Murray, Kentucky eNewsletter Archive

Click Here to View the Summer 2013 Newsletter

Playful spark brings honor to Murray
This May, Murray was honored to be named a Playful City USA by the Kaboom organization for the sixth time.
According to, Playful City USA is a national recognition program honoring cities and towns that make play a priority and use innovative programs to get children active, playing and healthy. Only 22 other communities nationwide have received the award six times.

Although there are many attributes from Murray making it eligible for this award, one of the community’s largest assets is the Murray-Calloway County parks system.

The parks include many ways for youngsters to stay active with a swimming complex, spray park, batting cages, basketball courts, five playgrounds, a disc golf course and three miles of developed nature trails. These features are available to locals and visitors alike.

One of the most-used areas of the park is the disc golf course. In disc golf, individual players throw a flying disc, similar to a Frisbee, at a target. The Central Park course is 18 holes with a total length of more than 52 feet and is par 58.

The Murray-Calloway County Parks also have programs for soccer, baseball, softball and tennis. Baseball and softball have grown significantly over the past few years, with more than 700 participants in 2013. Parks Director Tab Brockman said, “Baseball has a long, rich tradition in Murray. Also, softball has grown very quickly due in part to the addition of Murray State softball.” More information on recreation in Murray can be found at

Downtown Saturday Market, every Sat. May-Oct.
Each Saturday morning during the months of May through October the court square comes alive with the hustle and bustle of shoppers and vendors. At this farmer’s market one can find fresh produce, bread, flowers, meat, jewelry, crafts and many other hand made items. Don’t forget to visit the downtown businesses who are open during the market! The hours of the event are 7 a.m.-noon. Weekly information on the market can be found by visiting the Downtown Saturday Market Facebook page.

Fiddler on the Roof, May 31-June 16
In the little village of Anatevka, Tevye, a poor dairyman tries to instill in his five daughters the traditions of his tight-knit Jewish community in the face of changing social mores and the growing anti-Semitism of Czarist Russia. Rich in historical and ethnic detail, Fiddler on the Roof has touched audiences around the world with its humor, warmth and honesty. The universal theme of tradition cuts across barriers of race, class, nationality and religion, leaving audiences crying tears of laughter, joy and sadness. Performances take place Friday through Sunday. Tickets may be purchased at

Freedom Fest, June 28-29
The 26th year of Freedom Fest has brought about some changes. Don’t worry, all of the favorites will still be there: fireworks, free concerts, the parade and all the barbecue you can eat. But, there are some fun, new additions to the lineup. The weekend kicks off Friday night on the court square where there will be more than 40 different vendors selling everything from funnel cakes to jewelry. Rock out to a free concert with performances by Matty McRee and Clarence Dobbins. New this year is the Freedom Fest Patio by Clark Distributing (21 and older only) on 4th Street. Saturday, the FNB Parade will float down Main Street and end near the court square, which will host vendors and free inflatables for children. The family-focused day continues through Saturday evening with The Murray Bank Family Night in the Park, where The Cruisers will perform. Kid’s activities will be abundant, including pony rides, a petting zoo and inflatables, all FREE! At Lovett Auditorium, the Town & Gown Community Band will perform. All of these events culminate with the Briggs & Stratton Fireworks Extravaganza at 9:30 that night. Details of these events and others can be found at

Click Here to View the Spring 2013 Newsletter

Let art surround you in Murray
The Clara M. Eagle Gallery is known for its dramatic and exciting exhibition space on Murray State’s campus. This gallery is free and open to the public. Here one can enjoy the classic work of students or national juried shows. The Eagle and Curris Center Galleries have 8,292 square feet of exhibition space and support areas with four distinct exhibition spaces.

Murray Shakespeare Festival
In March, the American Shakespeare Festival returns to the Murray State campus to present Shakespeare’s hilarious comedy Twelfth Night and John Webster’s gripping tragedy The Duchess of Malfi. Check out the full festival schedule, which also includes an exciting lineup of workshops, film screenings, and stimulating scholar-led discussions.

