And we’re back. Did the Budget Inn have a nice breakfast spread? Didn’t think so. Okay, this is a big trip. Make up the guest room mom because we’re going to jump on KY-7 north and head to the top of the state and my home county, Campbell!
Located in the northern tip of the state, Campbell County became Kentucky’s 19th county when it was founded in December 1794. Campbell County’s namesake, John Campbell, was an explorer, soldier, statesman and one of the original drafters of Kentucky Constitution. In addition to multiple lakes around the county, the Licking and Ohio rivers provide plenty of options when looking to spend a day on the water. Campbell County is made up of many small cities. Places like Alexandria and California to the south, up through Silver Grove and Dayton to Bellevue and Newport in the north gives everyone the opportunity to live the country life, city life, or somewhere in between.
Of these cities, the one with the most decorated past has to be Newport, which was known in the early 1900’s by the familiar moniker, Sin City. When prohibition hit in 1920, Newport business owners had a choice of stopping alcohol sales and going out of business, or selling it illegally. They chose the latter, and with that came organized crime and a man named George Remus. Remus used a loophole in the Volstead Prohibition Acts to produce whiskey for ‘medicinal’ purposes. In doing so, he was able to open numerous backroom casinos and speakeasies. This netted him millions upon millions of dollars. Remus was known to throw lavish parties while giving out expensive gifts, including one time allegedly giving a new car to each of the 100 couples at his dinner party. Unfortunately, I was busy that night. It has been claimed by many that Remus was the inspiration for Jay Gatsby in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ‘The Great Gatsby.’
Now that we’ve hit the past, let’s talk about what you can do now. Campbell County’s unique setup gives you the opportunity to tickle whatever fancy you might have. Are you a little more country? Check out the truck pulls at the Alexandria Fair Grounds, or shoot some guns out at the Bob White Club. Have a little more city in you? Head to the Levee on the river in Newport and hit the aquarium, or grab a beer at the Hofbrahaus. No matter how you have fun, Campbell County won’t let you down.
Speaking of fun, let’s check out our three best events …. First on the list, you have to visit GoettaFest. Goetta (Get-ta) is a German-American breakfast sausage made of pork, oats and spices. In short, goetta is fantastic. I mean, it has it’s own fest. No gross food has its own fest. Goettafest is a four day festival on the Levee where you can sample hundreds of different goetta recipes. From goetta tacos, to goetta brownies, to even goetta sushi (it’s actually pretty good), you can sample everything that is this glorious breakfast food.
Our second event is easily my favorite. Every Labor Day, me and 600,000 of my closes friends meet down at the river for the greatest spectacle in fire and music, the WEBN Fireworks. For one amazing night a year, two barges from Rozzi’s Famous Fireworks send glorious freedom rockets into the air synced to the best in rock and roll. I’ve been to this and Thunder Over Louisville, and this one is WAY better. Why? Because it’s not in Louisville.
What’s the third thing to do when in Campbell County? High school football. With 8 high schools in the county, there’s always a game going on. Whether you’re watching the annual Bellevue/Dayton rivalry game down at Gilligan Stadium, or my fighting Camels battling those dirty Brossart Mustangs, Friday Night Lights is something our county does. Speaking of which, I can’t mention football in Campbell County without a few lines about those pesky Highlands Bluebirds. That’d be the 22 time KHSAA State Champion Bluebirds. While I’m a little salty as that’s just about 22 more state titles than my school, I can’t be too upset at the school that gave us Patrick Towles, Derek Smith and worldwide celebrity Jared Lorenzen.
So there you have it folks. I hope the tour of my county was worth the drive. If not, let’s swing by Dari Bar in Silver Grove and grab some ice cream. Then you’ll be good. Where should we head now? It’s coming up on the 4th, so let’s head to the lake. Pulaski County, you’re on deck.