Kentucky events and festivals in 2016

The Bluegrass State sure knows how to celebrate – whether it’s for a world-famous horse race, an arts and music festival, a sports event, and the century-old practice of bourbon making.

There is no shortage of interesting things to do and see in Kentucky.

And residents and tourists are saving plenty of dates for some of Kentucky’s best-loved and most-awaited celebrations this year.

  • Kentucky Derby Festival (April 18 – May 7, 2016)
    No festival can stretch the most exciting 2 minutes of a sports event into a month-long festival. After all, this annual celebration attracts 1.5 million people every year in a month-long extravaganza of horse racing, fireworks, sports competitions, concerts, and kid-friendly activities. The audience is not limited to horse racing aficionados, but people of all persuasions. Other festival highlights are hot-air balloon events, the Great Steamboat Race, and the Pegasus Parade with the country’s best marching bands and equestrians.
    Where: 1001 South Third Street. Louisville, KY
  • Hillbilly Days ( April 21 – 23, 2016)
    This two-day celebration is one of the state’s largest festivals. Most of all, it’s for a good cause. The annual event which started in 1977, raises funds for the Shriner’s Children’s Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. You see artists and craftspeople displaying their handiwork amidst mountain music, clogging, and square dancing. Men, women, and even children in their wildest hillbilly outfits add a special flavor to the celebration.
    Where: 214 South Riverfill Drive, Pikeville, KY
  • Lower Town Arts and Music Festival ( May 13 – 1 4 , 2016)
    Admission to this celebration of culture in Paducah is free. Open studios and galleries feature the works of visual, performing, and culinary artists in the area. More than 50 booths showcase the work of visiting artists. Live music and food give locals and tourists the best the historic town of Paducah can offer.
    Where: Lower Town Arts District, Paducah, Kentucky (South)
  • Glasgow Highland Games ( June 3 – 5, 2016 )
    No other event can equal this celebration of tradition and history at the Barren River Lake Skate Resort Park in Lucas, Kentucky. Sports teams, bands, dancers, and pipers engage in friendly competition. Clan tents offer genealogy classes. You don’t need to have Scottish or Irish blood to enjoy the festivities. Just follow the sound of the bagpipes and you’re in for a wonderful time.
    Where: 119 E Main St, Glasgow, KY
  • Kentucky Bourbon Festival (September 13 – 18, 2016)
    Having originated in Kentucky in 1776, bourbon is celebrated each year in festivities centered in Bardstown, which calls itself the Bourbon Capital of the World. Visitors tour distilleries, learn more about bourbon through informative exhibits, and enjoy music and other forms of entertainment. The festival continues to attract thousands more than 20 years after it was first held.
  • 33rd Annual Salt Festival ( Oct 14 – 16, 2016)
    The site where the festival takes place was once a smelly, salty swamp that attracted herds of bisons, wild horses, mammoths, and mastodons during the Pleistocene era about 1.8 million years ago. These ancient beasts milled around the mineral and salt springs, licking their fill and betraying their location to hunters. Later, native Americans and early settlers would unearth the beasts’ big bones in the area. Today, the festival recalls those days with activities like pioneer life camps, flint knapping, salt making, weaving, spear throwing, among many others. Don’t forget to check out the Big Bone Lick State Historic Site’s bison herd.
    Where: Big Bone Lick State Historic Site, 3380 Beaver Road, Union, KY

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