Top 20 Kentucky USA Events and Festivals
This page of Top Events USA showcases just the main Kentucky events and festivals (in calendar priority) taking place in the state of Kentucky, USA.
Two of the main Kentucky USA events and festivals are the Kentucky Derby and Derby Festival in May in Louisville, and the mid August Kentucky State Fair also in Louisville.
See below for a complete list of the main Kentucky events and festivals.
For more than 30 years Shriners from all over North America have descended on Pikeville to dress up as hillbillies, join the parade and raise money for crippled children. Hillbilly Days, made possible because of the efforts of the Shriners, the Pike County Chamber of Commerce, Pike County Government, City of Pikeville and local volunteers, transforms downtown Pikeville into one of the most unique festivals in the country.
For more information about the Hillbilly Days event take a look at:
or visit: http://www.hillbillydays.com
Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event
Kentucky Horse Park – Lexington, Kentucky
One of the world’s top six equestrian events, the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event (which actually lasts four days) features world-class riders gathering to compete in dressage, cross country and show jumping with the ultimate goal of being awarded competition or development grants or to be named to a USA team representing the country in international championships. Recognized as one of the very few annual Four Star events in the world, the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event attracts 100,000 visitors from all over the world. It also features an extensive trade fair which focuses on everything from horse-riding related items like saddles and boots, to designer clothing and artwork.
For more information about the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event visit:
American Quilter’s Society National Quilt Show
Paducah is a mecca for quilters and quilt enthusiasts during the American Quilter's Society Annual Quilt Show & Contest each April.
In addition to the juried exhibit of the finest workmanship and most creative quilts in the world, the festival features a merchant mall, workshops and special events throughout the community.
With extended hours during the AQS Quilt Show week, internationally recognized Museum of the American Quilter's Society highlights the vigorous international rebirth of quilt making that began in the 1970s.
For more information about the American Quilter’s Society National Quilt Show in Paducah take a look at: http://www.topeventsusa.com/Kentucky-American-Quilters-Society-National-Quilt-Show.html
or visit: http://www.americanquilter.com/shows_contests
The Kentucky Derby and Derby Festival
One of the main Kentucky USA events, the Kentucky Derby Festival is Kentucky's largest annual event and one of the nation’s finest celebrations. Each year, more than 1.5 million people enjoy the 70 special events of this annual civic celebration including concerts, races and just plain fun.
Beginning with Derby Festival Opening Ceremonies: Thunder Over Louisville, and continuing through the two weeks before the Kentucky Derby, the Derby Festival brings Metro Louisville to life. All of the Festival’s 70 events are held within the Metro Louisville area, most of them downtown.
The Kentucky Derby Festival has also been a winner of the “International Festivals & Events Association (IFEA) World Festival & Event City” award five times, a popular and distinguished award, in existence for over 56 years, that has been awarded to cities and their events that have made a significant contribution to the Festivals and Events Industry and a profound difference in the communities they serve.
For more information about the The Kentucky Derby and Derby Festival in Louisville take a look at:
or visit: http://www.kdf.org
The Kentucky Derby and Derby Festival is one of the TOP 20 EVENTS in the whole of the USA
International Bar-B-Q Festival
In mid-May each year, Owensboro comes to life with the wonderful smells and sounds of the International Bar-B-Q Festival. Smoke from hickory-stoked fires, and the mouthwatering smells of barbecued chicken and lamb compete to please the senses. Events include a golf scramble, beer plaza, live entertainment, pie eating contest, cooking team balloon toss, and even a sock hop.
For more information about the International Bar-B-Q Festival in Owensboro take a look at:
http://www.topeventsusa.com/kentucky-international-Bar-B-Q-Festival.html or for more information visit: http://www.bbqfest.com
Fort Harrod Beef Festival
end May – beginning June
Mercer County Fairgrounds – Harrodsburg, Kentucky
A popular event for over 6 years, the Fort Harrod Beef Festival was created to highlight the beef industry in Kentucky, the largest beef cattle producing state east of the Mississippi, and the 8th largest such state in the entire USA. The Fort Harrod Beef Festival offers a variety of events including a carnival for children, pageants, free popular music concerts, an arts and crafts fair, 5K run/walk, numerous culinary and cooking events from chef’s demos to steak and egg breakfasts, and a car show.
For more information about the Fort Harrod Beef Festival in Harrodsburg visit:
Kentucky Renaissance Fair
beginning June to mid July
Also known as the Highland Renaissance Festival, the Kentucky Renaissance Fair has been a popular event for more than 7 years and takes place at Eminence between Louisville and Lexington. The Fair features merchants and artisans selling relevant wares and souvenirs, performances of live music and dancing, demonstrations of jousting, sword swallowing, even fire breathing, games of skill, food and drink pertinent to the Renaissance period and much more.
For more information about the Kentucky Renaissance Fair in Eminence visit:
Great American Brass Band Festival
Hosted by Danville's hometown band - the Advocate Brass Band - Kentucky's free, nonprofit brass band extravaganza is held every year in June. Festival highlights include continuous music beginning Friday evening with more than a dozen brass bands, parade, decorator picnic, a fireworks extravaganza and concludes with the annual Great American Balloon Race at the Danville-Boyle County Airport.
For more information about the Great American Brass Band Festival take a look at:
or visit: http://www.gabbf.org/
Blues & Barbecue Festival
Water Tower – Louisville, Kentucky
Focusing on performances by live blues musicians as well as hundreds of expert barbecue stands and venues featuring a variety of barbecue styles from the best smokehouses in town, the Blues & Barbecue Festival is a popular family event including a special entertainment area for children, staged every year on the banks of the Ohio River.
