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Fest of Ville

Known for our bourbon, horse racing and baseball bats, Louisville is a town of many strengths. Humbly, and over many years, Louisville has developed the reputation as a fantastic tourist location, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors every year to a unique assortment of world­ famous festivals.

Once described as the “Gateway to the South”, Louisville makes good on our promise of progressive southern hospitality by welcoming people from across the globe to more festivals than you could shake a stick at.


St James Court Art Show

Founded in 1957, the St James Court Art Show is one of the largest juried fine arts and fine crafts shows in North America. Showcasing over 750 artisans and drawing in nearly 300,000 visitors each year, the St. James Court Art Show is a tribute to Louisville’s rich cultural and artistic legacy.

  • Dates:Oct 2-4, 2015
  • Location:Old Louisville
  • Cost:Free
  • Tips:

    Looking for a particular artist? Use the St. James Interactive map available from the show’s website.

  • No Pets Allowed No Musical Instruments No Bikes No Skateboards No Rollerblades

Butchertown Art Fair

Described as a mix of “hip and funk with the right amount of edge,” the Butchertown Art Fair offers a wide range of great art, music, food and beer. Browse the many vendors with art ranging from photography to pottery in one of the oldest parts of the city.

  • Dates:=June 6-7, 2015
  • Location:800 & 900 Blocks of E. Washington Street
  • Cost:Free
  • Tips:

    While visiting the fair, be sure to chow­ down at one of the many food trucks that line up on the side street.

  • Tips:

    Don’t feel like dealing with the hassle of parking? Make use of the complimentary bike valet service.

  • Pets Allowed

Cherokee Triangle Art Fair

The Cherokee Triangle Art Fair is a juried fair with more than 200 artists’ booths. Held every year by the Louisville Cherokee Triangle Association, the event acts as a fundraiser with any proceeds from the event going towards the community and neighborhood.

  • Dates:Apr 25-26, 2015
  • Location:Cherokee Triangle
  • Cost:Free
  • Tips:

    While strolling the fair, make sure to revel in the eclectic mix of architectural styles in the neighborhood. Also, grab a bite to eat and have a seat under the shade and beauty of one of the mature neighborhood trees, some over one hundred years old.

  • No Pets Allowed No Skateboards No Rollerblades



The Forecastle Festival is a three­ day music, art, and environmental activism festival held annually in Louisville, Kentucky, since 2002. Voted one of Rolling Stone’s “Coolest Festivals”, the show attracts more than 75,000 fans to Waterfront Park. Past performers include The Black Keys, The Avett Brothers, My Morning Jacket, The Flaming Lips and Widespread Panic.

  • Dates:Jul 17-19, 2015
  • Location:Louisville Waterfront Park
  • Cost:GA Passes:
    Weekend: $199.50
    1 Day: $84.50 - $94.50
  • Tips:

    Consider upgrading your experience with VIP passes for an extra $200. VIP passes grant fans access to air conditioned lounges, exclusive bars and bathrooms, as well as exclusive Forecastle merchandise.

  • No Guns No Alcohol No Umbrellas No Coolers No Chairs No Pets Allowed No Cameras

Kentucky Reggae Festival

A truly Caribbean atmosphere in the heart of the Bluegrass, the Kentucky Reggae Festival brings together reggae and bourbon lovers for a memorable music and culinary experience.

  • Dates:May 23-25, 2015
  • Location:Louisville Water Tower
  • Cost:$10 before 6pm,
    $14 after 6pm,
    kids 10 and under free
  • Tips:

    Stop by the vendor market for an authentic view of Jamaican arts, crafts, jewelry and more.

  • No Food No Pets Allowed Lawn chairs and blankets welcome

Jug Band Jubilee

As the storied birthplace of jug band music, the city of Louisville hosts the Jug Band Jubilee annually on the shores of the Ohio River. The National Jug Band Jubilee is a gathering of the nation’s best jug bands, with past festivals including performances by Maria Muldaur, Juggernaut Jug Band and the Steel City Jug Slammers.

  • Dates:Sep 19, 2015
  • Location:Brown Forman Amphitheater, Waterfront Park
  • Cost:Free
  • Tips:

    Coming in from out of town? The Ramada Downtown North offers discounts for Jug Band Jubilee attendees.

  • No Alcohol No Coolers No Pets Allowed

Garvin Gate Blues Festival

The Garvin Gate Blues Festival is a two­ day arts and music festival held the second week of October in Historic Old Louisville. Considered one of the most prestigious blues festivals between Chicago and Mississippi, the festival’s headliners have included Ray Fuller, The Blurerockers, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials, and Milwaukee Slim.

