'THE CROWN JEWEL':  Redbud Ride named Kentucky Main Street Best Fundraising Effort

Photo contributed

Sen. Albert Robinson, Julie Rea, Rep. Robert Goforth and City Councilman Daniel Carmack take time for a photo after the award ceremony. 

Each year, the Redbud Ride brings cyclists from throughout the country to London. The event couples the beautiful blooming eastern redbuds with an energetic bike throughout the city.

Wednesday afternoon, the Redbud Ride event was given the Kentucky Main Street Award for Best Fundraising Effort for 2019. The award recognizes excellence in Main Street programs and was presented by the Kentucky Heritage Council.

"The Tourism Commission likes to call the Redbud Ride one of the signature events of London-Laurel County. I like to call it 'the crown jewel,'" said Julie Rae, interim executive director of London Downtown.

Rae estimates the event to bring anywhere between 800 and 1,600 attendees each year. Those participants, she added, bring guests of their own, helping support London's economy.

"It's a tremendous boost for tourism. We bring in people who then stay at our hotels and our campgrounds, shop at our stores and eat at our restaurants. That's good for our local economy, and it's an awesome tourism event. It really puts London on the map and it's why we're the cycling capital of Kentucky," said Rae.

The 2020 Redbud Ride will take place on Saturday, April 18. For updates on route information, visit the event's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/redbudride. To register, or to find out more information on the Red Bud Ride, visit the event's website at redbudride.com.

"This award, as far as I'm concerned, doesn't belong to London Downtown or the Redbud Ride committee; it belongs to London-Laurel County," said Rae. "The people who had a vision years ago that turned into a Redbud Ride and the people who helped start and mold that through the years. Volunteers with the community from businesses and churches, homeowners in the area who let us use their front yards out in the country to have as a rest-stop. It takes a village to pull something this big. This is something that our whole, entire community should be proud of, and it belongs to all of us."

dcombs@sentinel-echo.com

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