Sucker Punch Century Ride
The Sucker Punch Century Ride is the best way for cyclists to see Murray-Calloway County, raise money for a good cause and have an enjoyable ride. The event has the option of a 30, 60 or 100-mile bike ride, with all entry fees benefiting the Murray State Cycling team. Lunch is provided with entry and the ride includes several rest stops. The cost is $30 until March 23 and $40 thereafter.

Murray Half Marathon
Start training now for the 2nd Murray Half Marathon. This race is organized by the Murray-Calloway Endowment for Healthcare, which works to fund both present and future equipment and program needs for the Murray-Calloway County Hospital. The 13.1 mile route allows the runner to see the best of Murray, including downtown and campus. The registration fee is currently $55. A 5K and relay are also a part of the event. For more information call 270.762.1800 or visit

Citywide Yard Sale
Nothing says spring cleaning like the Citywide Yard Sale. Get rid of clutter and make a few bucks by participating in this long-standing Murray tradition. Fill out an application and pay $10 to get your yard sale listing on the official map. Yard sale spots will be available at Central Park. Treasure-hunters may purchase a map for $2 the Thurs. and Fri. before the yard sale, as well as the day of it. The Citywide Yard Sale is a fundraiser for Freedom Fest. For more information, call 270.759.9474 or visit

Click Here to View the Winter 2012 Newsletter

Murray named Friendliest Small Town in America

July 17, 2012 was a big day for Murray, Kentucky. The city was divided over a vote taking place that day to allow packaged liquor sales within the city limits. However, the vote wasn’t what made that day special. All of the division over the vote immediately disappeared when Murray was named the Friendliest Small Town in America by Rand McNally and USA Today. Although the announcement took place in Seattle, Washington, it only took a few seconds for the news to travel back to Murray and spread like wildfire through social media.
The process of being named the Friendliest Small Town in America began a few months earlier. Rand McNally and USA Today announced that its Best of the Road competition to find the best small towns in America would continue for a second year. Towns with a population of less than 150,000 would be crowned the winner in one of five categories:

Friendliest, Most Beautiful, Most Fun, Best for Food and Most Patriotic. The contest began with online voting. Citizens, former residents and past visitors of Murray all came together to put Murray in second place, which was more than enough to guarantee its inclusion into the top six towns in the category.
The next step in the competition was a site visit from a Rand McNally and USA Today team of two. The team traveled cross country visiting all six towns in the Friendliest category, with Murray being the first stop. Community members and leaders came together to make the visit memorable, with the team getting to enjoy a community picnic, lake outing, plane ride and much more.
The open, welcoming and friendly spirit of our community impressed the judges enough that they decided Murray really was the Friendliest Small Town in America.

More information on Murray and the award can be found at:

Christmas in the Park
Each holiday season Central Park is filled with thousands of light displays welcoming Christmas cheer. The lights are available for viewing every day through the end of 2012. So, start a holiday tradition with the family and take a drive through Central Park.

Murray State Basketball
All over the country and especially in Murray, memories abound of last season’s unforgettable MSU basketball team. This year, the team is already off to a great start. Keep Racer pride strong by attending an exciting Murray State basketball game. Tickets are available at or the CFSB Center box office.

Little Big Town: Tornado Tour
Country sensation Little Big Town hits the road for their latest tour after being awarded two Country Music Association awards for Single of the Year and Vocal Group of the Year. The concert will take place at Lovett Auditorium. Tickets are available at

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown
This delightful popular musical is based on Charles Schulz “Peanuts” cartoon characters and an average day in the life of Charlie Brown. Enjoy yet another fine production from Playhouse in the Park. Tickets may be purchased at the box office or at

Click Here to View the Summer 2012 Newsletter

Calloway County Quilt Trail
A scenic drive through Calloway County is now even more enjoyable because of the barn quilts scattering the area. The Calloway County Quilt Trail was formed in 2010 by the local homemaker’s club and even the founders of the trail were surprised by how quickly it grew. There are currently over 30 quilts on the trail, with more being added almost every month. A visit to the Quilt Trail website gives the address of each quilt as well as the GPS coordinates. The site is mobile-friendly so visitors can easily find each location while on the trail.

