Summer is a great time to visit Louisville! There are many activities, festivals, concerts and all sorts of fun things to do, both during the week and on weekends, as well.
The Kentucky Shakespeare Festival (www.kyshakes.org) performs classics from the Bard in Central Park in Historic Old Louisville (www.oldlouisville.com). This year is the 50th Season of Summer Shakespeare in the Park! It is now the longest running Shakespeare Festival of its kind in North America. The season started on June 16th with “The Tempest” and the final performance was July 18th with “Twelfth Night” at 10:00 AM. Admission is free and donations are accepted. Kentucky Shakespeare is committed to the fundamental belief that the arts are for everyone, and to their “Free Will” campaign, which allows them to bring the summer season of professional theatre to the public free of charge through the generous support of their funders, donors and community. The works of Shakespeare are used to enrich our community through accessible, professional, theatre experiences that educate, inspire and entertain people of all ages.
Another wonderful “Period” festival is the Annual Jane Austen Festival at Historic Locust Grove (http://locustgrove.org/index.htm). Inside the Visitor’s Center, a Regency Emporium features booths with beautiful silk shawls, fabric, bonnets, jewelry, and antiquarian books. You can even have your silhouette cut! There is also a fantastic silent auction with Jane Austen books, movie memorabilia and tea-themed baskets and much more. Fans from all over the country came for this event wearing period costumes and you feel as if you accidentally stepped in a period movie. This year’s featured author is Kim Wilson, member of the Jane Austen Society in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her works include, “In the Garden with Jane Austen” and “Tea with Jane Austen”. There are more talks and demonstrations to attend and the ever-popular Regency Style Show.
The Second Street Neighborhood Association presents The Annual Old Louisville “Hidden Treasures” Garden Tour (www.holidayhousetour.com). This walking tour features ten gardens in the center of the Old Louisville Historic Preservation District – the largest residential Victorian neighborhood in the United States. “Outdoor rooms are the focus of this year’s tour,” said Judy Payne, the event chairperson. “The homes selected on Third and Fourth Street feature terrific outdoor living spaces in the garden.” Highlights this year include examples of an outdoor entertaining area and a variety of water features and sculptures. Several of the gardens were designed by master gardeners and represent a full spectrum of time on a master garden plan – from a first-year garden to more mature gardens. With the support and backing of the Second Street Neighborhood Association, as well as sponsors and volunteers, the Annual “Hidden Treasures” Garden Tour has become a successful Old Louisville summertime tradition.
Anytime you squeeze more than 100 bands and more than 20,000 people together over the course of a three-day festival, you can rightly expect a bit of excitement! The wildly popular 2010 Forecastle Music, Arts and Activism Festival made a spectacular debut in its new venue on the Ohio River at Waterfront Park. Judging by the happy crowds, it seems to have found its ideal home. While the festival has had its moments in the past, there has been nothing to match the feeling of standing in front of a stage listening to a band from Scotland while the last remnants of a pink Kentucky sunset fade behind the George Rogers Clark Memorial Bridge. It felt like being at home and an event all at once… the best of both worlds!
The festival has never enjoyed a better layout. The West Stage, the big one, was the main event. There are two other stages and you can wear yourself out hopping from one band to another. Along the perimeter of the new venue were setups for food, beer, art, eco-warriors and even a circus. With the Ohio River as a backdrop, the aesthetics were ideal!
The Louisville Blues and Barbeque Festival (www.bisigimpactgroup.com/blues) at the Water Tower on Zorn Avenue celebrates its 12th year in July 2010. You can sink your teeth into some fabulous barbeque and then wet your whistle with some smoking hot blues!
Late July and August Events:
The legendary Churchill Downs (www.churchilldowns.com) will be the home for the first ever HullabaLou Music Festival (www.hullabaloufest.com/hullabalou/line-up/schedule). Over 65 bands will perform on five different stages on July 23rd, 24th and 25th. Acts include Dave Matthews Band, Bon Jovi, Kenny Chesney, Steve Miller Bank, Jason Aldean, Al Green, Zac Brown Band and The Avett Brothers, Gladys Knight, Loretta Lynn, War, The Doobie Brothers and many, many others.
Churchill Downs continues to host events between the spring and fall meets with Fork, Cork & Style, a first-ever event on Sunday, September 12 from 1:00PM – 10:00PM. Bringing to life its theme of “Fork, Cork & Style”, the festival will present signature foods from around the country, celebrity chef cooking demonstrations, a wine tasting featuring 150 elite brands and innovative ways to dress up your next tailgating party. Emeril Lagasse is one of the celebrities who will kick off the event. The cost is $60 for general admission for both the food and wine events. For more information, visit www.forkcorkandstyle.com.
And the music goes on all summer long at Fourth Street Live! (www.4thstlive.com) with their Free Summer Concert Series from June to September! There are free shows for all ages before 9:00PM. A legal guardian must accompany patrons under 18. After 9:00PM, patrons must be at least 21 years of age. Visit 4thstreetlive.com (www.4thstlive.com/hot_country_nights.cfm) for a full concert series schedule. Free parking after 6:00PM at the Fourth Street Live! Garage, located on 5th Street.
Louisville enjoys all major performing arts such as ballet, opera, theater and, this month, we will be enjoying Jersey Boys at the Kentucky Center of the Performing Arts (www.kentuckycenter.org).
