Get Your Bourbon On at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival

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Having family from the Bourbon Capitol of the World can make you numb to the spirit with the rich heritage. As our Research TravelingMom shares, the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown KY rekindles a love for the Kentucky legend.

The small town of Bardstown Kentucky has a spirited heritage that is celebrated each September during the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. Read about it now!
Photo Courtesy: Visit Bardstown

A City of Tradition

Nestled just 40 miles from the heart of Louisville, Kentucky, is the unassuming town of Bardstown. Named the most beautiful small town in America by Rand McNally, there truly is something special about this little town. It’s surrounded by rolling hills with green pastures, and horses and cows dot the hillsides.

But its beauty hides a secret. This sleepy little town holds the key to crafting Kentucky bourbon. In fact, 95% of the world’s bourbon is produced in Kentucky.

If you make the trip, bourbon or not, you have to stop for a slice of the best chocolate pie you will ever taste at Mammy’s Kitchen. Then take a stroll among the local shops on Main Street. The shops on Main Street are filled to the brim with one-of-a-kind products. If you make a trip around Christmas time, you’ll swear that a time machine transported you back to a simpler time, when people were still interested in stopping to say hello and chat for a while, even while caught in the hustle of holiday shopping.

The Kentucky Bourbon Festival

But back to the bourbon. Each September, the spirit is celebrated in a big way, and why shouldn’t it be? After all, bourbon is responsible for the town that Bardstown has become. TravelingMom Tidbit: there are more barrels of bourbon in Kentucky than there are people. So of course, the town holds an annual  Kentucky Bourbon Festival!


The festival has grown so much in recent years that many of the major players in the bourbon industry consider it can’t miss. You can expect to see bourbon from the likes of Barton 1792 Distillery, Buffalo Trace Distillery, Four Roses Distillery, Heaven Hill Distilleries Inc., Beam, Maker’s Mark Distillery, Rebel Yell, Wild Turkey Distillery, and Woodford Reserve Distillery. Who knows? With choices like these, you might just find your new favorite.

What to Expect

First things first – even though this is a bourbon festival, there are many activities and events that are suitable for the entire family. The whole clan will be fascinated by the balloon glow, an evening event that kicks off the festival. Numerous colorful hot air balloons are launched together at dusk, filling the sky with a gorgeous amber glow and setting the tone for the entire event.

Not all of the rest of the festival is off limits to children either, so keep that in mind while you plan. In fact, there is a whole family fun area set up at the festival with bounce houses, train rides, and other activities that keep the kids occupied and happy.

The small town of Bardstown Kentucky has a spirited heritage that is celebrated each September during the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. Read about it now!
Bourbon Barrel Races. Photo Courtesy: Kentucky Bourbon Festival

The kids can cheer on their parents as adults participate in the bourbon barrel races, which second to none. But be warned: the bourbon barrel relay isn’t as easy as you may think! The barrels being raced (rolled?) are 500 pounds and contestants are judged on accuracy and speed. The contestants are separated by gender. After all, we wouldn’t want to embarrass the men, would we, ladies?

Speaking of ladies’ events, I am loving the fact that a special “girls only” bourbon tasting takes place. Did you know that there is a right and a wrong way to sip bourbon? Entire classes are devoted to teaching would-be whisky enthusiasts the proper way to taste the historic spirit.

The small town of Bardstown Kentucky has a spirited heritage that is celebrated each September during the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. Read about it now!
Photo Courtesy:

Perhaps trying your hand at bourbon barrel making is more your speed? In fact, there is an issue with keeping up the high demand for bourbon barrels. If you find yourself particularly adept at making the barrels, perhaps the Independent Stave Company will give you a job!

There are many events that take place during the 6 day festival. Some are free, like the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History. Other events, such as the VIP loft experience, cost up to $400 per person. All of this is to say that prices vary wildly and the event can be as expensive or inexpensive as you would like it to be.

Tell us: Have you been to the Kentucky Bourbon Festival before?


The Kentucky Bourbon Festival

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About The Author

Allison Taylor loves to write and to travel! As Research TMOM she often wears her family out by over researching just about anything that she and her family are going to do! Allison has 2 boys ages 7 and 9 whose antics keep her very busy, and being married to a firefighter adds a whole other element to the chaos! You can check out her own travel blog at Family Vacations U.S.

2 Replies to “Get Your Bourbon On at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival”

  1. Yes we have gone for the last 5years now we plan on It every year best time you will ever have especially if you love burbon and we do hay we support our state you also need to try the burbon trail

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