look no further than Blue Licks. We've got a host of special weekends coming up during December that you're sure to want to check out:

December 6th & 7th:

No holds are barred as television favorites to some traditional Christmas classics get skewered in these light-hearted parodies. The whole family will have an uproariously good time!
The four parodies included in the evenings performance are:
Santa and the City: The Old Mid-West will never be the same when four young single ladies in Manhattan, KS try to open a shoe store. Little did they reckon a greedy land baron, whose hair has hypnotic powers, would try to take over the town just before Christmas
The Holiday Surprise: It’s the day before Christmas and Santa is nowhere to be found. The residents of Goosebump, Alaska (the first town South of the North Pole) try to find a substitute. Only a Canadian Mountie can save the day!
The Grouch Who Couldn’t Steal Christmas: The Annual Holiday Pageant in the town of Whooterville goes awry when Phineas P Grouch seeks revenge from a broken heart. But who is the real villain here?
The Magical Christmas of Mistle Toe, Kansas: The town of Mistle Toe is broke and the land rights are up for grabs. Mayor Georgette Bradley pins all their hopes and dreams on a one night only benefit performance by “The Amazing Ricky and His Magic Wand”. You won’t believe the magic that occurs when they discover the true meaning of the season.
For prices and availability, follow  this LINK to our events page.

December 14th:
Breakfast with Father Christmas!!
Join "Father Christmas" for breakfast at the Hidden Waters Restaurant Saturday December 14th at 8am. After breakfast, enjoy storytelling from the Robertson County Library and then have your picture taken with Father Christmas. Call the park for more details. 859-289-5507

December 31st:
New Years & Comedy in the Parks!
Join us at Blue Licks for an evening of food, comedy, and musical entertainment as we ring in the new year. Enjoy an all you can eat buffet prepared a by our staff at the Hidden Waters Restaurant. Then, at 7:30pm Lee Cruse will be making his second appearance on the Blue Licks stage with his unique blend of comedy. Afterwards, stick around and celebrate the evening with "The Piano Doctor" Dave Stahl and saxophonist extraordinaire Freddy Helm! For reservations and additional information follow this LINK to our events page.

This should at least give you a place to start, so check out our events page, give the park a call, or feel free to send me and email right HERE. And remember...get out and enjoy your Kentucky State Parks!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Happy Labor Day

Summer's winding down once again and as we go into this Labor Day weekend I can't help but to be amazed at just how fast this season has gone. We've had some successful programming this season but unfortunately our canoe program suffered from the excess of rain we saw for the month of July. I can't recall a July 4th in recent memory that was as wet as this one was. August saw one of the more successful Blue Licks Commemoration in recent memory, with over 3,700 visitors throughout the course of the weekend. If you didn't get a chance to make it out for this years event, you missed a great weekend filled with fantastic weather and even more fantastic programs and entertainment.

I have to admit something, growing up on a state park and having a father who was a programmer, I never really understood what Labor Day meant. For my family, it was a day that my father always "labored" for the many visitors to our park. In doing a little bit further investigation on the subject, I have come to have a greater appreciation for the day. I would like to share a little bit of what I've found.

Labor Day was first observed on Tuesday September 5, 1882. It wasn't until 1884 that the first Monday in September was selected to celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. While its origins are still debated, I like what the co-founder of the American Federation of Labor, Peter J. McGuire said of this proposed day. A day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold." It was these first Labor Unions that ultimately began planning an entire day of demonstrations and....you guessed it....picnics.

Today, the Department of Labor defines Labor day as a "yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country." While celebrations across the country differ from state to state, the first proposed outline of the observance has something that I find interesting. According to that first outline, the celebration of Labor Day should include- a street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations" of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families.