Corey Smith in concert
Close out the summer with a concert in historic Lovett Auditorium on Saturday, August 18, as Corey Smith performs live. Smith just released his sixth album and has become a popular country artist despite his untraditional path to success. The up-and-coming duo Florida-Georgia Line will open for Smith. Tickets are on sale now at

Murray-Calloway Co. Fair
Admission to this year’s fair will be $10 per person and will include parking, rides, shows and events. The fair association is hosting a family night on Wednesday, June 13 to support Need Line. Fair patrons can bring two canned goods per person to receive $2 off the price of admission. Other special events include a performance by the Zooperstars, tractor pull, cupcake wars, a demolition derby and motocross. A full schedule of events is available at

Freedom Fest
Western Kentucky’s largest 4th of July festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary! This three-day festival includes a jam-packed schedule of events that are all of little to no cost. The 25th anniversary celebration will include a mobile zipline! The CFSB Zipline is one of only four in the entire country and takes riders on a thrilling 165-foot ride starting three stories up. Friday and Saturday night’s activities will include a street fair with over 40 vendors, an amateur barbeque competition, a free kids’ zone with inflatables, the FNB Bank Parade, the Texaco Country Showdown and a free concert featuring Aly’an (country) and Rubik’s Groove (’80s cover band) sponsored by Lake Chem and K98-98.3. Sunday is Culver’s Family Day in the Park featuring free inflatables, pony rides, a petting zoo, face painting, free hot dogs and drinks and much more. Also Sunday evening is the Murray Bank Gospel Explosion and the W.O.W. Flag Retriement Ceremony. More information on Freedom Fest can be found by calling 270.759.2199 or visiting

FLW Tour Stop Weigh-in
Kentucky Lake is one of the world’s top fisheries and has made nearby Murray like a second home to FLW Tour Stops. Professional fishermen from around the country will spend four exciting days fishing and then weigh their top catch each day. Saturday and Sunday’s weigh-in will take place at the CFSB Center on the campus of Murray State University. A live weigh-in, music, vendors and fun kid’s activities will fill the arena. Cheer on the fishermen and join in the excitement for free! For more information visit

Click Here to View the Spring 2012 Newsletter

Flowers begin to bloom, the sun begins to shine and that last bit of chill has left the air: spring has arrived. The only way to celebrate the return of the season and leave winter behind is to be outdoors enjoying the surroundings. The Arboretum at Murray State University gives locals and visitors the chance to do just that.

The Arboretum is a fully accessible horticultural display, public garden and educational laboratory located on the Pullen Farm of MSU. The Arboretum at Murray State University consists of five major parts: Open Woodlands, Savanna, Open Prairie, Oak/Hickory Forest and Wetlands, plus Display and Community Gardens. It offers two miles of pathways and one of the largest and most diverse collection of plants in western Kentucky.

The Display and Community Garden consists of plants and trees, including: waterfall dwarf japanese maple, royalty encore azalea, fernleaf cypress, crimson queen japanese maple, empress encore azalea and paper bark maples.

For more information on visiting the arboretum, call 270.767.0467.

Information from

Trivia Night
Murray’s favorite Trivia Night is new and improved for 2012. This year the event will be held in the Murray Room of the CFSB Center and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Get your team of eight together now and start prepping for the seven rounds of trivia. The night also includes other fun such as a “Dead or Alive” round, a 50/50 raffle and door prizes. This event is a fundraiser for Murray Main Street and the cost is $150 per table. For more information call Murray Main Street at 270.759.9474.

