RABBIT HASH, Ky. – The people who led the charge to rebuild the Rabbit Hash General Store can hardly believe it happened so fast.
The 185-year-old landmark reopens Saturday less than 15 months after it almost burned to the ground.
“People come in and they go, 'Oh, you painted the store!' They don't even know the store burned down and got put back up, so it's quite a compliment when they say that because it really does look like the old one,” said Don Clare, president of the Rabbit Hash Historical Society.
“It feels like it never left,” said Bobbi Kayser, Historical Society secretary. “Coming in here to a lot of happy people, enjoying a lot of food, enjoying good music, is just normal to me.”
The space is new but the feeling is so familiar. The stove again awaits musicians and gathered crowds. The mailboxes are back. The shelves are filled with goods.
“The people are so endeared to this building,” said Clare. “It's an inanimate object, but what it represents is something animate and it's all part of what’s in us. You know, the General Store was always the pulse of this community. I call it the Facebook of Rabbit Hash.”
“The night it was burning, before the locals grabbed fire extinguishers and started putting out hot spots, after the firemen left, it had already been decided that this store was going to be rebuilt,” said Kayser.
Video from the fire:
They turned to a local guy, Ed Unterreiner of Rivertown Construction, to get it done.
“My mission was, in another year or so, it will just be a bad memory and everything will be exactly the way it was and as if nothing happened,” Unterreiner said.
“I think what was so incredible about this experience was that our local feeling bled out into the greater community and we felt their love as well,” said Kayser.
“When we cut the ribbon and the doors open, that's going to make it real. It’s going to be the public in here again. It’s going to be everybody’s store again. And I think that's really going to put the feather on the whole thing.”
The store will feature live music from noon to 8 p.m., including performances by Mike Hicks, The StarDevils, The Modified and Cadillac & Catfish.
Verona Vineyards Wine Tasting Room will be open and featuring a re-release of its “ID. Clare Sweet Concord American Wine.” The town’s seasonal businesses, The Scalded Hog restaurant and Amber’s Antiques will also be open for the first time this year.
Parking is limited, so organizers have set up a lot and a shuttle at the corner of East Bend Road and Rabbit Hash Road.
Visitors are asked to carpool and not bring coolers.