As the leaves begin to turn, and summer winds down, don’t worry — that just means Fall Festival season is here!
Daniel Boone Pioneer Festival: Winchester, Aug 31 – Sep 2
Highlights: Live music, arts and crafts and dancing.
The 40th annual Daniel Boone Pioneer Festival in Winchester honors the men and women bold enough to brave the dangers of a new land and settle the untamed land of Kentucky. This celebration features a very popular street dance in downtown Winchester and plenty of great music including Rifletown, The Mercy Men, the Allman Butter Band, Frontier and The Classics. There will also be plenty of activities, arts and crafts and other entertainment.
Kentucky State BBQ Festival: Danville, Sep 7-9
Highlights: Live music, BBQ and good times.
Of course, there will be music. Of course, there will be vendors. But all that will likely pale in comparison to the barbecue. Seven celebrity pitmasters from across the country will be there to show off their delicious skills. There are three ways for amateur barbecue masters to showcase their skills – Backyard BBQ Competitions (ribs); The One Bite Competition (anything you like); and The Steak Competition (any type of steak). While you are chowing down on some of the best barbecue in the state, make sure you check out some of the great musical acts, including Rachel Crowe, Tee Dee Young, Brad Hardin, Hi-5, Paul Childers, Dillon Carmichael and Ben Lacy.
Christ The King Oktoberfest: Lexington, Sep 7-8
Highlights: Live music, food, and beer in support of a great cause
Christ the King’s annual Oktoberfest is one of Lexington’s favorite fall festivals, offering plenty of food, drink, and nationally known musical acts. This year, Sister Hazel will take the stage Friday night with The Georgia Satellites rocking the crowd Saturday night. For the adults, there will be blackjack, BINGO, pull tabs, and a raffle. The kids won’t be bored with a candy booth, rock wall climbing tower, a pirate ship inflatable, arts and crafts, obstacle course, face painting, nail painting along with many other events. Don’t worry about going hungry. There will plenty of barbecue, pizza, fair food, and a special German food tent.
Apple Festival: Georgetown, Sep 8-9
Highlights: Pop-up store, apples, food, and live music
With the start of fall, Evans Orchard will host its annual Apple Festival. The event will feature craft booths, live music, and food. The festival also marks the beginning of the u-pick apple season. But apple fans will find plenty to love with caramel apples, fried apple pies and fresh pressed apple cider. The play area and barnyard will be open and will feature pony rides and hayrides. The apple-based fun will continue Sep 15 through Oct 29 with the Evans Orchard Harvest Festival. No word if Lil’ Sebastian will appear.
Josephine Sculpture Park Fall Arts Festival: Frankfort, Sep 8
Highlights: Kentucky artists and family fun
Stop by the capital of the commonwealth for a fun-filled day of event aimed at engaging children in the arts at the Josephine Sculpture Park Fall Arts Festival from 11 am to 6 pm. There will be printmaking, pottery wheels, tie-dying, community sculpture, and a scavenger hunt. The fair also features workshops on glassblowing, metal casting and blacksmithing. Make a day of it because there will be plenty of food and other events.
Waveland Art Fair: Lexington, Sep 8-9
Highlights: Kentucky artists and their creations.
The fifth-annual Waveland Art Fair features numerous Kentucky artists and showcases their work while touring Waveland’s main home, former slave quarters, smokehouse and ice house.
AppleFest: Versailles, Sep 8-30
Eckert’s Boyd Orchards Versailles Farm kicks off Fall with AppleFest every Saturday and Sunday from Sep 8-30. Head to the farm to enjoy wagon rides, live entertainment, festival foods, children’s activities and of course, apples. Get a taste of cider donuts, caramel apples and more apple treats to tempt your taste buds.
Kentucky Bourbon Festival: Bardstown, Sep 13-18
Highlights: Well, bourbon!
Who will be the latest inductees into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame? This question and many others will be answered in September as the 2018 Kentucky Bourbon Festival kicks off in Bardstown. This four-day festival is to bourbon lovers what San Diego Comic Con is for nerds — it has something for everyone! Along with family fun area on the Great Lawn of Bardstown City Hall, there will be arts and crafts, Kentucky Proud and distillery booths, a food court, car show, barrel-making demonstrations, a barrel-rolling competition along with lots and lots of bourbon, bourbon and even more bourbon. There will be bourbon sampling, bourbon for sale, the unveiling of the official bourbon cocktail of the festival, bourbon and food pairings, bourbon tastings, a spirit garden featuring, well, I bet they offer plenty of bourbon on the menu. The Great Lawn will also feature “Bourbontowne” where bourbon “super fans” can sip premium bourbons, meet with bourbon dignitaries and hang out with other people who share a passion for Kentucky bourbon.
Festival Latino de Lexington: Lexington, Sep 14-15
No querrás perderte este! Celebrate Latin American art and culture and its impacts on Kentucky at the Festival Latino de Lexington Sep 14 and 15. This downtown event features live music, dancing, art and plenty of delicious food. Friday night is tropical night and will include authentic Latino foods, live music and dancing. And for the record, No querrás perderte este translates into “you don’t wanna miss this one!”
