The Kentucky Bourbon Festival

Now that we're past the oppressiveness of summer heat and the State Fair and its terrifyingly odd fried foods are behind us, it's time for festival season in Kentucky. This weekend is a great one for everyone!

Bourbon Whiskey Barrels
Attribution Some rights reserved by Colbyt69
That's right. If the festival were a person, it would get to legally enjoy its namesake.

Held every year in Bardstown, Kentucky, the Bourbon Festival celebrates Kentucky's native spirit with events like a barrel-making demonstration, a balloon glow, tours of historic Bardstown, a free country music concert, bourbon tastings and countless other events. You can see the entire list at

When my husband and I first started dating, before I was employed in the spirits industry, we made a trip to the Bourbon Festival. I'm not a bourbon drinker, a bad experience in college ruined me on it. However, I love history and am interested in how things are made, so the festival offered lots of things for me to enjoy. For my husband, it was pretty close to the best thing ever. He loves bourbon. He has strong opinions about how it should be enjoyed. While my favorite booths were ones where the exhibitors showed how pioneers made bourbon, his favorite place was the tasting booth.

Renovating the Jim Beam distillary
AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike Some rights reserved by sniggie
You guys. Even I, a non-bourbon drinker relegated to drinking the only beer on hand (Bud Light), was impressed by the bourbon tasting booth. Admission offered to adults only (of course), nearly every single bourbon produced in Kentucky is featured. When we attended, the procedure was to buy tickets. Then, those tickets could be redeemed for tasting samples of your choice of bourbon. Of course, the "price" of tastings varied. My husband took this opportunity to taste bourbon varieties that he'd never had before or that were out of his price range at the liquor store. He tasted a variety including the coveted and hard-to-find Pappy Van Winkle 23-year old bourbon. He was in heaven!

You've got until Sunday to visit the Bourbon Festival in Bardstown. Many events and demonstrations are free. Some require advance tickets or payment for entry. Check out the festival's website for more information.

From someone whose livelihood currently depends on our state's signature spirit, thanks for supporting the industry! Please drink responsibly and designate a sober driver.