The Kentucky Bourbon Festival kicks off in Bardstown!

Kentucky Bourbon Festival Bardstown, KentuckyThere are many defining and exciting aspects to our region’s history and culture including horse racing, tobacco, the infamous Louisville Slugger, and, of course, bourbon. Every fall since 1992 we have celebrated our bourbon with the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. This festival takes place in Bardstown, Kentucky—better known as the Bourbon Capital of the World—and is a full six days of bourbon, food, history, and entertainment. Bardstown, Kentucky has a lot to offer, and what better reason to visit than the Kentucky Bourbon Festival?

This year the festival kicks off on Tuesday, September 11 with a Balloon Glow at the Nelson County Fairgrounds. You can also stroll through downtown Bardstown to observe the bourbon window displays created by the Kentucky bourbon distilleries and brands. Painted and altered bourbon barrels will be on display on the front lawn of the Bardstown Welcome Center, and the Kentucky Bourbon Festival Art Exhibit will feature local artists’ work. The festival continues through Sunday, September 16, providing ample opportunities to attend and experience the delicious impact bourbon has had on our region.

On Wednesday, September 12, there is a Mixed Drink Challenge where regional restaurant and distillery “mixologists” prepare specialty bourbon drinks to be judged. The winning drink becomes the Official Drink of the 2013 Kentucky Bourbon Festival. Last year’s winner and this year’s official drink was concocted by Maker’s Mark Distillery and is known as “Strawberry Fields.” You can find the recipe at the end of the blog if you’d like to give it a try!

On Thursday the real party kicks off with “Boots and Bourbon” at the Wild Turkey Sit n’ Sip Saloon where you can dance to live country western music, enjoy delicious food, ride the bull, and of course, sip on some bourbon. You can also attend the Bourbon Cocktail Mixology where you will sample an array of Kentucky bourbon-based cocktails.

The weekend activities range from history lessons to bourbon education to the Barrels of Country Music Concert featuring Dierks Bentley (which is free, by the way!) to ghost tours. While you have to be at least 21 years old to attend a few of the events, the Kentucky Bourbon Festival has activities for those of any age including a family fun area, hands-on activities, the Whiskey City Cruisers Vehicle Show, and live music on the City Hall Lawn.

Many of these activities are free, but for a complete schedule of events and to purchase tickets, visit With 11 brands of bourbon participating this year, including Four Roses, Maker’s Mark, and Woodford Reserve, the Kentucky Bourbon Festival will be an event you won’t want to miss!

Strawberry Fields Recipe

2 oz. Makers’s Mark
1 oz. Strawberry Syrup
1 oz. Dolin Blanc Vermouth
.25 oz. Bonal Aperitif Wine

Drink is to be stirred – not shaken
Serve up in a martini glass
Garnish with strawberry & mint sprig


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