The Spotlight Playhouse is set to captivate audiences with Pat Cook’s comedy chiller “Dead Giveaway,” the last adult show of the season before wrapping up with two Spotlight Acting School productions, “Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical JR.” and “Press Start.” This engaging play, filled with suspense and laughter, promises to keep the audience on the edge of their seats until the final curtain. With an all-star cast of seasoned Spotlight veterans, the same talented author and director behind the highly successful “You Can’t Beat the House,” and a plot filled with twists and turns, “Dead Giveaway” is a must-see show for theater enthusiasts and casual patrons alike.

Directed by Chad Hembree, “Dead Giveaway” tells the story of Angie Bowles, an undercover policewoman posing as a domestic engineer. Hired by Dr. Hugh Bernard, she is tasked with investigating the strange lives and hidden secrets of five eccentric spinsters living under one roof. Each woman harbors her own peculiar personality, from a former actress reenacting death scenes to a senior citizen Hell’s Angel. As the plot unravels, the audience is left guessing what dark secrets these women are hiding and what keeps them together.

Pat Cook, the acclaimed playwright behind “Dead Giveaway,” is known for creating engaging stories filled with humor and suspense. His previous hit, “You Can’t Beat the House,” also directed by Chad Hembree, was a roaring success at The Spotlight Playhouse. Given the collaboration between Cook and Hembree on this production, audience members can expect another unforgettable experience.

The talented cast of “Dead Giveaway” includes Letha Hembree, Angel King, Trudy Tait, Paula Davis, Brad Powell, Alyssa Bustle, and newcomer Kristi Miller. These actors bring their unique flair and energy to their roles, creating a vibrant and dynamic atmosphere that will captivate theatergoers.

“Don’t miss the opportunity to see our last adult show of the season,” says Chad Hembree, Director of The Spotlight Playhouse. “The cast, combined with Pat Cook’s masterful storytelling and our dedication to bringing high-quality productions to the stage, makes ‘Dead Giveaway’ a perfect night out for friends, family, and dates alike.”

“Dead Giveaway” will run at The Spotlight Playhouse, located at 214 Richmond Road, Berea, KY, with performances scheduled for May 12, 13, 19, and 20 at 8 pm, and on May 21 at 2 pm, 2023. Tickets are priced at $13 for adults, $11 for seniors, and $9 for students. The theater is also offering “Pay What You Can” performances on Fridays, ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy this thrilling production.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the box office online at or call 859-756-0011. Don’t miss your chance to experience the mystery, intrigue, and laughter of “Dead Giveaway” – a fitting finale to The Spotlight Playhouse’s adult show lineup this season.

Pictured – 2019 Production of Junie B. Jones the Musical JR. Left to Right – Robyn Nutter, Emily Barney, Addie Adams.

Participating in a theater production is not only entertaining and enjoyable but can also offer immense educational value for children. This summer, “Junie B. Jones The Musical JR” at Spotlight Acting School presents a unique opportunity for kids aged 4-11 to develop essential life skills while having a great time on stage.

  1. Building Confidence and Self-Esteem Being part of a theater production like “Junie B. Jones The Musical JR” provides children with the chance to express themselves creatively and step out of their comfort zones. This experience can significantly boost their self-esteem and confidence, as they learn to tackle challenges head-on and work towards a common goal with their peers.
  2. Developing Communication and Social Skills Acting in a musical requires strong communication skills, both verbal and non-verbal. Children will learn to convey emotions, ideas, and stories effectively through their words, facial expressions, and body language. Additionally, collaborating with fellow actors, directors, and stage crew helps children develop valuable social skills and fosters a sense of camaraderie.
  3. Enhancing Reading and Language Skills “Junie B. Jones The Musical JR” is based on a beloved series of books, making it an excellent opportunity for young actors to improve their reading and language skills. As they engage with the script and bring the story to life, children will expand their vocabulary, develop a better understanding of sentence structure, and improve their overall comprehension abilities.
  4. Encouraging Creative Problem Solving Theater productions often require actors to think on their feet and adapt to unexpected situations. By participating in “Junie B. Jones The Musical JR,” children will learn to approach challenges with creativity and innovation, developing essential problem-solving skills that will benefit them in various aspects of life.
  5. Fostering Empathy and Emotional Intelligence Acting allows children to step into the shoes of different characters and experience their emotions, struggles, and triumphs. This process can foster empathy and emotional intelligence, as young actors learn to understand and appreciate diverse perspectives.
  6. Cultivating Discipline and Time Management Being part of a theater production demands commitment, punctuality, and focus. Children participating in “Junie B. Jones The Musical JR” will learn to balance their schoolwork, rehearsals, and personal life, cultivating essential time management and discipline skills.

By joining “Junie B. Jones The Musical JR” at Spotlight Acting School, children can unlock a wide range of educational benefits while enjoying a fulfilling theatrical experience. With the school’s commitment to inclusivity and affordable tuition, every child has the chance to experience the magic of theater and grow both as a performer and an individual. Don’t miss this exceptional opportunity – sign your child up for auditions today!

Event: “Junie B. Jones The Musical JR.” auditions
Date: May 6, 2023
Time: 9:00 am
Location: The Spotlight Playhouse, 214 Richmond Rd., Berea, KY
Age range: 4-11 years old (age waivers may be granted for older students)

The Native Bagel Co. has become a Berea favorite.

Looking for a perfect day trip destination that has a little something for everyone? Look no further than Berea, Kentucky! From stunning natural beauty to a thriving arts scene and delicious food options, Berea has it all.

Start your day off right with breakfast at Native Bagel Company. This cozy little spot offers a variety of freshly baked bagels and cream cheese spreads, as well as coffee and other breakfast items. Grab a bagel and a cup of coffee to-go, and head out to your next stop – the Pinnacles.