  • Dates:Oct 9-10, 2015
  • Location:Historic Old Louisville
  • Cost:Free
  • Tips:

    It’s easy to get distracted by the amazing architecture surrounding the festival. Old Louisville is home to the largest Victorian preservation neighborhood in the USA.

  • No Alcohol No Coolers No Pets Allowed

Kentucky Bluegrass & Bourbon Experience

The Kentucky Bluegrass & Bourbon Experience melds all of the best qualities of Louisville into one epic festival. Formerly known as the Bluegrass Music Festival, this year’s event has been expanded to offer attendees the opportunity to taste some of the area’s most popular bourbons that help to make Kentucky the bourbon capitol of the world.

  • Dates:Aug 5-7, 2015
  • Location:Louisville Water Tower
  • Cost:$10 before 6pm,
    $14 after 6pm,
    kids 10 and under free
  • Tips:

    Stop by the Four Roses Bourbon Bar to sample some of Kentucky’s most unique craft bourbons.

  • No Food No Pets Allowed Lawn chairs and blankets welcome

Abbey Road on the River

Do you like the Beatles? Well, you’re in luck! Come check out Abbey Road on the River for some high-quality entertainment that is fun for the whole family.

  • Dates:May 21-25, 2015
  • Location:Galt House Hotel / Belvedere Festival Park
  • Cost:$35 for General Admission

Louisville Blues, Brews, and BBQ Festival

Blues, Brews and BBQ. What more do you need? Take a bite out of some of the best BBQ in town while you relax to the sweet sounds of Blues music with a cold beer in hand. Don't worry, there will be plenty of napkins available!

  • Dates:July 10-12, 2015
  • Location:Louisville Water Tower Park
  • Cost:$10
  • No Alcohol No Pets Allowed No Food

Louisville Midwest Blood Fest 2015

For fans of metal music, we salute you! The Midwest Blood Fest is a collection of bands who like to play loud and uptempo. So come out, mosh a bit and have some fun!

  • Dates:Feb 6-7, 2015
  • Location:Nelligan Hall, 2010 Portland Ave, Louisville, KY
  • Cost:Tickets start at $20 for a single day pass, but for those who want the full experience, it’s $40 for a weekend pass.

Film & Theater

Humana Festival

The Humana festival is an internationally acclaimed event that has resulted in the production of more than 400 plays, representing the work of more than 200 playwrights. The Humana Foundation’s support of Actors Theatre and the Humana Festival represents the longest continuous, and current partnership between a corporation and a theatre in the country. More than 30 foreign countries are normally represented by audience members at the festival each year.

  • Dates:Mar 4 - Apr 12, 2015
  • Location:Actors Theatre of Louisville
  • Cost:To be announced

Louisville Zombie Attack

Every year on August 29th, Louisville gets invaded by 30,000 zombies in the world’s largest annual zombie walk. Started in 2005 by two friends, John King & Lyndi Lou, the idea for the Louisville Zombie Attack was originally conceived while planning for a themed birthday party. The event will contain multiple contests, bands and DJs. Don’t miss out on the Braaaaaiins.

  • Dates:Aug 29th Every Year
  • Location:Bardstown & Eastern Parkway intersection or Mid City Mall
  • Cost:Free
  • Tips:

    Download the Louisville Zombie Attack mobile app to stay abreast of updates and access a map of where things are happening.

  • Tips:

    Is your costume good enough to win one of the many contests? Enter into the Gross Zombie, Hot Zombie, King & Queen Zombie contests or aim for the best in show award-The Golden Machete.

Fright Night Film Festival

Fright Night Film Festival is an annual horror film festival held in Louisville that attracts over 16,000 horror, science fiction, fantasy and action film fans from all around the country. Notable guests have included William Shatner, Stan Lee, Gillian Anderson and Michael Rooker.

  • Dates:Oct. 16-18, 2015
  • Location:Galt House Hotel
  • Cost:Single Day Ticket: $20 Weekend Ticket: $30
  • Tips:

    Get your seats early by upgrading to a VIP Ticket for only $75.

  • Tips:

    Visit the Gore Store to browse hundreds of horror collectibles and other merchandise.

Lebowski Fest

Lebowski Fest is a traveling festival that celebrates all things related to the Coen Brothers’ cult classic, The Big Lebowski. Consisting of The Movie Party and The Bowling Party, the festival takes place over two days. Although there are now over 30 cities where Lebowski Fests take place, Louisville is proud to call itself home to the first.

