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Falling for Corbin

The Corbin Center

Conveniently located off exit 25 on Interstate 75, the Corbin Center is Corbin’s 20,000-square-foot convention venue with flexible and affordable meeting and convention space. From 2023 through the first quarter of 2024, it will be undergoing a renovation and expansion that will bring the total square footage to 32,000 and bring the addition of a 112-room adjacent hotel connected by a covered walkway.

Meeting Spaces: The center’s multipurpose room is its most spacious room, with space to comfortably accommodate up to 360 attendees. The room can include a stage for presentations and can be divided into two, three or four sections to accommodate breakout sessions or smaller meetings.

The spacious lobby features high, arched ceilings and natural light, making it an excellent setting for pre-function and registration space. Off the lobby, the Glass Room is extremely popular for small or medium-sized meetings for up to 83 attendees and features walls of windows on two sides.

The boardroom has a capacity of 44 and contains a kitchenette. Four additional classrooms are available, one of which has a sink with running water. These classrooms can hold between 36 and 56 attendees each.

Dining: The Corbin Center comes equipped with a full kitchen and can provide a list of preferred local caterers for any type of event. The center also offers beverage service.

Audiovisual Services: The facility offers free WiFi to all guests, and the stage, podium and audiovisual amenities are available as add-ons.

Nearby Accommodations: The upcoming 112-room hotel will be constructed adjacent to the Corbin Center and connected via a covered walkway. Other nearby accommodations include the Holiday Inn Express Corbin and Best Western Corbin Inn, with 64 and 61 guest rooms respectively.

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The Corbin Arena

Just up the mountain from the Corbin Center, the Corbin Arena is a multipurpose venue that’s one of the largest in Eastern Kentucky. With 100,000 square feet of space, this impressive and modern venue built into the mountain has nearly 7,000 seats in total and plenty of free parking. It’s one of the largest venues in the region and hosts events like concerts, sporting events and regional events, such as the 2023 Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) Summit.

Meeting Spaces | The arena floor is 31,250 square feet, while the arena’s concourse offers nearly 20,000 square feet perfect for trade shows and exhibits. The arena is equipped with 7,000 total seats, an 1,800-square-foot meeting room and a spacious lobby with a ticket booth for registration or pre-function space. The venue also comes with storage, dressing rooms for performers and direct entry from the arena floor to one of the spacious parking lots.

Dining | The Corbin Arena provides flexibility to planners regarding catering and can recommend local businesses to cater events of any size.

Audiovisual services | In addition to the professional sound and lighting systems, the arena has a full curtain system that can divide the facility into two sections to offer full and half-house shows.

Nearby Accommodations | The 64-room Holiday Inn Express Corbin and the 61-room Best Western Corbin Inn are each less than a mile away from the Corbin Arena. The upcoming 112-room hotel being built adjacent to the Corbin Center will also provide accommodations.

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There’s more to Corbin, Kentucky, than meets the eye.

Its seasonally decorated downtown is flanked by the same train tracks that have been used to carry coal out of the Appalachian Mountains since the city was incorporated in 1895. Corbin, a town of about 7,000 in the foothills of the mountains, grew with the railroad and became known as an outdoor adventure destination buoyed by the surrounding beauty of Cumberland Falls, Laurel Lake and the Daniel Boone National Forest.

It’s also a capable and flexible meeting destination with some of eastern Kentucky’s most spacious and well-equipped venues. Corbin’s convenient location off Interstate 75 between Lexington, Kentucky, and Knoxville, Tennessee, makes it a logical choice for events in the Southeast, while its affordability and signature charms ensure planners can pull off an event like no other.

Signature Corbin

Cumberland Falls is one of Corbin’s — and Kentucky’s — greatest claims to fame, earning the nickname “The Niagara of the South.” The falls create a regular moonbow, or lunar rainbow, when light from a full moon is refracted in the mist from the falls to produce an optical illusion similar to a rainbow. This sight draws plenty of spectators and occurs on full moons and in the two-day period leading up to and following the full moon.

Even during the daytime, people take in the  falls’ beauty and power, with 3,600 cubic feet spilling over the edge each second. The cascade measures 68 feet tall and 125 feet wide, making it the second largest waterfall in the eastern United States.

Cumberland Falls State Resort Park has 17 miles of hiking trails and several lookouts suitable for guests of all ages. Attendees at Corbin meetings must make the short trip to the park to see the falls and hike a trail. If they’re visiting the area around a full moon, a nighttime excursion to see the moonbow is a must.

Corbin is home to another American cultural treasure, the Sanders Cafe and Museum, which is known locally as the Original KFC. The historic restaurant is the birthplace of Colonel Harland Sanders’ signature fried chicken recipe, which launched the popular fast-food chain.

The cafe and museum were renovated in 2019, and an addition was built to house even more KFC exhibits and memorabilia. Exhibits cover the chain’s journey from a gas station with a hotel and restaurant to an international billion-dollar chain, as well as Colonel Sanders’ life and likenesses over the years. Artifacts include Colonel Sanders memorabilia, such as his famous white suit.

“What it comes down to is it’s a pop culture icon,” said Maggy Monhollen, executive director of the Corbin Tourism and Convention Commission. “The Colonel is as American as apple pie.”

When meeting in Corbin, attendees will enjoy a group outing to the museum to enjoy fried chicken and the story of how the restaurant chain came to be.

The Colonel is everywhere in Corbin. Sanders Park, a small brick square on Main Street, tells the KFC founder’s story and contains a life-sized bronze statue of Sanders. The park is flanked by a secret recipe herb garden containing some of the 11 herbs and spices used in the signature chicken recipe, as well as an alley with a mural of the chicken tycoon.

