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      Coon Hunt moves West, leaving behind Albany tradition

      After 25-years, the United Kennel Club has announced they will not hold their annual, "Winter Fest" coon hunt in Albany.

      Event organizers announced Thursday that they will be moving the event to Batesville, Mississippi because of it's centralized location to the entire country. Despite the advantages it may have for the U.K.C, the city of Albany may see an economic downturn because of it's departure.

      "During that time, it is an economic impact for us. Last year they had an economic impact of $1.3-1.5 million dollars when they brought people into town. People coming from all over the United States, so it's a huge impact for us," said CVB Manager, Rashelle Beasley.

      Although the economy my take a hit in the coming year, Albany officials are already working to find the bright side in this situation.

      "We have the opportunity to come up with our own hunt, I've been in talks with the coon-hunting associations within the region and the area, and they're excited about the opportunity of planning our own event," said Beasley.

      And despite the amount of optimism the U.K.C is showing, Albany officials say they may find it harder to put together this event at another venue.

      "Anytime you have an event, especially one that has been here for so long, and been in one place, with this event, U.K.C came in and it was pretty much a "turn-key" operation for them, so I think they can expect a certain amount of growing pains," said Beasley.

      Residents will wait in the coming months to see if a new event can fill the void, that the U.K.C is leaving in the Albany winter calendar.