With that, I realized the importance Kentucky State Parks play in Labor Day. While we may not have "carved all the grandeur we behold" or created the skyscrapers from steel, for those hard workers who have, we serve as place to where those hard workers and their families can come and relax, and enjoy a day well deserved. So this Labor Day, take time to visit your state parks, relax and allow us to be part of your recreation and amusement! Check out this weekend's SCHEDULE to see how we can help you out!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Blazing Sabers at Blue Licks

My how time flies! It's unfortunate that this small break comes during what is typically one of our busiest weekends, July 4th. Torrential downpours have kept programming soggy but last night a break from the rain gave most families in the campground an opportunity to get out and enjoy the amazing Mr. B. Ron Baillargeon has been coming to our park for several years entertaining children of all ages with his unique brand of magic. To a packed audience, Mr. B awed everyone with illusions and all sorts of unbelievable tricks that he had up his sleeve.....pun intended. Ron is just one of the many performers you can catch through the summers here at Blue Licks. Later this month, you can come out to the campground and catch Scott Shupe and his World of Reptiles program. He'll be bringing all kinds of curious creatures with him Saturday July 20th at the campground shelter house at 8pm.

On a separate note, Wednesday July 17th and Thursday July 18th, marks one of the first murder mystery's that we've tried to do during our summer programming season. This is your chance to come out and enjoy Fantastical Theatricals BLAZING SABERS!!  Just imagine a Star Trek AND a Star Wars convention being booked in the same hotel at the same time and in the same room! Inevitably, an argument breaks out between the groups and one of our hero's, a scraggly smuggler from a galaxy far far away, lies on the floor....DEAD.  It seems he was struck on the head with some kind of silver tube thingie....Add a couple of bank robbers, and undercover FBI agents, and a genius geek girl and you've got one evening you'll not soon forget.

I'm really excited about this evening event. We've went to great lengths to make this a fun, and affordable evening for everyone. We're offering a dinner buffet and show for just $25.00. This is almost $15.00 OFF what our regular dinner theaters cost. You can also just come out for the show for just $15.00 without the buffet. We'll give you chance to enjoy the buffet at 6pm for the package deal and then start the show at 7:30pm.

Oh yeah, and don't forget to come out dressed as your favorite character from any sci-fi movie. We don't care what it is, just come out and watch the show dressed up. We may even give you a prize for coming out dressed up!!

For information and/or reservations, call the Worthington Lodge at 1-800-443-7008. For additional information on the show, just shoot me an email right HERE.

And remember....get out and enjoy your Kentucky State Parks!!!!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Summer Programming Begins at Blue Licks!

Tall tales on Grannies Roots & Herbs
With chilly temperatures all the way around, visitors didn't let it stop them from getting out and enjoying their local state parks. The summer programming season is in full swing at Blue Licks and visitors have their choice of a variety of programming to choose from. Even with temperatures hovering in the mid 40's yesterday morning, the canoe trip went out and aside from an unexpected dip, all returned safely. Well, safely in the sense that all returned with a smile on their face, but I think my staff may have been a bit soggy the rest of the day. Visitors had the chance to place themselves in the shoes of well known frontiersman such as Daniel Boone and John Todd on our signature program Battlefield Walk. Others heard folk tales and Appalachian remedies on Grannies Roots & Herbs as they strolled along the Licking River  Savannah Loop trails. Are skills or brain games more your style? You could have joined in on Trick Shot Mini Golf or gotten a team together to compete in Nature Jeopardy last night. By the way, congratulations to team "The Indestructibles" for their late round steal for the win over "No I Don't Have a Name." It was really great to see everyone working together and having fun at the same time.