The Pinnacles are a series of stunning rock formations that rise up from the surrounding forest. This natural attraction is located in the Berea College Forest and offers a variety of hiking trails for visitors to explore. The Indian Fort Lookout Trail is the most popular trail and takes hikers to a lookout point that offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Pack a lunch to enjoy at the top of the mountain with spectacular views!

The Indian Fort Mountain Trail is a light trail accessible for most skill levels.

After your hike, head back into town for some shopping and browsing artist studios. Berea is known for its thriving arts scene, with many local artisans and craftspeople selling their wares in shops and galleries around town. The Kentucky Artisan Center is a popular destination for tourists looking to experience the best of Kentucky’s arts and crafts.

When it’s time for dinner, you can’t go wrong with Apollo Pizza or Papalenos. Both restaurants offer a variety of delicious Italian-inspired dishes, including pizza, pasta, salads, and sandwiches.

Finally, finish your day with some entertainment at the Spotlight Playhouse. This local theater offers a variety of productions throughout the year, ranging from children’s theater to adult productions. Take in a show and enjoy the arts scene that makes Berea so special.

In conclusion, a day trip to Berea offers a perfect mix of natural beauty, arts and crafts, and delicious food options. Whether you’re looking to hike the Pinnacles, shop for handmade crafts, or enjoy a night at the theater, Berea has something for everyone.

Live performances are at the Spotlight Playhouse almost every weekend.

Berea, KY – Get ready for an exciting event as the Break-A-Leg 5K Run & Walk takes place on Sunday, May 7, 2023, at Berea City Park. The event begins at 8:30 am, with packet pickup starting at 7:00 am.

This fun-filled race will lead participants through a scenic route in the picturesque Berea Community Park and along the paved Berea City Trail. The event aims to promote a healthy lifestyle, community engagement, and support for the performing arts.

Participants can choose from a 5K run/walk, a 1-mile walk, or a virtual option to join in the excitement. In addition to the race, the event features a costume contest, where participants are encouraged to dress up as their favorite actor or actress, with fantastic prizes up for grabs.

Race registrants will receive a commemorative race T-shirt (while supplies last) and have access to free race photos. Awards will be presented to the top finishers, and there will be a special prize for the largest social team.

The Break-A-Leg 5K Run & Walk promises a day filled with music, food, fun, and fellowship, bringing together the community in support of the performing arts. All ages and skill levels are welcome, making it an inclusive event for families, friends, and neighbors.

To register for the Break-A-Leg 5K Run & Walk, please visit For more information on the opportunities provided by Spotlight Acting School, please visit their website or social media channels.

About Spotlight Acting School:

Spotlight Acting School is a renowned institution dedicated to cultivating talent and fostering a love for the performing arts in the community. With a focus on providing a supportive and enriching environment, the school offers a variety of opportunities, helping students develop their skills and confidence on stage.


Media Contact:

Chad Hembree Executive Director
Spotlight Acting School
Phone: 859-661-0600

Lee Estes as Romeo and Alina Fanshier as Juliet

BEREA, KY – The Spotlight Acting School is proud to present their rendition of William Shakespeare’s classic tragedy, Romeo and Juliet. This highly anticipated production features students aged 14-18, along with guest performers, showcasing their incredible acting talent.

Audiences are invited to attend performances on Friday, May 5 at 7:00 pm, Saturday, May 6 at 7:00 pm, and Sunday, May 7 at 2:00 pm at the Spotlight Playhouse in Berea, KY. In an effort to make the performing arts accessible to everyone, the Friday night performance offers a “Pay What You Can” option, encouraging patrons to contribute any amount for their ticket, whether it be spare change or a generous donation.

This timeless tale of star-crossed lovers, set in the city of Verona, Italy, resonates with audiences across generations. The Spotlight Acting School’s production promises to deliver a captivating performance that showcases the passion, talent, and dedication of its young actors.

Don’t miss this opportunity to witness an unforgettable performance of Romeo and Juliet. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the Spotlight Playhouse website at or contact the box office.

The Bluegrass Players Community Acting Troupe is proud to present OZ! A Dazzling Musical, directed by Chad Hembree. This enchanting adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s classic story will be performed at the Spotlight Playhouse in Berea, KY, as part of their Sunday Musical Series.

Audiences can join Dorothy, Toto, and their lovable companions on an unforgettable adventure through the magical Land of Oz. With a captivating book by Tim Kelly and enchanting music and lyrics by Bill Francoeur, this delightful production promises to be a treat for the whole family.

Performances are scheduled for April 14, 15, 21, and 22 at 8:00 pm, April 16 at 2:00 pm, and April 23 at 4:30 pm. Tickets are available online or at the door.

Don’t miss this opportunity to experience the magic of Oz like never before!

As summer approaches, parents are often on the lookout for exciting and educational activities for their kids. This year, Spotlight Acting School’s production of “Junie B. Jones The Musical JR” offers a fantastic opportunity for children aged 4-11 to learn valuable life skills while having a blast on stage.

Celebrating its 20th season, Spotlight Acting School has helped hundreds of young actors hone their craft, build self-confidence, and make lasting friendships. Under the guidance of Executive Director Chad Hembree, the school has developed a reputation for being a nurturing and welcoming environment where every child is treated like a star.

One of the key factors that set Spotlight Acting School apart is its commitment to affordable tuition. With a standard base tuition starting at just $85 per month, the school aims to make theater education accessible to all families. Recognizing that not everyone may find this amount affordable, Spotlight also offers financial assistance to those in need, ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to participate and shine.

