May 16-20, 2017 was packed with events as 15 delegates and 2 assistants from Hokuto City, Japan, came to renew the ties between our two regions. This year we were honored to welcome Hokuto's newly elected mayor, the Hon. Eiko Watanabe.
During her stay, she brought greetings to the Judge Executive of Madison County and the mayors of both Berea and Richmond. On behalf of the sister-region relationship, the four leaders signed a special declaration affirming the 30 year old commitment to this partnership. She expressed her deep hope that these special ties can give hope, strength and peace to both communities for years to come.
Each city hosted the delegation. Here are some highlights of their time:
- A welcome dinner at Boone Tavern
- A wonderful day touring Richmond, meeting Judge Exec. Reagan Taylor, Mayor Jim Barnes, and having a tour of both Baptist Health and the Elmwood Estate. That night: special music and dance performances at EKU and the special signing ceremony hosted at Blanton House. Both Andy Barr and the Kentucky League of Cities were represented, and MCIC Vice President Kent Gilbert brought greetings from Kentucky Governor, Matt Bevin.
- A special day in Berea, including a tour of the city water and solar plants, a trip up to the top of the fire truck's extension ladder, and lunch hosted by Berea College. County extension agents Brandon and Amanda Sears hosted an agricultural tour of the county, followed by a chance to learn about funerals and End of Life care in the US at Davis and Powell funeral home. That night musicians gathered in Old Town to sing and the Japanese brought songs of their own to share!
- A tour day for some outlying attractions: Shakertown, Elmwood Tea (where a special tea was unveiled and presented to the all members), tour of bourbon distillery, and finally a great farewell party at Indian Fort Theatre, featuring the Kent Family Magic Circus.
We are so grateful to all of our sponsors, volunteers and vendors, for making it possible to host our friends and guests from across the Pacific. Please make sure to visit these folks and thank them for their community support:
- Baptist Health, Richmond
- Berea College (Library, Tours, Boone Tavern, President's office)
- Berea Urban Farm
- Berea Tourism
- C. Wesley Morgan
- Mayor Steve Connelly, City of Berea
- Mayor Jim Barnes, City of Richmond
- Cora Jane Wilson
- Community Trust Bank
- Eastern Kentucky University (Transportation services, Blanton House, Catering, President's office)
- Elmwood Tea, Danville, KY
- Kent Family Magic Circus
- Madison County Fiscal Court
- Richmond Area Arts Council
- Sonny's Barbeque
- Union Church, Berea
- And Many, Many others!