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Fun and Serious at the KY State Fair

PHOTO: When folks head for the Kentucky State Fair, Aug. 14-24 in Louisville, they'll find everything from the traditional fun activities to exhibition booths with information on topics as serious as abolishing Kentucky's death penalty. Photo credit: Greg Stotelmyer
PHOTO: When folks head for the Kentucky State Fair, Aug. 14-24 in Louisville, they'll find everything from the traditional fun activities to exhibition booths with information on topics as serious as abolishing Kentucky's death penalty. Photo credit: Greg Stotelmyer
August 13, 2014

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - With farm animals, blue ribbons, cotton candy and carnival rides, the Kentucky State Fair starts Thursday in Louisville. In the exhibition halls, amid the colorful booths and free samples, there are also exhibits to get people thinking about serious issues.

Organizations opposed to the death penalty have a booth at this year's fair. Shekinah Lavalle, outreach coordinator for the Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, said their purpose is to get people thinking about their stance on capital punishment.

"Our purpose there isn't necessarily to convert the people that are walking through," she said. "We're not one of the booths that's going to be yelling at you as you walk by. But we will try to draw attention to ourselves, so that maybe you'll come over and get interested in talking with us."

Kentucky is one of 32 states where execution is still legal.

A different organization will staff Booth 341 each day of the fair's eleven-day run, Lavalle said.

"Several religious organizations," she said. "We have murder victims' family members who are opposed to the death penalty. The ACLU is joining us. We also have a day for an organization called Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty."

Those organizations all want Kentucky to make life without parole the maximum sentence. Lavalle said the groups believe the death penalty is costly and arbitrary.

"Legislators are being very thoughtful about this issue," she said. "As we continue to have conversations, we're finding that people are really thinking about what we have to say, especially when we're bring in people who have been exonerated from death row."

The booth will be in the South Wing of the fairgrounds.

More information about the state fair is online at kystatefair.org.

Greg Stotelmyer , Public News Service - KY