Downtown Saturday Market
Every Saturday in May-Oct. the downtown court square is lined with local vendors selling fresh fruits and vegetables, homemade bread, arts and crafts and more. Visit this open-air market often as the offerings change with the season. Certain Saturdays include other special events, like Freedom Fest, the Ice Cream Festival and Arts on the Square. The market takes place on Maple Street on the court square and is open from 7 a.m.-noon. For more information on the Downtown Saturday Market call Murray Main Street at 270.759.9474.

Click Here to View the Fall 2011 Newsletter

Ice Cream Festival
One of Murray’s favorite festivals is back for its 12th year. The Ice Cream Festival will take place Friday, Sept. 9 from 5-9 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 10 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday night the Rotary Club of Murray will host the 2nd annual Scooper Bowl. Non-profit organizations will compete in a homemade ice cream competition. Festival-goers will get to purchase a ticket for $5 and taste the ice cream from each booth. Then, vote for your favorite by placing your ticket into the organization’s box. Over $3,000 in prizes will be given away to the winners. Also that evening, kids may purchase a wristband and gain unlimited use on the inflatables, rock wall and other activities. The wristband deal extends into Saturday. Also Saturday, Ice Cream Idol, a karaoke competition will take place. From noon- 5 p.m. is the main event, free Purity ice cream. Wristbands may be purchased in advance for $5, or $10 the day of the event. For more information on the Ice Cream Festival, call Murray Main Street at 270.759.9474.

“A healthy community is a productive community”
As we hear time after time, exercise is an important part of staying healthy. Why is exercise so important? Staying fit can reduce stress, accelerate weight loss and prevent injuries as well as disease. However, many people find it challenging to stick to a work out plan. The emergence of several health-related groups and events in Murray are helping citizens and visitors stay on track with exercise goals.

Murray is home to many different gyms, all offering a variety of equipment, classes and programs. From weight-lifting to kickboxing to zumba, gyms make it easy to find the work out plan that interests you most.

Over the past few years many health-focused events have taken place in Murray. Sporting events such as the Kentucky Senior Games, USTA Kentucky Mixed Doubles State Championship and the Murray Half Marathon bring visitors from all over the state and country to Murray to compete. Training for these events helps to keep the participants active on a regular basis and prepares them for a lifelong fitness program.

Murray’s Swim Bike Run is a triathlon club sponsored by Murray State University. Members train in cycling, running and swimming on a weekly basis and compete in triathlons all over the country. Lance Allison, a member of the club, said he believes the group has been very beneficial in that it has allowed him to be around a group of people with like interests. “Anytime you can do an activity with a group of people it gives an accountability aspect in that you find yourself less likely to get up and train if it were left up to you individually. You know that people are there to support you and make you the best athlete you can be which helps with your overall fitness level. A healthy community is a productive community.”

Click Here to View the Freedom Fest 2011 Newsletter

Freedom Fest 2011 Activities
July 1-3, thousands of people will travel to downtown Murray, Ky. for the Opening Ceremony of Freedom Fest 2011. Smells of barbecue and funnel cakes will fill the air along with the sounds of great music and children laughing. The Court Square will be transformed into a full-force patriotic celebration.

We’re having a beach party downtown! Experience the court square in a whole new way with 20 tons of sand, beach balls and lei’s. The event kicks off at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 1 with the singing of our National Anthem. Next, Jeremiah Johnson and the Grizzly Six will begin the Lion’s Club Red, White and Blue Block Party. Jarrod McMillin, lead guitarist for The Grizzly Six, said, “Our band has an energetic stage presence grouped with a wide array of songs making for a great live show.”

Following the Grizzly Six is Al Green and the Hard Times. Lead singer Al Green finds it hard to classify his music into only one category. “We play a very diverse line-up. If I had to describe it, I would call it country southern rockin’ blues,” he said.