Scarefest 2018: Lexington, Sep 14-16
Highlights: Horror, science fiction, and the paranormal
The 11th annual Scarefest descends upon Heritage Hall in Lexington Sep 14-16 with plenty of genre stars ready to meet the public. These celebrities include Joe Bob Briggs, Adrienne Barbeau, Meg Foster, Julian Sands, Kane Hodder, Shawnee Smith, Cassandra ‘Elvira’ Peterson and Tobin Bell. As part of the events, the Kentucky Theater will host the world premiere of the new horror movie ‘Wretch’ Sep 13. There will be plenty of chances to party with a launch party, a VIP party and a costume party scheduled. If you are eager to contact the spirit world, Kim Russo’s Private Psychic Medium Gallery will be available.
Devine’s Corn Maze and Pumpkin Patch: Harrodsburg, Sep 14 through Oct 28
Highlights: Food, agriculture and an amazing maze
Devine’s Corn Maze consistently garners national attention. This year’s maze celebrates Triple Crown winner Justify. But there are lots of things to do outside the giant maze including a straw crawl, an animal petting area, a kiddie maze, a hay maze and pumpkin picking. There is also a nightly bonfire and free marshmallow roasting. Devine’s also features “cornstalk paintball wars’ and zipline racers for everyone 8 and up who meet the physical requirements.
Midway Fall Festival: Midway, Sep 15 and 16
The Midway Fall Festival features plenty of vendors, crafts, food, demonstrations, entertainment and children’s activities. This year’s main stage, sponsored by County Boy Brewing, will feature Shanghai Express; Blake Jones and Family; Liberty Road; Prototype; Ned Hill; Kyle Sable Snyder; and RC & the Nightshades. Saturday’s headline act will be Trippin’ Roots at 7 pm.
Spoonbread Festival: Berea, Sep 21-23
Highlights: Arts, crafts, music, family fun, balloons and yeah, spoonbread
Although named a “bread,” spoonbread is closer in consistency and taste to many savory puddings, such as Yorkshire pudding. But is eating this tasty, carbohydrate-ladened treat the only thing to occupy the weekend of Sep 21 at the festival? No, no, no, no! The Spoonbread Festival features some of the most diverse line-up of events you are likely to find at any fall festival in the state. There will be a 1-mile fun run, a 5K walk, an antique tractor show, a car show, a motorcycle show and scenic ride, a cornhole tournament, a dog show, tethered hot-air balloon rides, a hot-air balloon glow presentation, a pageant, and skateboard relays. But don’t worry, the focus will return to the with the spoonbread eating contest Saturday, Sep 22 at 12:30 pm. Registration is at 11:30 am. There is a limit of 12 participants with the spoonbread being provided by the Boone Tavern Hotel and Restaurant.
World Chicken Festival: London, Sep 27-30
The World Chicken Festival is an annual event held in downtown London, Kentucky, in Laurel County, on the last weekend in September. The festival celebrates the life of Colonel Sanders, founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken. Laurel County is the home to the original KFC restaurant founded in the 1940s.
Harvestfest at Shaker Village: Harrodsburg, Sep 29-30
Tour the apple orchard, take a hayride, paint a pumpkin, climb on haystacks and play in the bouncy house all at this year’s Harvestfest at Shaker Village. Look back at simple yet fun ways people used to celebrate the fall. Enjoy the live music, food trucks, and many other special attractions. Shop for honey, breads, and jams at the Harvest Market, then meet the farm animals. Admission to Harvestfest is included with general admission tickets to Shaker Village.
Mount Sterling Court Days: Mount Sterling, Oct 12-15
Highlights: Buying, selling and trading just about anything
It’s the granddaddy of every flea market, yard sale and peddler’s mall. It’s Mount Sterling Court Days and if you like to mix exploring, digging for treasure, finding a great bargain and a festival atmosphere, this court is in session for you. The event has roots running back to 1794 when the circuit judge would ride into town and people set up around the courthouse to sell or trade guns, knives, horses, swap items or sell crops. These days, it claims the title of the largest outdoor festival in the state with thousands of people descending on Mount Sterling.
Oktoberfest 2018: Harrodsburg, Oct 12-14
Highlights: German food and lots and lots of beer
The streets of downtown Harrodsburg will take on a Munich feel at this year’s Oktoberfest. The public is invited to come by and celebrate the traditions of a German Oktoberfest. This event will feature lots of live music, exhibits, family-friendly entertainment. There will be plenty of German and specialty foods from local restaurants, civic clubs and vendors. Several of the public’s favorite breweries will be represented and ready to serve world-class brews to the visitors. Organizers say this is more than a celebration of beer with plenty of events and attractions including kid and family activities, arts and craft vendors, and live music on the main stage.
Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen Fall Fair: Berea, Oct 13-14
Highlights: Arts, crafts, music, family fun
The Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen Fall Fair at the historic Indian Fort Theatre in Berea brings together some of the most talented artisans from across the commonwealth. This fair provides an opportunity for art lovers and collectors to purchase the high-quality, handmade products. The fair will be located at the Indian Fort Theatre in Berea. Come for the art but stay a while for the kettle corn, barbeque, and other delicious treats.
This article also appears on page 6 of the September 2018 print edition of Ace.
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