In line with this inclusive ethos, the school guarantees that every child who auditions for “Junie B. Jones The Musical JR” will be cast in the show. This approach not only helps to build each student’s self-esteem but also fosters a strong sense of camaraderie and teamwork among the young actors.

Joining Spotlight Acting School also means becoming part of a vibrant and supportive community. The “Spotlight family” is known for its warm and welcoming atmosphere, where lifelong friendships are often formed. This nurturing environment encourages personal growth, collaboration, and creativity.

The school is also committed to involving parents and community members in their productions. Volunteers are always welcome to lend a hand, whether it’s helping with costumes, sets, or promotions. This collaborative spirit brings the community together, making the theater experience even more rewarding for everyone involved.

In conclusion, “Junie B. Jones The Musical JR” offers an incredible opportunity for kids to join Spotlight Acting School this summer. Not only will they have the chance to showcase their talents on stage, but they will also learn essential life skills, make new friends, and become part of a caring and supportive community. Don’t let your child miss out on this fantastic experience – sign them up for auditions on May 6th at 9:00 am and let their journey with Spotlight Acting School begin.

Event: “Junie B. Jones The Musical JR.” auditions
Date: May 6, 2023
Time: 9:00 am
Location: The Spotlight Playhouse, 214 Richmond Rd., Berea, KY
Age range: 4-11 years old (age waivers may be granted for older students)

The Bluegrass Players Community Acting Troupe is excited to present OZ! A Dazzling Musical, directed by Chad Hembree, at the Spotlight Playhouse in Berea, KY. In keeping with their mission to make performing arts accessible to all, the theater is offering “Pay What You Can” performances for each Friday show, allowing patrons to set their own ticket price and enjoy a magical night at the theater.

Based on L. Frank Baum’s classic story, OZ! A Dazzling Musical takes audiences on a captivating journey through the Land of Oz. Featuring a book by Tim Kelly and music and lyrics by Bill Francoeur, this delightful production promises to be a treat for the whole family.

“Pay What You Can” performances are scheduled for April 14 and 21 at 8:00 pm. Whether using spare change or contributing a few extra dollars, theatergoers can experience the enchanting world of Oz while supporting the Spotlight Playhouse’s mission.

Additional performances are on April 15, 22 at 8:00 pm, April 16 at 2:00 pm, and April 23 at 4:30 pm. Tickets for these shows are available at

Don’t miss this opportunity to share the magic of Oz with friends and family, regardless of your budget!

If you’re one of the many people who hate going to the gym, don’t worry – you’re not alone. In fact, according to a study by Statista, only about 23 percent of Americans say they enjoy going to the gym.

So what can you do if you want to get in shape but don’t like working out at the gym? There are plenty of exercises that you can do at home without ever having to set foot in a weight room.

Here are some of the best exercises for people who hate the gym.

1. Jumping Jacks: A classic, jumping jacks can be done just about anywhere and they’re great for your heart and lungs.

Start with your feet together and hands at your side, then jump as you spread your legs apart and raise your arms to the sky. Bring them back down as you jump with your feet together once more.

2. Burpees: To do a burpee, start by standing up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and drop down into a squat position while reaching your hands to the floor. Jump back up to where you were originally standing and jump in the air while raising your hands over your head.

3. Mountain Climbers: This one is a bit more difficult because it’s hard to do without equipment.

To do a mountain climber, start in a push-up position and bring one knee toward your chest as you raise the opposite arm. Then alternate sides as quickly as possible. Keep going until you can’t go anymore.

4. Planks: A good core workout, planks can give you a nice six-pack when done regularly.

Lie down on the floor face down and prop yourself up with your elbows under your shoulders. Lift your entire body off of the ground so that all you’re resting on are your toes and elbows. Hold for 30 seconds or as long as possible to increase strength.

5. Push-Ups: Push-ups are great because you can do them just about anywhere to strengthen your chest, shoulders, and triceps.

Position yourself facedown on the floor with your hands shoulder-width apart. Have your legs out straight behind you with feet together or spread out a bit for stabilization purposes. Bend your elbows and lower yourself to the ground before pushing back up.

6. Jump Rope: Though jumping rope can be difficult for some, it’s a great way to get in shape if you don’t like going to the gym.

Stand with feet hip-width apart and knees slightly bent, then keep your center of gravity low as you push off the balls of your feet and jump. Maintain a soft knee throughout the movement.

7. Triceps Dips: These can be done on a chair, couch or bed to work out that pesky tricep muscle.

Position your hands shoulder-width apart on the edge of whatever surface you’re using so that your butt is hanging off the side of it. Make sure you have something behind you for support if needed. Bend your elbows to lower yourself down before pushing back up.

8. Plank Jacks: A mix between a jump and a plank, these are great for increasing cardiovascular activity while also working the core muscles.

Start in a regular plank position with your hands shoulder-width apart. At the same time, jump while bringing your feet back toward your hands while simultaneously jumping them out to the side again.

9. Squats: A classic workout for a reason, squats are great for strengthening your legs and butt muscles while also improving balance and coordination.

Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart with a slight bend in the knees. Keep your back straight and extend your arms in front of you for balance. Lower yourself into a squat position before pushing up with enough force that your legs are straight but not locked out at the top of it.

10. Jump Lunges: These are similar to mountain climbers except you alternate legs with each jump.

Begin in a lunge position with your right leg forward so that your knee is above your ankle and left knee almost touching the ground. Jump to switch positions so that your other leg is now in front. That’s one rep.

The exercises listed above are just a taste of what you can do to get in shape and stay healthy. Not only do they work out various parts of the body, but they’re also great for increasing cardiovascular activity and improving balance and coordination. If you don’t have time to go to the gym, try doing one or two of these exercises at home-they’re that easy!

