Kentucky Bourbon Festival – Bardstown, Kentucky

2024 DATE: September 13-15, 2024

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The Kentucky Bourbon Festival used to consist of many events with a free festival over the weekend, but that has changed. The free festival is now a ticketed event and there is a separate free festival in Bardstown during the weekend of the Bourbon Festival.

This post documents my experience on September 15, 2017 before the festival became a ticketed event.
You can also read about some of the events that occur during the week by checking out https://festivalguidesandreviews.com/events-kentucky-bourbon-festival/

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If you’ve ever made your way along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

…you already know (and possibly love) Bardstown, Kentucky…

…the bourbon capital of the world…

…and home of the Kentucky Bourbon Festival.

Near downtown, an area was made up of crafters and artists…

…who offered everything from walking sticks to beer cheese…

…as well as bourbon related photography…

…bourbon bottle lamps…

…bourbon barrel toothpicks and skewers (Petschke Pick)…

…cigars rolled from bourbon barrel aged tobacco (Kentucky Gentleman Cigar Company)…

…bourbon (on ice) jewelry (Clark Jewelers)…

…bourbon balls…

…bourbon spirited praline cakes (Mert’s Kitchen)…

…even more bourbon foods (Bourbon Barrel Foods)…

…and a whole ton of repurposed bourbon barrel furniture and decor (River City Barrel Works/Kentucky Gal’s Kreation).

Near the arts and crafts was Bourbon Boulevard…

…where bourbon distillers created a small village of sorts…

…made of temporary gift shops (Jim Beam/Makers Mark)…

…that guests could enter (Heaven Hill/Wild Turkey)…

…to purchase things like memorabilia and sauces (no bourbon).

For actual bourbon beverages, you needed to enter the Spirit Garden…

…where you could go up to a beer or whiskey booth…

….but only after purchasing a ticket from another booth first.

From there, you could get your cocktail…

…enjoy it at a table, on a bale of hay…

…or while standing and enjoying a musical performance.

Kids, meanwhile, weren’t too far away in an enclosed play area with inflatables, games and more (with admission).

And, if the bourbon flowed a little quicker than you intended…

…you could head on up to the food court area…

…where a fine selection of BBQ (Bourbon County)…

…Mexican food (Taqueria Garcia)…

…and fish chicken combos awaited (Sharky’s).

I ended the evening right with two smoked salmon tacos from Fresh by Gene’s

…and this duck and foie gras sausage on a pretzel roll, topped with Boursin cheese and a salted duck egg (Red Top).

Both absolutely delicious!

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