For more information about the Blues & Barbecue Festival in Louisville, visit:
Kentucky State Fair
Another one of the main Kentucky USA events, the official state fair of Kentucky attracts over 600,000 visitors each year with popular and world respected events including the World Championship Horse Show, agricultural exhibits and competitions, free main stage concerts of mega stars, a “Cirque” like show, extreme bicycle stunt riders, acrobats and illusionists, fine art displays, home improvement demonstrations as well as presentations of everything from beer to quilts.
For more information about the Kentucky State Fair in Louisville visit:
Kentucky Bluegrass Music & Burgoo Festival
One of the most highly attended festivals in the region, the Kentucky Bluegrass Music & Burgoo Festival celebrates Kentucky’s authentic bluegrass music heritage and showcases three days of music presented by some of the the best Bluegrass bands from all around the USA. As the title suggests, this event also celebrates and features various versions of the burgoo dish, a stew or thick soup of meat and vegetables originally served at outdoor gatherings. To round it all off there is a special place set up to entertain children complete with inflatables and other active attractions.
For more information about the Kentucky Bluegrass Music & Burgoo Festival in Louisville, visit:
Trail of Tears Pow-Wow
Trail of Tears Park – Hopkinsville, Kentucky
A popular 25-old event that welcomes more than 16,000 visitors every year, the Trail of Tears Pow-Wow at which Native American people gather to celebrate their rich heritage through dance, drumming and singing, food, and the arts and crafts of their people attracts Cherokees and general visitors from all over the USA and beyond.
For more information about the Trail of Tears Pow-Wow at Hopkinsville, visit:
MainStrasse Village Oktoberfest
One of the Top 20 Kentucky USA Events and Festivals here on Top Events USA, the MainStrasse Village Oktoberfest, awarded the "Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Award" in 2013" and the "Top Ten Fall Festival Award" from Kentucky Tourism in 2013, attracts 125,000 attendees including families and travelers from throughout the Midwest to join with local crowds in enjoying this festival.
Offering a great mix of German and international foods, music and arts and crafts, this popular festival takes place in historic MainStrasse Village, Covington, Kentucky.
MainStrasse Village is a designated national historic district that is the home of Old World charm and New World fun with a unique variety of shops, restaurants, pubs and entertainment.
For more information about the MainStrasse Village Oktoberfest in Covington take a look at: http://www.topeventsusa.com/kentucky-mainstrasse-oktoberfest.html visit: http://www.mainstrasse.org
Kentucky Bourbon Festival
Selected as one of Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Events for the month of September 2008, the Kentucky Bourbon Festival celebrates one of the world's finest spirits in the Bourbon Capital of the World. The Kentucky Bourbon Festival is a five day festival of smooth Bourbon, delicious food, and great entertainment. Events include live entertainment, black tie galas, flower festival, historical tours of the streets of historical Bardstown, demonstrations, golf tournament, horseshoe pitch and more.
For more information about the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown take a look at:
or visit: http://www.kybourbonfe
World Chicken Festival
Kentucky is home to the first Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant, established by Colonel Sanders in the 1940s. His nephew, Lee Cummings, also began his career, in 1952, in Kentucky. The World Chicken Festival pays tribute to this heritage. Voted as one of the Kentucky Tourism Council's "Top Ten" Events and the Southeast Tourism Society "Top 20" Events, the annual World Chicken Festival has also been voted "Best Festival In State" by Kentucky Monthly Magazine. More than 250,000 people attend the four-day event each year. Attractions include cooking contests, live entertainment, sports competitions, parades and a car show.
For more information about the World Chicken Festival take a look at:
or visit:: http://www.chickenfestival.com
Jerusalem Ridge Festival
September / October
An annual festival where fans and musicians gather to play and listen to traditional bluegrass music, and to honor and remember Bill Monroe who made it all possible.The festival, running for four full days, is held on Jerusalem Ridge, just outside Rosine, Kentucky, where Bill, Charlie and Birch Monroe grew up and learned the roots of what was to eventually evolve into what we know as "bluegrass" music.
For more information about the Jerusalem Ridge Festival in Rosine take a look at:
St James Court Art Show
end September / beginning October
The St James Court Art Show is a juried fine arts and fine crafts show held on the first full weekend of October and hosting an impressive 750 artists from North America in the heart of historic Old Louisville among the country's largest collection of Victorian homes. For over five decades the fair has provided the neighborhood, city and state with a rich cultural and artistic legacy. It has also been ranked as #1 in the nation by Sunshine Artist Magazine, and is consistently voted as one of the top festival destinations in the US.
For more information about the St James Court Art Show event in Louisville take a look at:
For more information visit: http://www.stjamescourtartshow.com
Garvin Gate Blues Festival
The biggest free neighborhood street music festival in Louisville, the Garvin Gate Blues Festival in historic Old Louisville celebrates the blues and features winners of Blues Music Awards and legendary blues musicians as well as offering fine foods and drinks, and a wide selection of artisan booths on Garvin Place.
For more information about the Garvin Gate Blues Festival in Louisville visit:
North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE)
Attracting visitors from over 15 different countries, and recognized as “the world's largest all-breed, purebred livestock exposition” the two-week North American International Livestock Exposition features the world’s largest purebred beef and sheep events as well as ten different species of livestock from boer goats to llamas, all competing in the exposition. Part of the attraction of this event is the accompanying North American Quarter Horse Show, one of the largest shows in the USA, as well as the North American Championship Rodeo that showcases the Great Lakes Circuit finals event for the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). Accompanying all three facets of this major event is the Giant Country Store with hundreds of commercial vendors.
For more information about the North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE) in Louisville visit:
updated Top 20 Events USA pages do not include every single event on offer in each state or city in America – only those recognized as one of the top 20 in each location, elected by residents, tourists and visitors, the team of travel writers working for Top Events USA, and some officials of the relevant states and cities of the USA too.