Berea Under Snow

1. Keep the humidity in your home at a comfortable level

2. Adjust your thermostat to keep it cool and dry

3. Insulate your pipes with foam insulation or wrap them in heat tape

4. Put up storm windows, doors, or at least plastic coverings around drafty windows and doors

5. Install attic insulation for efficient heating during winter months

6. Seal any gaps or cracks that allow cold air to enter the house through vents, pipes, etc., with caulking or weather stripping

7. Clean or replace heating system’s air filters monthly

8. Keep your gutters clear of debris so that water can quickly be carried away before becoming ice

9. Keep your fireplace damper closed to prevent heat from going up the chimney and wasting energy

10. Consider investing in a programmable thermostat that can regulate temperature for you when you’re not around

Winterizing your home is essential for preserving a comfortable indoor environment during the winter months, but it can be difficult to know exactly what needs to be done. The important factors that need to be considered include humidity control, temperature control, and insulation. These are all crucial in preventing drafts, damaged furniture, dried-out sinuses, and other problems caused by an uncomfortable living space that isn’t protected against harsh winter weather conditions. There are 10 easy steps that will help ensure that your home is prepared for the cold weather ahead:

1. Keep the humidity in your home at a comfortable level by setting up a humidifier or dehumidifier depending on what is preferable for you and your family members’ needs.

2. Adjust your thermostat to keep it cool and dry (Usually between 68 and 72 degrees).

3. Insulate your pipes with foam insulation or wrap them in heat tape so that water doesn’t freeze up.

4. Put up storm windows and doors, as well as draft guards around windows and doors to prevent the cold outdoors from getting inside of your home.

5. Install attic insulation for efficient heating during winter months. Your attic is one area that can easily become very cold, which is why it’s important to make sure that you insulate it this winter before all of the heat escapes through the roof!

6. Seal any gaps or cracks that allow cold air to enter the house through vents, pipes, etc., with caulking or weather-stripping.

7. Clean or replace the heating system’s air filters monthly to make sure that the overall indoor environment is safe and comfortable for you and your family members’ respiratory systems.

8. Keep your gutters clear of debris so that ice won’t clog them up and cause flooding and damage by ice dams, which can occur when water backs up behind the gutter because it isn’t draining properly.

9. Keep your fireplace damper closed to prevent heat from going up the chimney and wasting energy. If you accidentally let heat escape through the chimney, then this added expense could really add up over time!

10. Consider investing in a programmable thermostat that can regulate temperature for you when you’re not around, like the Nest Learning Thermostat ( ). This is a great tool for those who work long days and aren’t able to return home at certain hours of the day to turn up their heaters before they finally arrive back home cold and tired from work!  

Don’t let cold weather prevent you from staying as comfortable as possible throughout the winter ahead. If your area is located in an area where it tends to get colder than usual during this time, then be prepared by following these easy tips so that you and your family members don’t have to worry about dealing with major problems! 

Grocery Shopping in Berea, KY 2021: Which store is the best for you?

If you are fortunate enough to have lived in Berea for the last 30 years you can remember a vastly different place with many grocery shopping options. At one point Berea had a Food Town, IGA, Piggly Wiggly (Pic Pac), Wal-Mart, Save-A-Lot, and even a couple of smaller stores with groceries all at the same time. It’s easy to get lost in the past, but there are still a few grocery shopping options in Berea, KY 2021.

They all have different prices, selections, and delivery options, so which one is the best for you?

Let’s find out!


Wal-Mart is the world’s largest retailer and one of the biggest companies in the United States. Wal-Mart operates more than 4,700 retail units under 55 different names, including Wal-Mart stores, Sam’s Club stores, and neighborhood markets.

Wal-Mart has been in Berea for a long time. The store has grown over the years but is still relatively small in comparison. However, Wal-Mart has many special food sections like bakery and produce that you can’t find in smaller grocery stores.

A trip to Wal-Mart is always an experience, good or bad, but the chances of finding the grocery item you are looking for are relatively high and the prices are typically fair. Wal-Mart also offers grocery pick-up services for no extra charge. This simple no-cost convenience allows shoppers to skip the line and wait in their vehicle in designated spots to have the groceries loaded for them.

Lastly, Wal-Mart has a very nice delivery service called Wal-Mart+ (Plus). This service will cost you $120 a year but offers unlimited free grocery deliveries to your home on orders totaling $35 or more. Delivery is usually the next day and many people have found this service convenience to far outweigh the cost.

Kroger Hometown Delivery

Similar to Wal-Marts pick-up service, Kroger has a pick-up location in Berea located off of Center Street. By using the Kroger app or website patrons can quickly order items and have them scheduled for pick-up in Berea.

Kroger uses a refrigerated truck to keep the groceries fresh and will load everything for you. This service is nice because Kroger sells some items that the Berea Wal-Mart does not carry. Fresh seafood is one particular area Kroger excels at over any other Berea option.

Happy Meadows Health Food Store

Happy Meadows Health Food Store is a small store on Glades Road that sells mostly natural and organic products. With so many people looking for healthier lifestyles and eating habits, this store offers a wide selection of healthy food options. The prices are sometimes a bit higher than other grocery stores but comparable to the large chain health food stores like Whole Foods. The staff at Happy Meadows are typically friendly and accommodating, and you are supporting a locally owned business.

Dollar General

If it’s canned goods, snacks, or very common items you are in search of, don’t forget about the extremely convenient and readily available assortment of Dollar General Stores located around the Berea area. For a quick hot dog, buns and chips grill out you probably can be to your closest Dollar General and back home before you could even get to the isle in Wal-Mart. the prices are good and they probably carry more than you know and the brand selections are usually well-known names.

