The Kentucky State Fair opens Thursday in Louisville and runs through Aug. 30. Every day in the Gourmet Garden, located in South Wing A Lobby, there will be demonstrations by chefs in addition to competitions, including the Kentucky Farm to School Junior Chef contest, Cast Iron Chef showdowns, and the Evan Williams Bourbon Cooking Competition on Friday.
General admission at the gate is $10 for adults, $6 for seniors, $6 for ages 6 to 12, and free for ages 5 and younger. Parking is $8 a vehicle.
The fair opens with the Kentucky Commodity Appreciation Breakfast at 7 a.m. Thursday in The Great Kentucky Cook Out Tent south of Broadbent Arena. Get a giant pork chop, then stroll through the exhibition halls to see the best in cakes, canned goods and many other categories. And in the Sivori food court, you can sample the latest in ultimate fair food: the Philly cheesesteak doughnut burger, for $12; also, hot brown on a stick and deep-fried Derby Pie return this year.
■ Mark your calendars: the Jefferson Street Soiree, featuring food and drinks from Jefferson Street restaurants and breweries, returns this year from 6 to 10 p.m. Sept. 16.
■ Coba Cocina, 2041 Richmond Road, continues its dinner series with A Taste of Brazil, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 26. Chef Jonathan Lundy will prepare five courses of traditional Brazilian fare with a pinch of Kentucky essence. The menu includes shrimp and rice croquettes, black-eyed pea fritters with shrimp, seared palm hearts with Limestone Bibb lettuce and heirloom tomatoes, southern fried coxinha with catupiry cream gravy and more. The passion fruit caipirinhas (the national cocktail of Brazil) will be served in Mason jars, and there will be a selection of Brazilian beer. There also will be a flamenco and Spanish guitar duet performed by Alma Gitana. Dinner is $55 (including reception, food, tax and tip). Make reservations at (859) 523-8484 or contact TJ Cox at email@example.com
■ Grimes Mill Winery, 6707 Grimes Mill Road, is offering pasta-making classes. The next one is 5 to 9 p.m. Aug. 26, and it focuses on flavoring and filling pasta. You will learn how to make ricotta cheese as a filling, and stuff and shape your pasta into delicious morsels, which you will enjoy for dinner. Cost $25; call (859) 543-9691 to reserve a spot or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The winery also will have its Dog Days of Summer event from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday. Enjoy free treats with your four-legged friends. Prizes for owners.
■ The Bluegrass Hospitality Association will host the Hospitality Games, presented by Fireball Whiskey, from 5 to 7 p.m. Aug. 26 in Triangle Park. Teams of five people from area hotels, restaurants, distilleries and bars will compete in the toilet paper toss, tacky tourist trot, pillowcase relay, hospitality hockey and a mystery event. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the association's scholarship fund at Transylvania University, for students pursuing education for careers in the hospitality industry.
■ Chef Allison Davis, Wild Thyme Cooking School and the Bourbon Belle Society are taking reservations for Cooking with Bourbon classes Sept. 18 and Oct. 2. Culinary instruction with professional chefs, Bourbon history, mixology and a delicious four-course menu will be prepared celebrating fall flavors. It's $65; reserve seats at Wildthymecooking.com or call (859) 523-2665.
■ HopCat, the Michigan-based brew pub coming to The Square, has been delayed slightly but will open in October, according to Jeffrey R. Anderson Real Estate. The restaurant and bar on West Short Street will occupy two floors.
■ The Cheezy Mac will launch a second restaurant Sept. 1 at Fayette Mall, in addition to the one at 3031 Richmond Road, in front of Kroger.
■ The Paris McDonald's closed Aug. 12 for replacement. A new McDonald's is to be built on the old site and reopen in the fall with a side-by-side drive through.
■ Louisville-based Copper & Kings American Brandy Co. is launching a very limited release, small batch artisanal gin. Double distilled in a Vendome copper pot still, the apple brandy-based spirit was made with classic gin botanicals and was aged in a medium-char Serbian juniper barrel for 12 months. A launch party will be held at the Butchertown distillery, 1121 East Washington Street, at 7 p.m. Aug. 28. Copper & Kings Stray Cat Gin, right, is 94 proof; $40 for a 375ml bottle. According to the tasting notes, it has an aroma of fresh-cut spruce with juniper and citrus, with a strong juniper taste with notes of bright citrus, lemongrass and baking soda.