“Jersey Boys” is a documentary-style musical based on the lives of one of the most successful 1960s rock’roll groups – The Four Seasons (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Four_Seasons_(group)). The musical opened on Broadway to rave reviews in 2005. It has since had a national North American tour, along with productions in the West End, Toronto, and Melbourne. “Jersey Boys” won four 2006 Tony Awards including Best Musical, Best Actor (John Lloyd Young), Best Featured Actor (Christian Hoff), and Best Lighting Design (Howell Binkley).
Louisville is also home to The Louisville Palace Theater (www.louisvillepalace.com), a national treasure of Spanish-baroque architecture. From July 16th through August 28th, they will be presenting the world acclaimed “Hitchcock – The Movie Series” every Friday and Saturday evening at 8:00PM. There is a 2:00PM matinee on Saturday. All movie admissions are $5.00. For more information, contact the Louisville Palace box office at 625 S. Fourth Street by calling 502-583-4555 or visit their website.
To give our readers a bit of history of this remarkable building, The Louisville Palace is a theatre, in downtown Louisville, Kentucky, located in the city’s so-called theater district, on the east side of Fourth Street, between Broadway and Chestnut Street. It has a seating capacity of 2,700 people. This historic landmark opened at 10:15AM on Saturday, September 1, 1928 at a purported cost of over two million dollars–a whole lot of money in those days! It was designed by architect John Eberson. Although the building’s outside facade is dynamic in appearance, it doesn’t provide a clue as to the immensity and spectacular design of the interior of the theatre. Upon entering the lobby and grand foyer, the Spanish-baroque motif begins its development. Cobalt blue, bursts of red and gold indirectly light all of the niches, coves and entrances. In the waiting area between the foyer and theatre itself, above is a curved, vaulted ceiling with 139 sculptures of the faces of historical figures – the eternal greats. In a central portion one finds plaster busts of Socrates, Beethoven, Dante and even John Eberson himself! The actual theater room inside The Palace is heavily ornamented and displays an imitation nighttime sky on the ceiling. In any direction, there is something magnificent to please the eye and spark the imagination. “Enter and view with astonishment the magnificence that the hand of man has wrought. The more you look, the more you will see.”—The Courier Journal September 1, 1928.
Today, the theatre features an array of popular movies, both old and new. It is also a special place to see a music performance, and many popular artists have graced its stage: Bob Dylan, Jewel, Hilary Duff, Queensrÿche, Godsmack, Jonas Brothers, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Aretha Franklin, Dame Edna, Tom Waits and many, many others.
And nothing says summer like a good state fair! The Kentucky State Fair (www.kystatefair.org) is one of the largest in the region and all of the exhibits are in air-conditioned comfort at the Kentucky Exposition Center (www.kyexpo.org). The fair runs from Thursday, August 19, 2010 – Sunday, August 29, 2010. Main stage concerts, for which there will be an additional charge, include Tim McGraw, Rascal Flats, Sugarland and Jeff Dunham. At the fair, you will find the latest in advances in agriculture, daily entertainment with free concerts, home-made product and produce showcases, commercial exhibits, and livestock of every imaginable species. There are also horse shows including the 4-H Horse Show, the Miniature Horse Show, the Quarter Horse Show and the most prestigious World’s Championship Horse Show of Saddlebreds. This exciting event, held annually in conjunction with the Kentucky State Fair, crowns world champion saddlebreds in different divisions. The show attracts people from all across the US and from around the world. More than 2,000 horses compete for over $1 million in awards.
You can find more information about this remarkable horse breed at Wikipia, The Free Encyclopedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Saddlebred.
Horse enthusiasts will also enjoy the following two events:
- The 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games (www.alltechfeigames.com) will be held for the very first time outside Europe at the Kentucky Horse Park (www.kyhorsepark.com) in Lexington, Kentucky, September 25th through October 10th. While in Kentucky, don’t miss the chance to visit Louisville – the state’s largest city!
- The 2010 and 2011 Breeder’s Cup World Championships (www.breederscup.com) will be held again in Louisville, Kentucky at Churchill Downs (www.churchilldowns.com) on November 5th and 6th, 2010.
As if the above were not enough, there are yet more things to do while visiting Louisville:
- The Speed Art Museum (www.speedmuseum.org) showcases the work of Pop Art’s most famous artist, Andy Warhol, through October 31st.
- The Ironman Competition will be held on August 29, 2010 (www.ironmanlouisville.com). The Ford Ironman Louisville made its debut in 2007 and has quickly become one of North America’s most popular Ironman races. The 2.4 mile swim for Ford Ironman Louisville takes place in the Ohio River and the bike and run course goes through various areas of Louisville to include not only downtown, but also Prospect, Clifton, the city of LaGrange, Clarksville, Ind. and Butchertown. The race will also feature a spectacular finish at Fourth St. Live.
- 41st Annual Street Rod Nationals will once again return to Louisville in August. The Street Rod Nationals is the world’s largest Street Rod gathering. It is hosted, annually, by the NSRA (National Street Rod Association). Every year that it has been held in its current location in Louisville, the event has topped more than 10,000 cars. All of these cars are “Pre-49″ (manufactured before the year 1949).
- The Louisville Bats (http://louisville.bats.milb.com/index.jsp?sid=t416) continue the 2010 Season at Slugger Field. The Louisville Bats are the AAA minor league baseball affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.
- The St. James Court Art Show (www.stjamescourtartshow.com) has happened every year for the last 54 years on the first weekend in October. This incredible show – the largest of it’s kind with 750 juried artists – will start Friday, October 1st and run until Sunday, October 3rd.
- The 34th Annual Old Louisville Holiday House Tour (www.holidayhousetour.com) will take place December 4th and 5th.