Family Dollar

Family Dollar is another location that carries more groceries than you may realize, including a frozen foods selection. Our local Family Dollar is located on Richmond Road next to the Spotlight Playhouse with a huge parking. The staff are very helpful and are constantly restocking the shelves. Since Family Dollar and Dollar Tree are the same company you can often find a good selection of Holiday decorating items for every season while picking up your groceries.


For the bare basics of grocery shopping and being budget-minded, Save-A-Lot has you covered. Their brand selection is somewhat limited, but they carry thousands of products to stock your pantry. One particular great benefit to Berea’s Save-A-Lot is the meat department. The quality and prices of meats can’t be beaten in the Berea area and the staff is ready to help you with almost any request. The next time you have a big meal to prepare try this local franchise and you should find the items you need. Our Berea Save-A-Lot also happens to be connected to a Dollar General Store. If you don’t want Save-A-Lot’s ketchup brand on your fresh burgers from the Save-A-Lot meat department, pop in next door for a bottle of Heinz.


You may be surprised to know that Walgreens carries a decent selection of groceries and their sales are very competitive. This is a location where having the app or subscribing to email promotions can really pay off. You will not find much more than Ice Cream frozen and you certainly cannot find all the items to prepare a large meal, but for convenience shopping of chips, drinks, canned goods, cereal, and more it’s a worthwhile stop.

Grocery shopping can be a daunting task for many of us, but the options in Berea are still adequate. There is something to suit every budget and whether you’re looking for fresh seafood from Kroger or just want some quick groceries from Family Dollar. This article will help you find your perfect grocery store by highlighting which stores offer certain products as well as what sets them apart from others.

High School Musical Cast 2019Do you recall where you were when the long-awaited sequel to Disney Channel’s blockbuster hit High School Musical 2 premiered? If you are in that age group, you know about “What Time is It?” from the opening line (“summer… summer… summer…”), to the pool party finale of “High School Musical 2,” which defined summer for a generation. With High School Musical 2, another summer anthem was born, and it reminded us that even if school stress follows a student into the summer, having people to lean on and who care about them is critical to overcoming anything.

For 14 years, the classic sequel has kept its magic fresh as new. This timeless follow-up casts a spell over us just as effectively now as it did when we first burst from our classroom doors to answer the eternal question: What time is it?

The original High School Musical taught us that we don’t need to follow the crowd, and that our differences make us special. After they overcame the social pressures of high school to follow their ambitions and learn to understand each other better, we couldn’t help but become attached to Troy, Gabriella, Chad, Taylor, and all the rest of the East High Wildcats.

Adolescents often believe that no one understands them. Teens who are still trying to figure out their futures. It’s stressful to apply for college, and many young people feel as if they will not make it through, but we turn on High School Musical 2 to observe the East High Wildcats having similar issues. Many teens can identify with Troy, who is trying to get into the college of his dreams. It’s easy to imagine that the entire future is bearing down on these students’ shoulders. It’s a good thing that High School Musical 2 has an exact musical number to describe that state of mind.

Spotlight Acting School is proudly presenting this incredible ode to the teenage journey and holding open auditions on October 9th at Noon. You do not have to be currently enrolled in Spotlight Acting School to audition and all Students age 14-18 will be cast. Age waivers to younger students may be granted, but students in the designated age range will be cast first.

The audition process is simple, as students are be expected to sing a song of their choice and repeat a short dance routine. Any song will work. Optional monologues are welcome and will be considered in the casting process.

The rehearsals will be on Saturdays from 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm each week until Dress Week and the performances are scheduled for February 25-27. Standard tuition to Spotlight Acting School is $85 per month before any discounts or financial aid. Spotlight maintains a goal to never turn a student away so speak with a director if you require financial assistance. For more information call the box office at 859-756-0011 or email

The Spotlight Playhouse located at 214 Richmond Road in Berea, KY is once again hosting its Fall Fair on October 29th and 30th. This outside event is free to the public and drew over 500 participants plus many more children trick or treaters in 2020. This year’s event is sure to be even larger and more spectacular.

This annual event offers many things to do, including live music concerts all day, a Monster Mash Cabaret, food trucks, costume contest, trunk or treat, and more, but the vendor and craft booths are truly perfectly timed at the very beginning of the Holiday season.

This event is a fundraiser for the Spotlight Acting School and the organizers are always interested in other ideas to make the event even better. If you are interested in being a vendor or have another idea for the Fall Fair contact Mr. Chad at 859-661-0600 or A vendor form with rules, fees and entry details is located here

In addition to this year’s Fall Fair on October 29th and 30th the Spotlight Playhouse will also host a Monster Mash Cabaret at 8 pm each evening. Presented by the Spotlight Acting School, this high-energy variety Halloween-themed show is perfect for all ages. This outdoor show is free to the public. Viewers are encouraged to bring a chair or blanket.

Whether you are a casual cycling enthusiast or a competitive racer, everyone should own a bike in Berea. Cycling is a great form of exercise, and it’s also enjoyable to get around town on two wheels. Berea offers many miles of smooth and level bike trails, off-road paths, and safe biking lanes.

However, not all bikes are made equal. There are many different types of bicycles out there, each with its own set of features that determines the price, style, and function.

Before you decide to purchase your next bike, answer these 10 questions first:

1. What type of terrain will I be biking on?

If you are planning to use your bike for recreational purposes, then almost any type of bicycle is appropriate. Mountain bikes work well on rough roads because their gears are suited for steep hills and they can handle uneven surfaces. Road bikes are lightweight to make them easier to pedal, but the skinny tires aren’t ideal for bumpy surfaces.

