MARTIN – The City of Martin is one of those little cities that have been hit hard by change. What was once a bustling town filled with stores and restaurants is now home to a post office, American Legion and Saint Joseph Hospital. Floods of the past and the declining economy have driven businesses out of the town. The city in the past year has had a change in government, and with this change, a breath of fresh air and hope has emerged. The City of Martin and the Martin Tourism Commission have made it their mission to make the City of Martin, a community the residents are proud of. As part of this new mission, the City of Martin is working on creating events free of charge, where citizens can come out and enjoy being a part of the community. One event that recently started is the Martin Cruise-In and Downtown Pickin’, which was held over the weekend.
“Our goal is to put on activities that interest our citizens that are free of charge,” said Sharon Caudill, of Martin Tourism. “We want everyone to be able to enjoy and take part in the events we organize,”
The Martin Cruise-In and Downtown Pickin’ takes place on the first Saturday of every month. Individuals who want to put their car on display can do so free of charge. During this event, the streets of Martin are lined with Mustangs, Corvettes, Nova SS, Challengers, Chargers, Camaros, Trans Am, Firebirds and many other make and models of muscle cars.
“I work hard during the week to provide for my family and working on this old car is a hobby and a passion,” said Russell Thacker, of Prestonsburg. “There’s nothing I like better than ordering a new part for this car and sitting out in the garage late at night installing it. Showing this car is something I enjoy.”
In addition to the Cruise-In, the city tries to host an event such as Saturday’s Bluegrass Championship Wrestling (BCW), who was also presented free of charge. Residents young and old gathered to cheer on the wrestlers as they threw each other around the ring.
Downtown Pickin’ is also a crowd favorite. Open mic begins at 4:30 and anyone willing to get on stage is welcome. Saturday’s singers included Courtland Mitchell, a 16-year-old Floyd County native who came home to visit relatives and sing at Downtown Pickin’. Terry Slone, of Eastern, also sang during Downtown Pickin’.
“I’ve been singing as long as I can remember,” said Slone. “I guess I can think back to when I was 15 years old I learned to play the guitar, banjo, and mandolin. Singing is just something I love to do. If I can entertain someone by singing a song, it thrills me to know they enjoy my music.”
In addition to the open mic, Downtown Pickin’ always features a headline act. Last Saturday’s headliner was Tim Bentley. Bentley, a retired coal miner, has also sung his entire life. Bentley gained recognition when a video he posted on Facebook of him singing along to an app went viral.
The City of Martin and the Martin Tourism Commission co-host their highly-popular free event the first Saturday of each month.
Andrea Saddler is a reporter for The Floyd County Times. She can be reached at (606) 886-8506.