Living in Kentucky, there are technically four distinctive seasons. Technically. However, given the nature of the weather in the beautiful Bluegrass State, if you weren’t familiar with the time of year you are currently in, you may not know what season you’re in based on the day’s weather conditions (based on some internet memes, we could be in either “Hell’s Front Porch” or “Fake Fall” at the time of this printing).
All jokes and online cleverness aside, the real fall season is definitely at our doorstep, which means there are any number of fall festivals in the Commonwealth that are either in your hometown, a short driving distance or well worth a weekend trip due to each one’s unique themes or just the simple of excuse to pick up some homemade apple cider and/or scarf down a deep-fried-fill-in-the-blank.
From sorghum to Secretariat, burgoo to beer – and plenty of things in between – here are festivals you can check out in Kentucky to start the prelude to winter on a festive note.
Fraley Festival of Traditional Music. Sept. 4-7. Carter Caves State Resort Park, Olive Hill. $5-$10. Fraleyfestival.com.
Terrapin Hill Harvest Festival. Sept. 5-8. Terrapin Hill Farm, Harrodsburg. Live music. Thu.-Sun. $100 at the gate.; Fri.-Sun. $90 at the gate. Sat.-Sun. $60. Terrapinhillfestivals.com.
Lex Fest of Ales. 5 to 10 p.m. Sept. 6. The Pavilion, 215 W. Main St. Beer, food vendors. $35. Lexfestofales.com.
Kentucky State BBQ Festival. Sept. 6-8. Wilderness Trail Distillery, Danville. Food, drink, live music, VIP events up to $150. $5, three-day admission $10, free for ages 10 and younger, Kybbqfestival.com.
Roots & Heritage Festival. Sept. 6-8. Elm Tree Ln. area near the Lyric Theatre, 300 E. Third St. Heritage parade, literary reading with Frank X. Walker and Crystal Wilkinson, crafts, food, live music, children’s activities. Rootsfestky.com.
Festival of the Horse. Sept. 6-8. Downtown Georgetown. A celebration of the role of the horse in the Bluegrass. Live music, food, crafts, carnival, parade, horse games, horse show. Festivalofthehorse.org.
MainStrasse Village Oktoberfest. Sept. 6-8. MainStrasse Village, Covington. Beer, traditional German food, live music. Mainstrasse.org.
Fall Heritage Festival. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 7. Homeplace on Green River, Campbellsville. Food, demonstrations, arts and crafts, live music, hay maze, wagon rides, raptor exhibits. $10 per vehicle parking fee. Homeplacefarmky.org.
Waveland Art Fair. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 7, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 8. Waveland State Historic Site, 225 Waveland Museum Ln., Lexington. Live music, food trucks, local brews, art, children’s activities. $5 adults, which includes tours of the home, slave quarters and grounds; free for ages 11 and younger. Parks.ky.gov.
Apple Festival. Sept. 7-8. Evans Orchard, Georgetown. Live music, crafts, apple picking. Evansorchard.com.
AppleFest. Sept. 7-8. Eckert’s Orchard, Versailles. Wagon rides, music, food, children’s activities, pony rides. Eckerts.com.
Kentucky Proud Festival. 1-5 p.m. Sept. 8. Bluegrass Stockyards, 4561 Iron Works Pike. Food, music. Nashfm929.com.
St. Andrew Heritage Festival. Noon-8 p.m. Sept. 7, noon-5 p.m. Sept. 8. St. Andrew Orthodox Church, 1136 Higbee Mill Rd. Middle Eastern and Eastern European foods, dance, and music. Standrewlexington.org.
Jewish Food Festival. 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Sept. 8. Temple Adath Israel, 124 N. Ashland Ave. Jewish food. $20. Lextai.org.
Josephine Sculpture Park Fall Arts Festival. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 8. Josephine Sculpture Park, Frankfort. Art demonstrations, workshops, kids activities, live music, food and beer. Parking $10 per vehicle. Josephinesculpturepark.org.
Festival Latino de Lexington. 5-11 p.m. Sept. 13, 4-11 p.m. Sept. 14. Robert F. Stephens Courthouse, 120 N. Limestone. Live music, dance, arts, and Latino cuisine. Lexingtonky.gov/ festival-latino-de-lexington.
Greenbo Grass Bluegrass Festival. 5-10 p.m. Sept. 14. Greenbo State Resort Park, Greenup. Live music. Free. Parks.ky.gov.
Millville Hillbilly Daze & The Stave in the Park. 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 14. Millville Community Center, 6715 McCracken Pk., Frankfort. Facebook.com.
Fayette Fest. Noon-6 p.m. Sept. 15. The Red Mile, 1200 Red Mile Rd. Music, food trucks, beer garden, arts and crafts market, kids’ area, dogs’ area, horse parade, live harness racing. Free, $20 VIP. Facebook.com.