2. What kind of riding style do I have?

A mountain bike would be helpful if you frequently ride over hilly or rough terrain because it’s designed for that specific purpose. If you prefer a more casual biking experience, then a road bike might be more appropriate.

3. How much money am I willing to spend on a bike?

The price of a bicycle is usually indicative of the quality and durability of its components. More expensive bicycles typically have higher-performing parts that can withstand wear from frequent use over time with little maintenance. You should also consider the additional costs of accessories for your new bicycle.

4. Where will I be parking my bike?

If you plan to lock your bicycle outside, then it’s important to purchase one with detachable parts so that a thief cannot easily steal it. A U-lock or cable lock is recommended because they are extremely difficult to break.

5. Do I need any special equipment?

If you are planning to use your bike for commuting purposes, then you might want to invest in a water bottle, backpack, or panniers (bags on either side of the rear wheel) to carry your belongings securely. If your bike doesn’t come equipped with these features, then you can also purchase them as accessories.

6. Do I want to wear cycling clothes?

Tight clothing and padded shorts made specifically for biking can help absorb some of the road vibration and provide comfort, but they might not be necessary if your bike is equipped with a comfortable seat. Cycling shoes are also available that clip directly into the pedal, but these are typically only appropriate for road biking.

7. How far do I plan to ride?

Different types of bicycles can typically be used for different purposes. If you’re planning to use your bike for commuting purposes, then a simple one-speed will do the job well enough because it’s designed specifically for distance riding. However, if you want to ride for recreation on varying terrains, then consider purchasing a mountain bike or road bike. For long-distance riding on paved roads, make sure your bike is equipped with high-quality tires that are appropriate for the terrain and load capacity.

8. Who will be riding my bike?

If you plan to let someone else use your bike, then you might want to choose a model that is easy to adjust between multiple users. Single-speed bikes can be adjusted by simply moving the seat and handlebars, whereas other types of bikes require more sophisticated adjustments such as gears and hand brakes.

9. How often will I ride my bike?

Repairing your bike every so often is a normal part of owning one, but if you plan to ride frequently, then it’s important to purchase a bike that can withstand frequent use. More expensive bikes typically have durable parts that are less likely to break down or need repair.

10. Where can I take my bike?

If you plan to take your bike for a long-distance ride, it’s most important to purchase a bike that is appropriate for the terrain. Especially when riding on unpaved roads, make sure your tires are strong enough to handle bumpy surfaces and have enough treads to grip. When biking in extreme conditions such as high heat or humidity, make sure your brakes can maintain stopping power even when wet.

If you’re looking for a bike that’s appropriate for your specific needs, then the best place to start is by asking yourself these 10 questions. The answers will help guide you in finding either a more casual ride or one with higher performance features depending on what type of riding experience it is you are looking for. If all this information has been overwhelming and there’s still not enough clarity about which bicycle would be right for you, don’t hesitate to ask an expert like Mike Hale at Mike’s Hike and Bike in Richmond, KY for some personal assistance at any time!

*Note: Mike Hale is a friend of mine and he has not endorsed this article, nor did I warn him I was writing it or plugging him. Still, he is the best I know in the business.

We all know that fast food is bad for us. But do you ever find yourself craving a greasy burger or salty fries? Maybe it’s the taste, maybe it’s convenience, but most of the time if we are honest with ourselves it is because we are really hungry. If this sounds like you then check out these tips to help you stay on track when eating fast food!

1) Order water in place of soda

By ordering water with your meal you can save hundreds of calories while staying hydrated. You will also avoid the type of sugar rush followed by a crash that comes from drinking soda. If plain tap water is not for you, perhaps ask for an extra slice of lemon or lime.

Restaurant meals are notoriously loaded with fat, salt, and sugar. And drinking calorie-filled sodas exacerbates the problem. Thankfully, many restaurant chains now offer lower-calorie “light” beverages that may help reduce your daily intake of sugar and sodium if water isn’t your cup of… tea.

2) Opt for more frequent smaller meals

Smaller, more frequent meals have been shown to reduce overall food intake.  This is thought to be due to the fact that with small meals, the gut releases hormones at a slower rate.  This is what prevents the hunger pangs that normally occur when blood glucose and insulin levels are low. Thus, if you want to lose weight (or even maintain your current weight), one way to help is having 3-4 small meals per day.

3) Eat slower

Food typically leaves the stomach in about two hours. The more quickly it’s consumed, the less time your brain has to register that you’re full before you’ve eaten too much. Also, when you eat fast your stomach doesn’t get the chance to let your brain know that it’s producing more digestive juices. So if you gulp down an entire meal in ten minutes, your food isn’t broken down properly and this could cause indigestion or heartburn. It could also lead to constipation since undigested food passes through the intestines so quickly there isn’t time for sufficient water to be absorbed.

One thing that can help prevent this problem is chewing your food thoroughly. Chewing breaks down the food and increases saliva production in your mouth, which helps start digestion. When you chew well, the food is also mixed with digestive juices in your stomach.

4) Find healthy alternatives

Many fast-food restaurants now offer healthy alternatives, and from grill selections to salads, you can easily transform your meal into a nutritious option.

If you find yourself at a burger joint, try ordering a burger without cheese or mayonnaise and substitute chili for their house spread. If it’s chicken you’re hankering for, go for grilled rather than fried.

The next time you find yourself driving through a fast-food restaurant, remember you can still get in and out without ruining your diet.

Owsley Fork Lake – Berea’s Main Water Reservoir

Owsley Fork Lake is a picturesque lake in Berea, Kentucky. It’s surrounded by natural beauty and recreational opportunities for various kinds of outings. The water that fills the lake comes from springs and rain collected in the nearby 1300-acre drainage basin. It produces over 650 million gallons of water annually.

