By Ronica Shannon
Senior News Writer
Kentucky’s First Lady Jane Beshear arrived Thursday at the Kentucky Artisan Center with a shopping list. However, prior to her Christmas shopping, she announced that December was “Give A Gift From Kentucky Month.”
A formal ceremony was conducted at the center Thursday where Beshear was the guest of honor.
She was introduced by Marcheta Sparrow, secretary of Kentucky’s Tourism Arts and Heritage Cabinet.
“In addition to being the most popular rest stop along I-75, there are 650 Kentucky artisans represented here,” Sparrow said. “When travelers come into this place for the very first time, they expect this to be another place to stop along their journey. However, they soon find it’s much more. This place represents the soul of the Bluegrass State.”
Beshear was accompanied by Madeline Abramson, wife of Kentucky Lt. Governor, Jerry Abramson.
Both women were ready Thursday to Christmas shop, Beshear said.
“I told her to put her credit card in her purse,” she said.
The Kentucky Artisan Center is important to more people than just those artists represented at the center, Beshear said.
“It’s important to all the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” she said. “There is no better gift that you can give someone or receive than a gift from Kentucky. This is my fifth year to come and promote the center and Kentucky gifts. What we have here represented in this center is such unique gifts. Kentucky is unique. Kentucky is talented and proud of its culture.”
All state employees have been challenged to buy Christmas gifts in Kentucky, she said.
Beshear then read the proclamation written and sent by her husband, Gov. Steve Beshear.
“Kentucky craftsmanship produces the highest quality products ranging from homemade blackberry jam to beautiful works of art,” the proclamation read. “A locally made gift is unique because of its connection to the artist and the Commonwealth. The dedication and talents from artists in the Commonwealth produces some of the finest quality of food, music, arts and crafts.”
Prior to reading the proclamation from Gov. Steve Beshear, Jane Beshear told a story about a Kentucky visitor from North Carolina.
“There was an article we found about a gentleman from from North Carolina who was traveling and decided to stop at this particular exit,” she said. “He was involved in the arts and culture in North Carolina. He said this center, with all of the art represented, was so phenomenal that he spent the rest of his trip trying to figure out how to get North Carolina to catch up with Kentucky. I’ve got news for him: He’ll never catch up with Kentucky. North Carolina is an OK place, but they certainly don’t have the talent, nor do they have the promotions that we do here in Kentucky and I’m delighted to be a part of this.”
Visit www.kentuckytourism.com to learn more about “Give A Gift From Kentucky Month” and what types of items are available at the Kentucky Artisans Center and around the state.
Ronica Shannon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 624-6608.