Feature

Getting the flavor of... Paducah’s changing palette

The once dilapidated town of Paducah, on the border of western Kentucky and Illinois, has been transformed by an Artists Relocation Program.

Paducah’s changing palettePaducah, Ky., has painted a “new portrait of itself,” said Josh Noel in the Chicago Tribune. Once a picture of dilapidation, this town of 26,000 could now be called charming, even “sophisticated.” A decade ago, Paducah, a “friendly and gentle place” on the border of western Kentucky and Illinois, launched an Artists Relocation Program. The city invited artists of all kinds to come and live for cheap—or free. More than 70 artisans hailing from Hawaii, Maryland, and points in between set up studios in the transformed downtown. In the city’s oldest residential neighborhood, Lowertown, tree-lined streets are dotted with about 15 galleries, housed in restored late-19th-century brick homes. Schedule a visit for the second Saturday of any month, when all the galleries are open from noon to 8 p.m., or come in late May for the Lowertown Arts and Music Festival. Contact: Paducah.travel

Circus life in SarasotaEvery day seems like a circus in Sarasota, Fla., said Mitch Stacy in the Associated Press. Back in 1927, the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus relocated its winter headquarters from Bridgeport, Conn., to the “lovely Gulf Coast city.” Thus Sarasota became “forever linked” with life under the big top, and the circus “became one of Florida’s first tourist attractions.” Today, the city offers a Circus Heritage Trail, a self-guided tour of the region’s circus history. Starting in downtown Sarasota, visitors may feel they’ve stepped onto the set of Cecil B. DeMille’s The Greatest Show on Earth, in which the town was prominently featured. The “marquee stops” on the trail are John Ringling’s “meticulously restored” Mediterranean Revival home and the Museum of the American Circus, which includes such memorabilia as Emmett Kelly’s famous “hobo” clown costume. Contact: Sarasotacircushistory.org

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