  • Dates:July 10-11, 2015
  • Location:Executive Lawn & Executive Strike & Spare
  • Cost:TBA
  • Tips:

    Brush the dust off your best robes and shine your sunglasses as costumes are strongly encouraged at this event.

Louisville LGBT Film Festival

Since 2011, the LGBT Film Festival has promoted and advocated for equality and fair treatment of all. The subject matter is broad and all-encompassing, exploring everything from coming-of-age struggles in the LGBT community to themes of homophobia or the concept of “outness”. One particular theme, however, is omnipresent-love!

  • Dates:Oct 16-18, 2015
  • Location:Not Yet Available
  • Cost:Not Yet Available

Jewish Film Festival

Featuring and celebrating the legacy of Jewish actors, writers, and directors of Hollywood across the performing arts, this month long experience offers a variety of different films that explore different cultural themes. From comedies to tragedy, there is bound to be something for every taste. The festival occurs throughout most of the month of February and prices as well as locations vary across the various showings, however most will be screened at Village 8 Theatres.

Family & Fun

Annual Street Rod Nationals

Every summer, 15,000 street rods, customs, trucks and classics migrate to Louisville to attend the Annual Street Rod Nationals. Held at the Kentucky Exposition Center, the fairgrounds are transformed into a gearhead’s wonderland for an entire weekend. Meet the owners of the cars or browse the 350 manufacturer booths to get ideas for your next project car.

  • Dates:Aug 6-9, 2015
  • Location:Kentucky Exposition Center
  • Cost:Adult Tickets: $15 Children Ticket: $6
    Children under 6: Free
  • Tips:

    Trade your spare parts at the Street Rod Nationals swap meet.

Kentucky State Fair

The Kentucky State Fair is an 11 day celebration of the history, heritage and culture of the Bluegrass State. More than 600,000 attend America’s largest indoor fair, which uses over 1.2 million square feet of exhibit space at the Kentucky Exposition Center. While its roots are in agriculture, The Kentucky State Fair has a variety of entertainment options for children and adults.

  • Dates:Apr 20-30, 2015
  • Location:Kentucky Exposition Center
  • Cost:Adult $10 Child $6 Senior $6 Infants Parking $8
  • Tips:

    No state fair trip is complete without visiting the carnival rides and game tents.


Santa’s Safari

Santa is making a special stop at the Louisville Zoo and he’s bringing a bunch of his North Pole friends along too. Enjoy a visit and photo with Santa, plus meet Mrs. Claus and Frosty the Snowman. Admission includes yummy refreshments, a fun holiday craft, special animal encounter stations, story­telling, festive sing­alongs and more.

  • Dates:Dec 11-12 & 18-19, 2015
  • Location:Louisville Zoo
  • Cost:View website for details
  • Tips:

    Bring your camera to grab a snapshot with Mr. Claus.

Harvest Homecoming Festival 2015

The Harvest Homecoming Festival is a big draw for Southern Indiana. Home to over 100 food booths, craft booths and music events, Harvest Homecoming has something for everyone! It is over a week long and starts on the first Saturday in October.

  • Dates:October 10, 2015
  • Location:431 Pearl St. New Albany, IN
  • Cost:Free

Derby City Comedy Festival

The Derby City Comedy Festival brings a ton of comedy industry to Louisville, Kentucky to showcase everything wonderfully weird about the Derby City. Previous industry reps included Holly Gabrielson from TBS, Heather Henry-Parker from Disney, and Stephen Brown from Fox, among others.

  • Dates:May 15, 2015
  • Location:Laughing Derby
  • Cost:Mid City Mall, 1250 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY 40204


Great Steamboat Race

First run in 1963, the Great Steamboat Race is an annual competition held as part of the Kentucky Derby Festival that faces two steamboats against each other in a race on the Ohio River. Specatators are allowed to watch the event from the shoreline or actually participate in the race by riding on one of the two steamboats, the Belle of Louisville and the Belle of Cincinnati.

  • Dates:April 29, 2015
  • Location:The Ohio River
  • Cost:Belle of Louisville tickets: $130, Belle of Cincinnati: $80 (Both includes food, drink and entertainment)
  • Tips:

    If riding on one of the boats, arrive plenty early as you don’t want to be left behind when the boats depart.

Great Balloon Glow

The Great Balloon Glow is a companion event to the Derby Festival Balloon Race. Come join the fun and watch as balloon pilots fire their burners and inflate their balloons to a special musical score. With 50,000 in attendance, the balloon glow is a great event to attend with the whole family.