Why is Owsley Fork Lake picturesque?
Owsley Fork Lake is picturesque because it has a naturally beautiful green hue. It’s surrounded by natural beauty and recreation opportunities for various kinds of outings, such as walking trails and picnic areas. Not to mention that it’s a man-made lake, so you can enjoy seeing all the unique features like the dam.

The lake sits on three sides within a wall of mountains, and it is stunning in nearly every season. In the summer, deep greens are beautiful, as are wildflowers in the spring, and the mountains are magnificent during the fall with brilliant hues or when covered with a blanket of snow.

What are some recreational opportunities for various kinds of outings?
Exploring the trails around the lake is a great recreational opportunity for all kinds of outings. It’s surrounded by nature, so hikers can enjoy walking in the woods and seeing all the wildlife they find. There are also picnic areas available for people who want to bring their own food. If you prefer to just sit back and relax by the water. The lake is also ideal for kayaking and canoeing with easy access for loading.

Fishing is easily accessible at Owsley

What about fishing?
The weeds on the lake get thick around the banks, so it’s best to fish from the dam or a boat of some sort during the height of summer. Other times in the year the lake is accessible from many areas, especially when the water is low.

There is access to a gravel boat ramp and The Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife states the lake is accessible by any light trailerable recreational boat. Only a trolling motor may be used on the lake, and there are generally fewer than a half-dozen boats on it at any one time.

The lake is full of bluegill, red ear, and green sunfish. Crappie and Large Mouth Bass are also common catches at Owsley. Catfish are mostly caught near the dam in the deeper water.

How old is Owsley Fork Lake?
The Owsley Fork 1300 acre basin was purchased after 1970. The Owsley Fork lake is now 151 acres with a surface area of approximately 2700ft and it’s an average depth of about 10ft. Over 30,000 customers depend on the reservoir as their primary water source.

How does the water find its way to the lake?
The 1300-acre basin is linked to the greater 4900-acre watershed controlled mostly by Berea College Forestry. There are several natural springs in the area that also contribute to the water supply.

Who manages the water in this area?
The lake is situated on land owned by Berea College and is virtually surrounded by the college forest. The lake water itself was controlled by Berea College Utilities up until the 2000s when The City of Berea acquired the rights by way of the Berea Municipal Utilities.

How can you help protect our environment by volunteering or donating to organizations like Friends of Berea College Forest, Inc.?
Friends of Berea College Forest Inc. is a non-profit conservation group whose members are dedicated to the restoration, preservation and conservation of the Forests of Berea College. It was established in 1984 for educational purposes in support of activities on the forest properties owned by Berea College. You can help with these efforts by donating or volunteering your time.

You can learn more about this organization on their website



Owsley Fork Lake is waiting with an incredible natural beauty that will make any outing unforgettable and while you are in Berea be sure to check out our many shops, restaurants, bike paths, hiking trails, and theater.

Darrell Harrison plays Elwood P. Dowd in Mary Chase’s family comedy HARVEY. Performing here with John Harter who plays Dr. Chumley.

For the past month, Harvey has been rehearsing at the Spotlight Playhouse and it is amazing how a play that was written in the 1940s still has relevant wisdom.

The play is based on a humorous and far-fetched concept, but Mary Chase does not let the absurdity of the comedy diminish the show’s core values of kindness, family, and truthfulness. All qualities desperately needing attention in today’s chaotic atmosphere.

Harvey tells the story of a man whose best friend is an invisible 6 foot 3 rabbit that only he can see. The titular character is Elwood P. Dowd, and when we meet him he is taking care of his sister with the help of Harvey.

Elwood’s sister, Veta, is constantly worrying about what other people will think of her and tries to hide the family’s imperfections from visitors. The play highlights how damaging keeping up appearances can be for a person.

Sibling affection wins the day,

Elwood, in his signature suit and hat, is a renowned socialite in his town. However, when Elwood’s family discovers that he has been talking to what they think is an imaginary rabbit they send him off to Chumley’s Rest home for the mentally ill.

The kind and inviting Dr. Sanderson wants Dowd to feel comfortable at Chumley’s so he agrees to speak with him and try to get Elwood to realize that his friend isn’t real. This comically backfires when Elwood presents himself so well that Dr. Sanderson suspects the sister, Veta, must be the ill one and has her committed.

The comedic part of this play lies in the fact that Elwood’s family is so invested in getting rid of Harvey they lose track of what’s important, while all Elwood wants to do is take care of his friends and family.

The entire cast is phenomenal, and I can’t imagine anyone else playing these characters now. Come see this heartwarming and humorous play Sept 3-18.

Austin VanWinkle plays the kind-hearted Cab Driver as he explains that being crazy may not be so bad.


Myrtle Mae Simmons – Lydia Escobar

Veta Louise Simmons – Jennifer Escobar

Elwood P. Dowd – Darrell Harrison

Mrs. Ethel Chauvenet – Sydney Garrett

Ruth Kelly, R.N. – Angel King 

Duane Wilson – Caleb Kingston 

Lyman Sanderson M. D. – Edwin Tait 

William R. Chumley M.D. – John Harter

Betty Chumley – Letha Hembree 

Judge Gaffney – Isabel Escobar

E. J. Lofgren – Austin Van Winkle


Hiking in Berea during the fall provides an opportunity for a new experience and great scenery. Here are three reasons why you should pack up your gear this fall and head out on a trail: 1) Fall colors provide incredible views, 2) The weather is perfect- not too hot or cold so you can enjoy all day outside, 3) There are several things to do at night to round off your day of enjoyment.

