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Festival sees spike of interest after TV miniseries

Jun. 11, 2012 @ 11:38 PM

WILLIAMSON -- The Hatfield & McCoy hysteria continued over the weekend with a standing room only capacity at the annual Hatfield and McCoy Festival, which featured family activities, entertainment and more.

Natalie Young, executive director of the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce, said she was overwhelmed with the interest at this year's festival and marathon.

"My first year, we had about 400 in the marathon and I thought that was awesome, but this year we had more than 550 people," said Young, who works inside the historic Coal House on Second Avenue in Williamson. "We were literally standing room only around here."

Young said hundreds turned out to take tours of the feud sites and ask questions.

"I think people just love the southern hospitality," she said. "Everybody had a good time and there were smiles on all the faces."

Pike County, Ky., Tourism Director Tony Tackett said that the number of people visiting the eastern Kentucky county in recent weeks has tripled and the weekend festival was packed with people.

He said tourists came wanting to see the infamous sites of the feud that happened more than a century ago in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia.

"People come back and they want to know if their grandmother is a Hatfield are the kin to this Hatfield, or if their grandparents were McCoys, were they kinned to that McCoy," Tackett said.

Even though the festival has ended, Tackett said he expects the growing interest in the feud to continue. Young echoed the same sentiment, adding that the chamber conducted an emergency board meeting recently to discuss ways to capitalize on the boost in tourism.

"It's not going to die down anytime soon, not if we can help it," Young said.

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