Click Here to View the Spring 2011 Newsletter

Spring events bloom in Murray
Murray, Ky. will play host to the FLW College Fishing National Championship.  Each morning teams will take off on Kentucky Lake and in the evening return to the CFSB Center on Murray State’s campus to weigh-in at 4 p.m.  The College Festival takes place from 2-4 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and 12-4 on Saturday. The weigh-ins will be an exciting event for all, with rock climbing, featured bands and more. Saturday includes a free concert, rod and reel giveaway to the first 100 college students and free pizza at the final weigh-in.  After the first two days, competitors will be narrowed down to 5 teams, who will compete for the national championship on the last day.  Come out for the big reveal on the last night to experience a free and fun event. This year, the championship will follow with a Murray State High School Fishing Open.  More information can be found at

History’s Home: Wrather West Kentucky Museum
The journey of each person creates the history of the community, the nation, the world. Artifacts of the past allow those of today a chance to understand their own historical identity.

Located on Murray State University’s campus is Wrather West Kentucky Museum, where locals and visitors can learn and understand the history surrounding the Jackson Purchase.

PostSecret founder shares secrets with Murray State crowd
Frank Warren stood before a thousand students and community members in historic Lovett Auditorium Tuesday night to talk about secrets. Warren is the founder of PostSecret, an ongoing community mail art project, in which people mail in their secrets anonymously on a homemade postcard.

Since November 2004, when PostSecret started, Warren has received over 400,000 postcards filled with secrets from hidden acts of kindness, to confessions of secret beliefs, to deepest, darkest secrets. He began posting the secrets on his blog, and PostSecret became a huge success online with over 250,000,000 hits. Forbes listed Warren as the fourth most influential person online in 2009.

Community Spotlight: Matt Falwell
Owner, Gear Up Cycles

Click Here to View the Winter 2010 Newsletter

Murray prepares for the Holiday season
Friends and family pull into the driveway. Hugs are exchanged and bags are taken in. The holiday festivities begin. The part left out of this scenario? The preparation.

The weeks leading up to the celebration are vital to having less stress during the actual holiday. Businesses in Murray spent the past weeks serving the community by providing unique gifts ideas at affordable prices during the Murray Holiday Open House.

Hazel offers all-day antique shopping adventure
In the early 20th Century the small community of Hazel, Ky. became a booming railroad town. As time rolled on and the railroad industry began to dwindle, so did Hazel, according to Then, in the early 1990’s, the town found a new industry to breathe the life back into it — antiques. Since then, the quaint little area has found its calling with fourteen antique specialty shops, unique restaurants and the Hazel Fine Art Gallery.

Main Street Merriment warms downtown this weekend
This Friday, December 3, Murray’s downtown square will be filled with warmth, laughter and Holiday cheer. Every year, Murray Main Street arranges this event which draws hundreds of people downtown. The event will kick-off at 5:15 p.m. with a bit of caroling and the lighting of the Community Christmas Tree in front of the Calloway County Courthouse. Carter and Jackson Kimbro will be the offical Christmas Tree lighters this year. Their parents, Justin and Angie Kimbro, had this to say, “We are delighted that our sons will be representing the entire community at the tree lighting ceremony. The excitement in their eyes and joy in their expressions, when told they get to be the official 2010 tree lighters, encompasses the true meaning and spirit of Christmas.”

Community Spotlight: Jeremy Bell
Murray City Councilman

Click Here to View the Fall 2010 Newsletter

Murray Awarded 2011-2012 Kentucky Senior Games
After a nearly year-long bid process, Murray has received the Kentucky Senior Games for 2011 and 2012.

The Kentucky Senior Games is supported and sanctioned by the National Senior Games Association, a member of the United States Olympic Committee. The National Senior Games, held every two years, is the largest multi-sport event in the world for seniors. Athletes must qualify at one of the state games in order to participate in the National Senior Games.

Regional Special Events Center to Host Diverse Fall Concert Line-up
The Regional Special Events Center as well as Lovett Auditorium, both on the Murray State University campus, have announced their fall concert line-ups. Joe Santiago of the RSEC and Lovett stresses that the RSEC will host a variety of events this year, including family shows, sporting events and a variety of concerts. He said that although there is a packed schedule for fall, other shows and events have already been booked for spring.