Just remember you still have time to join us for more programs. As I write this Sunday morning, the clouds are parting, the temperatures are creeping upward and we'll be programming throughout Monday afternoon. You've still got time to come out for a Battlefield Walk this afternoon, or you come out and make a new experience as we pull out all things sharp and pointy tomorrow...Don't worry, it's not at scary as it sounds.) That's right, all things sharp and pointy with International Style Archery tomorrow morning, ATL Do It! at 1pm, (an ATL ATL throwing program...Don't know what a ATL ATL is? Come on out to find out.) or Tossin' the Hawk tomorrow afternoon at 3pm. Where else can you learn how to throw a tomahawk? While we'd love for you to run right over and join in on this weekends activities, don't worry, these are just a few of the programs we'll be offering throughout the entire summer season at Blue Licks. Also, be sure and check out our special events page RIGHT HERE, (just be sure and select Blue Licks from the pull down menu and VIEW ALL) because we'll be hosting a really great murder mystery in July that's sure to be a blast. For additional information on our programming and/or canoe trips, feel free to contact me HERE...And last but certainly not least, get out and enjoy our Kentucky State Parks!!!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Red Hatter's Unite!!

When Red Hatter's Attack!
Fun after fifty. I like this whole thought process. Now I'm not quite there yet but none-the-less I can really embrace this concept. Having grown up in the park system I had the great fortune of interacting with many, many senior groups over the years. Some of the most interesting, amusing and just plain fun people I have ever met have been part of my senior groups I've worked with over the years. As a child, I would accompany my father to his programs and watch him tell stories and socialize with his seniors.

Serious gaming
For anyone who runs around with this sort of crowd you will know what I'm talking about when I say "penny in the pot." A simple card game that I decided to participate in one time. I couldn't have been more than 8 or 9 years old at the time, but this group encouraged me to bring down my hard earned piggy bank and join in. So I brought down my giant green Crayola piggy bank that I had put every spare coin in that I could find during those early years of my childhood. It was full to the brim with penny's. I can remember sitting down at the table. Almost like some greenhorn cowpoke sitting down to his first real hand of poker as a slide my bank in to view. Now don't get me wrong, the group I began playing with were the kindest, most patient people one could hope for. However, after about an hour or so my filled to the brim Crayola piggy bank began to take quite a hit. So much so that I decided that if I wanted to keep what little silver I had in there, I should probably retreat while I had the chance. So retreat I did, along with the $1.37 that was left in my bank. They had cleaned me out. I still tell that story to what groups I work with now days. I don't think they believe me when I tell it but it's no matter.  I'll never forget the great penny-in-the-pot incident of 1984, that and the 1984 Summer Olympics. Mary Lou Retton stole my heart that year.

Anyway, I digress. The past several years we've had the privilege to host a Red Hat Day celebration for many of the Red Hat groups in our region. you want to see people have a good time, stick your head in the Arlington room during this event and you will see some fun loving ladies. We've had scavenger hunts, homemade hat competitions, and I think most enjoyably, a live band last year. It's a chance for these ladies to meet others in the area who like to get together and have some fun, as well as get dressed up and maybe even cut a rug. (Seeing a mamba line of 30 red hatter's all decked out is a sight to behold.) But at the heart of it is the most important thing....having fun, and more importantly for everyone, having fun at a Kentucky state park.

For more information on this years Red Hat Day April 25th, check out this LINK. or can email me HERE.

Friday, March 22, 2013

March 30th Easter Egg Hunt

Traditions. Whether it be something as simple as spending a little extra time in bed every Saturday morning or gathering for a huge family reunion, we all have them. My dad has a tradition that he's started over the past 10 years or so of collecting refrigerator magnets from the places he visits. He's gathered quite the collection that has not only filled the refrigerator but has spilled over into their entry way. He has magnets from nearly every state in the nation and even some from across the Atlantic. Another tradition that is one of my favorites is during Christmas. It lets me know how much my father and I are alike. It doesn't matter how old my brother and I get, but every year at Christmas my father gives us.....a toy....I know. It seems childish, but for me, its a way for my brother, my father and I to keep from having to be a grown-up for just a minute. Whether it's a nerf gun, radio controlled helicopter, or rubberband gun, (Just a few from the past few years,) It's a chance for my brother and I to bond with my father and just for a second, make it feel like we're all still "home."