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LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56) – The 30-minute summer “Spirit of the Bluegrass” special highlights Kentuckians with a unique outlook on life and the ability to make people smile.
Featured Spirt of the Bluegrass segments:
- Punkyville: Charles “Punky” Beckett of Falmouth is a collector of antiques, but he didn’t want his things to be stored in non-descript sheds. So, he made his row of storage buildings look like a small town, with fronts that resemble a general store, a hotel, a bank, etc. It resembles a movie set. Now, people come from all over to visit “Punkyville.”
- The Apple Pie Lady: Mary Lou Rankin of Millersburg made some fried apple pies for a fire department fundraiser several years ago and they were such a hit, she ended up making them by the dozens in the small kitchen in her home and selling them. Tourists often stopped by the busload to get one of her pies. Now in her 90s, Mary Lou no longer sells pies, but is delighted that people still remember her and her famous recipe.
- UK’s Dancing Guy: Tayvis Akpan became famous around Lexington for dancing everywhere he went, whether it was around the University of Kentucky campus or downtown. Now he’s living back in his hometown of Owensboro, Ky. and he dances there. He’s so well-known, he was asked to lead that city’s Christmas parade in 2021.
- Frequent Caller: John Short of Lexington has been calling in to sports radio shows for more than 30 years. Every regular listener knows his voice and of his undying loyalty to the UK Wildcats. He makes predictions for every game and never bets against UK. John has lost 90 percent of his vision and says that why he loves listening to the radio so much. It’s so descriptive and helps him feel more involved in the games than watching on TV would.
- Hillbilly Garden: Keith Holt is a packrat. He doesn’t throw anything away. But that got him in trouble with the sheriff in Marshall County, until he found a way to turn his junkpile into a tourist attraction. He says, “I went from being a public nuisance to a folk artist.” Now people stop by his “Apple Valley Hillbilly Garden and Toyland” to walk on trails past things such as “The Valley of Lost Soles,” which is a pile of old shoes, and “Thronehenge,” a circle of toilets. He’s never met a pun he doesn’t like.
- Crazy Car: Bill Grider of Somerset always liked hood ornaments, so a few years ago, he glued a plastic bird to the hood of his Toyota Tercel. That started him on a path of attaching plastic toys and knick-knacks to the hood, the trunk and the top. Now his car is covered with trinkets, and he loves the attention he gets when he drives this decorated car around town. “I do it for the kids,” he said.
- Lawn Mower Brigade: Wilmore’s small-town July 4th parade has a big attraction each year. A group of guys take to the streets with push mowers, moving in drill team-like precision. It’s a unique crowd-pleaser.
MORE SPIRIT OF THE BLUEGRASS:
- Kentucky mail carrier delivers joy by sharing photos from his rural route
- Kentucky’s newest zoo is on historic land
- Rockcastle County cave is seldom open to visitors
- Louisville artist makes portraits the old-fashioned way
- Unique instrument gives a nice ring to Berea College campus
- Lexington lamp shop has been plugged in to customers’ needs since 1956
- See all Spirit of the Bluegrass stories here