Ice Cream Festival Holds Fun for Kids, Families Downtown
As summer comes to a close, the Murray Ice Cream Festival will provide a weekend of fun activities and a cool treat in downtown Murray, Ky. September 10 and 11.

The weekend will begin at 6:00 Friday night with a new event, The Rotary Scooper Bowl. The Scooper Bowl is a homemade ice cream competition, with non-profit groups vying to see who has the best ice cream recipe. For $5, adults can purchase a spoon and sample all the frozen treats, then vote for their favorite. Children under age 10 may participate for $1.

Community Spotlight: Bill Wells
Murray City Councilman

Click Here to View the Summer 2010 Newsletter

Kevin Skinner, winner of “America’s Got Talent” to headline Freedom Fest concert
Thousands of people from all over our region gathered around their televisions on September 16, 2009. They waited anxiously to see who would win “America’s Got Talent,” and hope that their local favorite, Kevin Skinner, would be the one to take home the top prize. Their wish came true.

Skinner was named the top vote-getter and was awarded $1 million and a headlining show in Las Vegas, Nev. Now he is coming home to play for the fans who voted him to the top.

Kentucky Lake holds summer fun for visitors, locals
One of the best aspects of warm weather is the freedom to enjoy more of the outdoors. Murray is home to many exceptional outdoor attractions, one of which is Kentucky Lake. This man-made body of water offers an assortment of activities to enjoy nature at its best.

Freedom Fest preparations in full swing
Friday, July 2, brings the smell of BBQ to the downtown Court Square. Squealin’ on the Square, Freedom Fest’s annual KCBS-sanctioned grilling competition will bring some of the nation’s top competitors to Murray. Bacon in the Sun, an amateur grilling competition, is back for its second year. This competition gives cooking enthusiasts from all over the region the chance to prove that they are the best. Participants may enter any of the four categories: pork, poultry, ribs and dessert. Entries will be judged on appearance, tenderness and taste.

Community Spotlight: Deana Wright
Manager, Murray Main Street

Click Here to View the Spring 2010 Newsletter

Spring Citywide Yard Sale to be held May 1
Spring cleaning. For many, this term sends dread and dislike straight to the pit of the stomach. Just the thought of digging through the depths of closets, attics and basements can turn the most motivated cleaner into a serious procrastinator. Yet, what if cleaning out closets could lead to more money in the bank? If sorting through old items could help a community event become better?

Land Between the Lakes offers Unique Experience to Visitors
Only a short drive from Murray, Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area consists of 170,000 acres of wildlife, history and outdoor recreation, wrapped by 300 miles of undeveloped shoreline. It is one of the most unique places in Kentucky, and offers a great opportunity to both visitors and locals.

Freedom Fest brings grilling competition to the masses
April has arrived, which can mean only one thing to the Murray Convention and Visitors Bureau- Freedom Fest planning is underway! Staff are beginning to organize the many events that make up Freedom Fest including concerts, fireworks, family day, parade and street fair.

Community Spotlight: Chelsie Wright
Management Assistant, Enterprise Rent-a-Car

Click Here to View the Winter 2010 Newsletter

Murray Convention & Visitors Bureau unveils new image
The Murray Convention and Visitors Bureau is starting off 2010 with a bang. A re-branding campaign was launched at the beginning of the year, which will create a consistent look for the CVB and help to promote Murray in a new way.

Murray is home to local and national art influences
In each mind a definition of art lies. Murray is a community of many minds, and therefore many definitions. From its various galleries, clubs and individuals, Murray forms a unique world of art. Each paint stroke, woven thread and photo shoot blends a fresh take on our community.

Main Street Merriment spreads Holiday cheer
Although the night of December 4th, 2009 was cold, downtown Murray was full of warmth. Many local residents and families gathered together on the Court Square to kick off the Holiday season.

Community Spotlight: Lance Allison
Executive Director, Murray-Calloway County Chamber of Commerce

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