  • Dates:Apr 24, 2015
  • Location:The Ohio River
  • Cost:Free with purchase of Pegasus Pin
  • Tips:

    Held the following morning, the Great Balloon Race showcases these same balloons in a race across the bluegrass. If you enjoyed the Ballon Glow, you won’t want to miss the race.

Thunder Over Louisville

Colorful fireworks light up the Louisville skyline every year at Thunder Over Louisville, North America’s largest annual fireworks display. Lasting for over half an hour and synchronized to music, the event attracts over 625,000 people.

  • Dates:Apr 18, 2015
  • Location:Waterfront Park
  • Cost:Free with Purchase of Pegasus Pin
  • Tips:

    Arrive early to secure a place on the Waterfront’s greenspace. If you don’t want to deal with traffic on the way home, consider watching Thunder from the convenience of one of the hundreds of boats that anchor in the river.


Although Thurby may sound like the name of a child’s stuffed animal, Louisvillians know it as the day for locals to enjoy the track and celebrate all things Kentucky. Formally recognized by Churchill Downs in 2014, Thurby attracted 25,000­ - 30,000 people.

  • Dates:Apr 30, 2015
  • Location:Churchill Downs
  • Cost:TBD
  • Tips:

    Enroll in the contest for your chance to win a pair of box seats to races on Oaks and Derby.

Kentucky Oaks

Held on the Friday before the Kentucky Derby, the Kentucky Oaks is a Grade I stakes race for three­-year-old thoroughbred fillies. While the Kentucky Derby is often associated with out­-of-­towners, “The Oaks” has always been considered a local event, attracting large crowds of Louisvillians and others from Kentuckiana. Watch from the grandstands or join the infield, which hosts numerous musical attractions, boardwalk games, as well as food and alcoholic beverages.

  • Dates:May 1, 2015
  • Location:Churchill Downs
  • Cost:TBD

Kentucky Derby

Known as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports,” the Kentucky Derby is held annually on the first Saturday in May and caps off the two­ week­ long Kentucky Derby Festival. In recent years, the Kentucky Derby has attracted nearly 170,000, who travel to Louisville to sip on mint juleps and gamble their paychecks on the largest horse race in the United States.

  • Dates:May 2, 2015
  • Location:Churchill Downs
  • Cost:TBD

Food & Drink

A Taste of Louisville

Louisville’s current reputation as one of the top “foodie” cities in the U.S. has some deep roots. For over the past 40 years the annual Taste of Louisville, put together by the Kentucky Restaurant Association, has been supporting the community and charity while also exposing attendees to a smorgasbord of delicacies from some of the city’s best chefs and restaurants.

  • Dates:October 7th, 2015
  • Location:Louisville Executive Aviation
  • Cost:TBD
  • Tips:

    Register early and get early bird special tickets for $35

Great Chili Cook Off

Chili is one dish that causes just about anyone who spends any time in the kitchen to think theirs is the best around. Each year in Louisville, Phoenix Hill Tavern looks to settle this argument locally by hosting over 75 individual and local restaurants and their versions of this classic meal.

  • Dates:Not Released Yet
  • Location:Phoenix Hill Tavern
  • Cost:Free
  • Tips:

    Chili cooking not your strong suit? Enter your name to compete in one of the many Chili Games ranging from Jalapeno Eating Contest, Spam Put Contest or Chili Head­Gear Contest.

Louisville Tailspin Ale Fest

Conceived and organized for the first time in 2014 as a celebration of all things craft beer, the Tailspin Ale Fest offers the public a unique experience around the craft brewing phenomenon. The main attraction is the wide variety of craft beer to sample, but local bourbons and other spirits are also available for your tasting pleasure. Founded by DRAFT Magazine president Trevor Cravens and HB Productions owner Tisha Dean Gainey, the event is a well organized journey through the wide world of craft beer and all proceeds are directly donated to the Dare To Care food bank.

  • Dates:February 21
  • Location:Louisville Executive Aviation Hangar, 2700 Gast Blvd.
  • Cost:$15 for designated driver, $45 General Admission and $75 VIP with early entrance
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Why Louisville Is Awesome

Known across the world as the home of the Kentucky Derby, Louisville will forever be associated with the most famous two minutes in sports. What you may not have known is that the River City has so many more festivals and events to offer! From Art Shows, to Music Festivals and Bourbon Events throughout the year, we’re proud to showcase why Louisville is truly a city full of Fest-Of-Villes!