Activities, events to mark ‘National Bourbon Weekend’

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By Kacie Goode

In a short time, National Bourbon Day in Bardstown has progressed from a mark on the calendar to a full-fledged weekend of entertainment.

A few years ago, the “holiday” was being celebrated mostly by distilleries, which would offer tours, discounts and bourbon specials. Last year, Bardstown upped the recognition with a ceremony on Spalding Hall Lawn and a ribbon cutting for a Prohibition exhibit at the Oscar Getz Museum. This year, however, officials wanted to do more.

Two major events — the Bardstown Bourbon Mixer and the Bourbon City Street Concert — have moved their dates to coincide with the celebration, which will begin on Friday.

“We wanted to really just vamp up National Bourbon Day and not just the day but the whole weekend,” said Randi Mouser, director of the Bardstown Main Street Program.

For the last few years, the Bardstown Bourbon Mixer has been held in September as a local kickoff to the Kentucky Bourbon Festival, and the street concert was held in July.

The National Bourbon Weekend will kick off 11 a.m. Friday with a celebration on Spalding Hall Lawn. At 6 p.m. that same day, the Bourbon City Mile will open at Spalding Hall and offer several different one-mile races. Paid registration is required and can be done at runsignup.com.

Rounding out Friday’s larger events will be the Bardstown Bourbon Mixer, which will run 8 p.m. to midnight at Preservation Distillery. Cost for that event is $100 per person and can be purchased at bardstownbourbonmixer.com.

Samantha Brady, executive director of the local Chamber of Commerce, said this year’s Mixer will include the presence of several distilleries, Southern-inspired foods and live entertainment, including the return of the Howl at the Moon dueling piano show.

The bourbon celebration will continue on Saturday with the Whiskey City Cruisers parked noon to 3 p.m. on the second block of North Third Street, followed by the free Bourbon City Street Concert 6 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. on North Third by Court Square.

Mouser is helping organize the street concert, and said in addition to a new date and earlier start time, this year’s concert also has a heavier presence of local talent.

“We have this vision to keep everything local,” Mouser said. “We want shopping local, dining local, so why not use our local talent.”

Headlining this year is Big Black Cadillac, a Bardstown favorite. Also performing will be Andrew Scott Newton, Ryan Raikes, the Louisville-based Shotgun Serenade, Kaleb Cecil, Dig-It, and the Blind Corn Liquor Pickers, which also features some local talent.

The concert is free to attend, and guests are encouraged to bring chairs. Guests can bring coolers of non-alcoholic beverages, and the Rotary Club will have a beer tent with beer for purchase. Jim Beam will also have a booth set up.

To prepare for the concert, North Third Street will be closed beginning at noon Saturday from the Visitor Center to Baskin Robbins, and East and West Flaget will also close from the city parking lot to the Farmers Market. Motorists should not park in these locations.

For additional information on Bourbon Weekend events, tickets, reservations and more, visit www.visitbardstown.com/nbd.

Distillery events planned

In addition to the citywide events marking National Bourbon Weekend, several local distilleries will also be celebrating America’s native spirit with exclusive tours and activities. For details on these events, cost and to make reservations or purchase tickets, go online to visitbardstown.com/nbd or visit individual distillery websites.

• Maker’s Mark — Offering free tours on Friday, which can be booked from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tours are also available Saturdays between those times and on Sundays 11:30-3:30.

• Barton 1792 — Offering free tours on Friday and Saturday, which will run at various times 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

• Heaven Hill — hosting “A Cure Under Construction” event to support the Flaget Cancer Center’s Project Hope. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday and cost is $250 per person.

• Lux Row — hosting a “Premium Experience” Sunday at 12:30 p.m. Tickets are $22. Also on Saturday, the distillery will offer a Flights, Cocktails and Music event on its patio 12:30 to 4 p.m., which does not require tickets.

• Jim Beam Distillery — offering the Caribou band, food and bourbon from noon to 3 p.m. on Friday, and will offer guided distillery tours Friday and Saturday, which can be booked between 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. and 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.

• Bardstown Bourbon Company — hosting a celebration featuring music, special cocktails, bottle signing, samples and more.

• Willett Distillery — offering two types of tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Reservations can be made on the distillery’s website.

• Preservation Distillery — leading tours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday and between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday. Booking can be done on the distillery website.

• Four Roses — offering guided tasting and tours from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and noon to 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. Booking can be done on the distillery website.