Whether you’re a lover of history or just a bourbon enthusiast, Bardstown, Kentucky is the perfect place to spend a weekend. In the second edition of Kentucky Bourbon Country, The Essential Travel Guide, Susan Reigler points out the many historic and cultural attractions this small Kentucky town has to offer, including the annual six-day Kentucky Bourbon Festival which will be wrapping up this weekend.
Not only is it home to more than 300 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places — including Federal Hill, the inspiration for the state’s anthem residing at My Old Kentucky Home State Park, and the Old Talbot Tavern — Bardstown is also within a half hour of six famous bourbon distilleries. The newest edition to these is the Bardstown Bourbon Company, which just opened its doors this summer.
Bring on the Bourbon
Delicious food, entertainment, as well as some great events will be offered in Bardstown this weekend during the festival, where bourbon will be savored, sampled, discussed and celebrated! In this excerpt from her travel guide, Reigler provides a detailed description of the event:
The Kentucky Bourbon Festival began in 1992 with a dinner and tastings. Today it has grown into a six-day event with concerts, races, a golf tournament, a cocktail contest, cooking and drink-mixing classes, expert panel discussions, an auction of bourbon memorabilia, a gala black-tie dinner, and more. In 2014 some 53,000 people attended the festival, traveling from forty-four states, the District of Columbia, and fourteen countries.
The center of the festival’s activities is the Spalding Hall lawn, just outside the entrance to the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History (114 North Fifth Street). Almost all the distilleries set up exhibits on the lawn, and merchants display and sell all kinds of bourbon-related items there, from books to foodstuffs. There are also demonstrations of barrel making, and the lawn is well within hearing range of the outdoor concerts taking place on a nearby stage. Not surprisingly, the Spirit Garden, where visitors can purchase bourbon drinks and beer, is one of the most popular sites.
[. . .] The festival is a good time to meet many of the people involved in the bourbon industry. All the master distillers are on hand for many of the events, and they will certainly be in attendance at Saturday night’s Great Kentucky Bourbon Tasting and Gala.