1) Fall colors provide incredible views

Beauty can be found even in the roughest terrain.

Fall is in the air. The leaves will be slowly turning orange, red, yellow, and brown. Some will fall to the ground while others will fight to stay on their branches for just a little bit longer. Nature’s fall show is always stunning!

The colors in the Berea area are often incredible when they change. Depending on the weather, the colors may be vibrant or subtle, but this year we have hit our rainfall goals fairly well, so the chances are leaning to vibrant. Fall is a great time of year to hike because many native trees put on their show during this time. And even if the trees aren’t changing color yet, there are still some pretty views to look at. After all, hiking is still fun even if there aren’t any colorful leaves on the trees.

2) The weather is perfect- not too hot or cold so you can enjoy all day outside.

Fall hiking conditions are their absolute best! The temperature is just right, not too hot and not too cold. This makes it the perfect weather for a hike in the great outdoors. Plus, you won’t have to worry about constantly wiping sweat off of your brow or constantly bundling up when it’s freezing. The climate is just right so you can enjoy your hike all day. On top of all that, with the fall foliage at its peak, you will never see a more gorgeous sight.

3) There are several things to do at night to round off your day of enjoyment.

The Spoonbread stage is always loaded with entertainment. (Left – JT Gilbert, Joe Anglin, Right – Doug Thomas. Behind instruments are Mr. Seals and Mr. Wagers.

Forget about the drive home after a day of hiking. Not only will you have plenty to look at during your hike, but there are things to do when you get back to town too. Live Music performances, shopping, and food are available this fall at the Spoonbread Festival. The Spotlight Playhouse has performances every weekend this fall including The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Descendants: The Musical, Bayou, and Harvey. From the upscale Boone Tavern to the casual Dinner Bell, great food is always in supply in Berea.

Enjoy the great outdoors this autumn! No matter where you live, there are some pretty views just waiting to be seen, but I encourage you to take the trip to Berea for its ample supply of trails and fun. So grab some friends or family members, pack up your gear, and get outside before winter starts to creep in. You won’t regret it. And remember, don’t forget the camera!

Hembree Haus Fall 2020

Who decorates for fall, and do you do it before Halloween or in November? This is a real question that I have pondered for years. Eventually, I landed on a routine at Hembree Haus and we have quite a bit of fun with it. I know there is a range of opinions on this subject, but at times like this, I remember what a crass old man told me once. “Opinions are like butt holes, everybody’s got one.”

Our fall decorations will go up this week or next and like many busy families, I am not always the quickest at taking things down. Case and point, I’ll be removing the American flag-themed bunting I hung in July to hang my fall decorations.

I start with our front yard and set up my happy and friendly scarecrows, straw bales, assorted fall gourds, and flowers. In October I add the Halloween decorations with bats in the trees, spiders, ghosts, and other happy haunts. Nothing overtly gross or gory and that’s it. The first week of November Bing Crosby, Kelly Clarkson, and the Jackson Five climb back to the top of my playlists and we decorate for Christmas. We are among those people that completely skip Thanksgiving decorations and treat it more like Christmas Dinner #1.

What are your fall decorating tips and traditions? Let me know and I’ll share them on Save your Christmas decorations for another day, but anything Halloween is fair game. I look forward to your sharing.

Berea, Kentucky is known for its arts and crafts, but it also has plenty of good food to offer visitors. While the Berea food offerings are plentiful sometimes the portions are not, so the next time a big craving hits you, here are the top places to pig out in Berea.

1. The Smokehouse Grill – Love them or hate them, buffets are the ultimate way to pig out and the Smokehouse Grill has been satisfying even the hardiest eater for nearly two decades. Owner’s Patty and Terry Cheeks are not shy with a buffet offering of over 20 items, including all you care to eat soft-serve ice cream and other yummy desserts. For under $15 you won’t break the budget for your indulgence, but I wouldn’t place the same confidence in your belt.

Brad Agee is ready for some great fish at the Dinner Bell.

2. Dinner Bell (Fish Fridays) – In addition to the Smokehouse Grill, which also has all-you-can-eat fish on Fridays, The Dinner Bell joins the list. Dinner Bell serves up wholesome southern favorites with home-style cooking. It also features a nice store as you enter the door for convenient shopping. The locally owned and operated Dinner Bell is a favorite among the Sunday after church crowd and an off-the-Interstate traveler’s favorite that will fill you to the gill with fish on Fridays.


Letha Hembree and Steve Moss celebrate a cousin’s reunion at Papaleno’s Pizza in Berea.

3. The Wagon Wheel and The Mountaineer – Although this might sound like the title of a Western it is in fact two of the most wholesome pizzas available in Berea. Apollo’s Pizza in the Artisan Village lives in the tourism heart of Berea and features the gargantuan 20″ Wagon Wheel pizza available with a range of toppings and will provide pizza overload for even the greatest pizza fan. If Apollo’s Pizza lives in the tourism heart then Papaleno’s Pizza lives in the tourism head of Berea and shares a block with the Boone Tavern Hotel. Papaleno’s largest pizza comes in at 16″, but what it lacks in size it makes up in substance. A 16″ Mountaineer with pepperoni, Italian sausage, beef, black and green olives, mushrooms, onions, green and banana peppers is enough to satisfy a wide range of pizza connoisseurs.

Pigging out in Berea is possible and these top places will satisfy even the hungriest of eaters. After a day at work, a day at play on Berea’s plentiful trails, or an evening out catching a show at the Spotlight Playhouse you can be assured that from all-you-can-eat buffets to big, delicious pizzas, there’s something for everyone here.

Thinking of another extra-large meal I missed, send me a message and I’ll be sure to try it. –