Major Meeting Spaces

The Corbin Center offers nearly 20,000 square feet of meeting and event space just off Interstate 75. The halls inside are decorated with works from Appalachian artists and photographers. The center’s largest room is the Multipurpose Room, which has a capacity of 360 guests and can be divided into quarters. The Glass Room, just off the lobby, features plenty of windows and can accommodate up to 83 attendees.

“Groups love this space because of the windows and natural light,” said Whitney Powell, managing assistant at The Corbin Center.

The facility also has a boardroom and four additional meeting rooms, one of which has a sink, as well as a catering kitchen and a lobby that offers pre-function space.

During the last quarter of 2023 and the first quarter of 2024, the Corbin Center will be undergoing a renovation and expansion that will bring the facility to approximately 32,000 square feet, as well as providing upgrades to the interior and exterior of the building. During the first quarter of 2024, a 112-room hotel will also begin construction adjacent to the center and will be attached via a covered walkway.

The Corbin Arena is just up the hill from the Corbin Center. At 100,000 square feet, this multipurpose facility has hosted large events, from a Snoop Dogg concert to the 2023 Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) Summit. With nearly 7,000 seats and plentiful parking, it’s one of the largest venues in the region. The arena has a full curtain system, which can divide the space into smaller configurations for smaller expos, trade shows or events.

Two hotels close by The Corbin Center offer overnight accommodations for attendees. These include the Holiday Inn Express, with 64 newly renovated guest rooms, and the Best Western Corbin Inn, which has 61 guest rooms.

A newer event venue in downtown Corbin offers a charming, rustic setting for banquets and receptions. The Pennington has two spaces, a downstairs studio with a capacity of 75 for banquets, and a loft with exposed brick and wooden beams that can accommodate up to 150 banquet-style.

Culinary Delights

Fried chicken isn’t the only cuisine found in Corbin. In addition to Sanders Cafe and Museum, the city has an array of restaurants catering to different palettes and different meetings. From hosting a meeting over a meal to catering at an event venue or even providing a lively location for an off-site gathering, these Corbin eateries are sure to impress.

Seasons, a restaurant in downtown Corbin, is perhaps one of the most exotic meeting venues one will find in the city. Its menu features upscale fare ranging from prime rib to bourbon-glazed salmon, but perhaps its biggest claim to fame is the opulent décor that creates an unforgettable backdrop for an event. The restaurant’s main dining room is decorated seasonally, but there’s also a year-round Christmas-themed room. Another room features an eclectic assortment of themed alcoves ranging from “Alice in Wonderland” to African safari, complete with life-sized safari animals. Two ornate private dining rooms are great for smaller meetings.

The Wrigley Taproom and Eatery, another downtown Corbin restaurant, serves a rotating menu of farm-to-table Appalachian dishes using fresh, seasonal ingredients. Popular menu items range from hearty burgers to salads and bowls using in-season, local produce. Also on the menu are distinct craft cocktails, a rotating selection of craft beers and more than 60 bourbons. The elevated fare in the relaxed setting makes for an excellent off-site or social event for attendees.

Austin City Saloon, just down the street from the Wrigley Taproom and Seasons, is a western-themed eatery with live music on a weekly basis and a rooftop dining area. Favorite items among customers include classics like barbecue pulled pork sliders and chicken wings but also more unique signature dishes, such as the elk burger and the Texas cheesesteak sandwich.

Bubby’s BBQ is a local staple that’s well known for its buffet and for catering local events, but the restaurant itself has plenty of space for a group meal. It’s renowned for its country cooking, serving dishes like fried catfish, fried green tomatoes, barbecue ribs, slow smoked pulled pork and fried chicken.

Off-Site Opportunities

In addition to its restaurants, Corbin’s downtown has several off-site venues. At Campbell’s Ceramics, attendees can get artsy by painting their own pottery. This can be used for team building or networking, as well as providing them their own souvenirs. For an unconventional happy hour, Tomahawks offers axe throwing and cornhole for groups in addition to its bar. The facility can also be rented out for private events.

The Pinball Museum of Corbin on Main Street unlocks each attendee’s inner child with its rows and rows of vintage and custom pinball machines and other arcade games such as Pac-Man, air hockey and ice ball. They can play games and win prizes at the museum for a memorable after-hours activity or team-building excursion. The facility can host private events and even arrange catering.

If attendees are interested in an outdoorsy off-site event, Sheltowee Trace Adventure Resort is the place to go. They’re an outfitter for whitewater rafting, kayaking and canoeing. Attendees can also zipline, rent bikes or e-bikes, and take guided hikes in the area. Another popular activity at Sheltowee Trace is a riverboat cruise onboard the Cumberland Star. The 65-foot, double decker riverboat can be chartered from May to October for breakfast, lunch, dinner or sightseeing cruises. Hot and cold menu options are offered.

“This is where people come to get away from everything,” said Dania Egedi, owner of Sheltowee Trace and captain of the Cumberland Star. Egedi narrates these cruises as they drift along the river, pointing out wildlife, interesting landmarks and facts about the local ecosystem.

“There’s a bit more of a connection when you learn about what you’re seeing,” Egedi said.

The newest addition to the off-site venues in Corbin is the Mint Gaming Hall and Cumberland Run Racetrack, a harness racing track, bar and gaming destination. Attendees can watch the races, cast their bets and enjoy a cocktail at this brand-new facility.

For more information on planning a meeting in Corbin, please contact:

Corbin Tourism and Convention Commission

Maggy Monhollen