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Kentucky Derby in Lousiville

Kentucky's Favorite Festivals

Home to some of the nation’s best bluegrass and folk music, famed distilleries, and, of course, premiere equestrian events and facilities, it’s no surprise Kentucky features some of the nation’s best annual festivals.

No matter your interest, give a look at some of our favorite annual Kentucky festivals, and plan your visit accordingly. 


1. Kentucky Derby & Derby Festival

Kentucky’s premiere event, the Kentucky Derby and Derby Festival features over 70 special events centered on the iconic horse derby.

The festival is hosted throughout downtown Louisville each May. Check out must-sees like the marathon, balloonfest, and Thunder Over Louisville fireworks show.

Best Annual Festivals in Kentucky

Bluegrass Festivals in Kentucky

2. Kentucky Bluegrass & Bourbon

Kentucky’s two most prized exports – bluegrass and bourbon – all in one fun-filled weekend at Louisville Water Tower Park in early September. But wait, there’s more – barbecue, craft vendors, and more. This is the premiere end-of-summer celebration in Louisville.

3. Festival of the Bluegrass 

Over in Lexington, the Festival of the Bluegrass is a favorite among eastern KY festivalgoers each and every June.

Make the short drive in from nearby Georgetown or Paris to the Kentucky Horse Park for several days of great jams, marketplace shopping, and more.

4. Forecastle Festival

Are you a fan of great live music? Then check out the Forecastle Festival, held in Louisville at Louisville Waterfront Park in July. The fest is just under 10 years old, but it's quickly risen up the ranks, now known for hosting some of the world’s biggest up-and-coming indie rock, hip-hop, folk, and pop artists on the planet.

5. Rolex Kentucky

Best Annual Festivals in Kentucky

Midway at the State Fair

Another of Kentucky’s excellent equestrian events, the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in April features tons of saddled fun and for the whole family.

The event is hosted at Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. Make the short drive in from Richmond or Georgetown and enjoy visiting Lexington.

6. Kentucky Bourbon Festival

Similarly, over in Bardstown, the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in mid September brings great drinks, jazz, dancing, and plenty more at a handful of venues.

Check the festival event schedule and mark your itinerary accordingly. Make the drive in from Shepherdsville or Campbellsville

7. Kentucky State Fair

Who doesn’t love the fair? The Kentucky State Fair, held in Louisville in August, brings all the classic state fair fun and amenities to Freedom Hall and the Kentucky Exposition Center.

Check out the Midway, big-name concert events at University of Louisville's Cardinal Stadium, endless vendors and festival food, and the fun at Kentucky Kingdom.

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Best Western Hotels Along the Way:

1

Best Western Campbellsville Inn

1400 E Broadway Street, Campbellsville KY 42718-1569
Phone: (270) 465-7001  |  Fax: (270) 465-4949  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

2

Best Western Plus Georgetown Corporate Center Hotel

132 Darby Drive, Georgetown KY 40324-8715
Phone: (502) 868-0055  |  Fax: (502) 863-1586  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

3

Best Western Louisville East

9802 Bunsen Way, Louisville KY 40299-2548
Phone: (502) 499-0000  |  Fax: (502) 493-2905  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

4

Best Western Paris Inn

2011 Alverson Drive, Paris KY 40361-2207
Phone: (859) 987-0779  |  Fax: (859) 987-6566  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

5

Best Western Richmond Hotel

100 Eastern Bypass, Richmond KY 40475-2302
Phone: (859) 623-9220  |  Fax: (859) 624-1458  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

6

Best Western Shepherdsville

211 S Lakeview Drive, Shepherdsville KY 40165-7128
Phone: (502) 543-7097  |  Fax: (502) 543-2407  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

7

Best Western Winchester Hotel

1307 W Lexington Avenue, Winchester KY 40391-1128
Phone: (859) 744-7210  |  Fax: (859) 744-3354  |  Hotel Details & Reservations »

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More to See in Kentucky

  • Spotlight Lexington

    Spotlight Lexington

    Visit Lexington and explore everything from distilleries to historic sites. Enjoy pleasant indoor attractions, and a wealth of outdoor recreation.

    Explore Lexington ►
  • Kentucky Horse Trails

    Kentucky Horse Trails

    Choose from the never-ending trails of national forests to horseback rides near inner-city stables this summer in Kentucky.

    Saddle Up! ►
  • Spotlight Louisville

    Spotlight Louisville

    Enjoy a tour through Louisville on your next visit to Kentucky. Hiking trails, bourbon distilleries, and even the Kentucky Derby make it pure excitement.

    Check Out Louisville ►
  • Kentucky Airport Hotels

    Kentucky Airport Hotels

    Find hotels near major Kentucky airports like the Louisville International Airport and Lexington's Blue Grass Airport.

    Hotels Near Kentucky Airports ►
  • Kentucky Universities

    Kentucky Universities

    Check out hotels near top Kentucky universities. Explore area attractions or enjoy campus tours and college sports.

    KY Universities ►
  • Kentucky Outdoors

    Kentucky Outdoors

    Visit scenic Kentucky for outdoor activities like hiking, biking, fishing, and even caving in the beautiful Bluegrass State.

    Explore KY Outdoors! ►
  • Kentucky Bourbon Trail

    Kentucky Bourbon Trail

    Tour the Kentucky Bourbon Trail distilleries,, home of Jim Beam, Maker's Mark, and Wild Turkey distilleries, plus nearby bluegrass venues and BBQ restaurants.

    Explore the Kentucky Bs ►
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