In honor of National Travel and Tourism Week, and because we’re excited about these warmer temperatures, we’ve compiled a list of 10 Kentucky festivals to not miss this summer. This festival guide will be your ticket to celebrating Kentucky arts and culture all summer long.
Lowertown Arts and Music Festival
May 16-17, Paducah
Recognized in 2012 and 2013 as one of the Top Ten Spring Festivals in Kentucky by Kentucky Tourism, the Lowertown Arts and Music Festival celebrates the cultural richness found in western Kentucky and the surrounding areas. The festival is free and features regional music, art, theater and food.
May 17-18, Midway
Francisco’s Farm Arts Festival is a juried art show that takes place at Midway College May 17-18. The festival features about 80 high quality artist booths, family and children’s activities, food, music and entertainment. This year, admission and parking are free. Although the location has varied in years past, this year’s festival will return to the Midway College campus.
Great American Brass Band Festival
June 5-8, Danville
The Great American Brass Band Festival, an internationally renowned music event, turns 25 in June. To celebrate the important milestone, the festival is inviting back brass groups from previous years. Joining former performers for the retrospective look back will be new ensembles and a range of band personalities and scholars. Dr. George Foreman, the founder of the Great American Brass Band Festival, will share stories and thoughts on the last 25 years and is expected to preview a future book on the GABBF.
Maysville Uncorked! Wine and Art Festival
June 14, Maysville
Maysville Uncorked! draws thousands of visitors to Maysville each year on the second Saturday in June. Held in the historic downtown area, Maysville Uncorked! features Kentucky wineries from across the state as well as local and regional artisans. The event is hosted by the Maysville Players, one of the Commonwealth’s oldest theater companies
June 26-28, Owensboro
Going on its 11th year, the ROMP festival is a “Bluegrass Roots and Branches” music festival in Owensboro, Ky., at Yellow Creek Park. Romp stands for the “River of Music Party,” because of the festival’s previous location by the river, and is a joint effort of the International Bluegrass Music Museum, the Daviess County Fiscal Court and the city of Owensboro. The festival draws in upwards of 20,000 people every year.
Festival of Learnshops
July 11-27, Berea
Select a workshop from more than 100 choices to pursue your interest in sustainable living, culinary arts, collage, painting, Appalachian crafts, fiber arts, jewelry, glass, storytelling, literary arts, theater, music, dance, Native American folk arts, bonsai, woodworking, or professional development for educators. Workshops vary between two hours and five days and all are family friendly.
July 18-20, Louisville
The Forecastle Festival in Louisville is fast becoming one of the state’s most popular festivals. Started in 2002, the three-day arts, music and activism event is held in Waterfront Park downtown. This year’s lineup includes big names like Beck, Jack White and Outkast as well as many other up and coming bands. The festival will also feature a Bourbon lounge and a Kentucky Landing area, a spot that will feature Kentucky-based creations, local craft breweries and food trucks from all across the Commonwealth.
Roots and Heritage Festival
Sept. 5-7, Lexington
The Roots and Heritage Festival is a celebration of African- American culture and achievements. The annual event has earned recognition as one of the Top Twenty Events in the Southeast named by the Southeast Tourism Society. The festival offers educational/cultural programs as well as a diverse group of food, clothing, music, literature and art vendors.
Kentucky Bourbon Festival
Sept. 16-21, Bardstown
Started in 1992, the Kentucky Bourbon Festival offers a chance to celebrate Kentucky’s favorite spirit! The festival showcases the bourbon-making process and the incredible history behind the bourbon industry in Kentucky. Visitors can also enjoy distilleries’ tents and local artisans on the lawn of Spalding Hall. Participating bourbon makers include Barton Brands of Kentucky, Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Bullit Distilling Company, Four Roses Distillery, Heaven Hill Distilleries Inc., Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark Distillery, Michter’s, Wild Turkey Distillery and Woodford Reserve
St. James Court
Oct. 3-5, Louisville
St. James Court is a juried fine arts and crafts show that hosts around 750 artists from around the country. The show is celebrating its 57th year and was founded in 1957 as a way to help develop and support St. James Court, one of Old Louisville’s most renowned neighborhoods.
For more information about upcoming events, festivals and Kentucky summer adventures, visit the Kentucky Department of Travel at http://www.kentuckytourism.com/
Alex Newby, Communications Assistant