Poppy Mountain Bluegrass Festival. Sept. 17-21. 3715 U.S. 60 East, Morehead. Live Bluegrass music. $20-$50 daily general admission. Camping available. Poppymountainbluegrass.com.
Kentucky Bourbon Festival. Sept. 18-22. Bardstown. Bourbon tasting, distillery tours, food, music. Kybourbonfestival.com.
Black Gold Festival. Sept. 19-21. Downtown Hazard. Parade, crafts, children’s fun Land, live music, food. Blackgoldfestival.com.
Christ the King Oktoberfest. Sept. 20-21. Cathedral of Christ the King, 299 Colony Blvd. Live music including Walker Hayes and Matthew Sweet, games, bingo and black jack, food, drink. Ctkoktoberfest.com.
Spoonbread Festival. Sept. 20-22. Memorial Park and Berea Community School, Berea. Hot air balloon glow, car show, parade, inflatables for kids, spoonbread eating contest. Spoonbreadfestival.com.
Hatfield-McCoy Heritage Days. Sept. 20-22. Downtown Pikeville. Live music, food, “Ruff and Tuff Race Series,” pig roast. Tourpikecounty.com.
Fort Harrod Jazz Festival. 6-10 p.m. Sept. 20, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Sept. 21, noon-6 p.m. Sept. 22. Old Fort Harrod State Park, Harrodsburg. Live music, food, beer, art. Ftharrodjazzfest.com.
Cow Days. Sept. 20-21. Downtown Greensburg. Food, crafts. Greensburgcowdays.com.
Bourbon & Beyond. Sept. 20-22. Louisville. Music including Foo Fighters, Robert Plant, Daryl Hall & John Oates, and more, food, bourbon and beer. $199.50 for weekend, $99.50 Sept. 20, $89.50 Sept. 21, $89.50 Sept. 22. bourbonandbeyond.com.
Bourbon County Pumpkin Festival. Setp. 21. Downtown Paris. Pumpkin paiting, arts and crafs, food, more. Facebook.com.
Tahlsound Music Festival. Noon- 8:30 p.m. Sept. 21-22. Oleika Shriners Great Lawn, 302 Southland Drive. Music, food and art vendors. $15, kids under 12 free. Tahlsound.com.
Japan Festival. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Sept. 21. Robert F. Stephens Courthouse, 120 N. Limestone. Cultural food, music, games, displays. Jask.org.
Morehead Arts & Eats Festival. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sept. 21. Downtown Morehead. Local arts and crafts, food. Moreheadtourism.com.
Midway Fall Festival. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sept. 21, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 22. Downtown Midway. Sorghum and pottery demos, crafts, food vendors, music. Midwayfallfestival.com.
Simon Kenton Festival. Sept. 21-22. Old Washington Historic Village, Maysville. Historic re-enactors, live music, food. Cityofmaysville.com/simon-kenton-festival.
Sweet Owen Day Fall Festival. Sept. 21-22. Downtown Owenton. Live music, food, crafts. Facebook.com.
Casey County Apple Festival. Sept. 26-28. Downtown Liberty. World’s Largest Apple Pie, live music, professional wrestling, fireworks.. Caseycountyapplefestival.org.
World Chicken Festival. Sept. 26-29. Downtown London. World’s largest stainless steel skillet, fried chicken, ‘90s-themed parade, Kiddie World Stage live music, crafts. Chickenfestival.com.
Jessamine Fall Festival. Sept. 28. Nicholasville.
Daniel Boone Festival. Oct. 6-12. Barbourville. Carnival, parade, food, crafts, baby pageant, antique car show; art, photography and quilt show. Danielboonefestival.com/.
Morgan County Sorghum Festival. 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Sept. 27-28; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 29. Downtown West Liberty. Sorghum making, parade, food, crafts. Morgancountysorghumfestival.com.
Marion County Country Ham Days. 6-10 p.m. Sept. 27; 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Sept. 28; 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Sept. 29. Downtown Lebanon. Country ham breakfast; Pigasus Parade on Sat.; hot air balloons. Hamdays.com.
Cave Run Storytelling Festival. Sept. 27-28. Twin Knobs Campground, Morehead. Daily admission $10-$25. Fri., Sat. evening performances $5-$10. Full weekend $15-$45. Caverunstoryfest.org.
Anderson County Burgoo Festival. Sept. 27-29. Downtown Lawrenceburg. Food, music, crafts. Kentuckyburgoo.com.
KidChella Arts & Music Festival. 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sept. 28. MoonDance Amphitheater, 1152 Monarch St. Music, art, kids activities. Lexingtonfamily.com.
Wayne County Heritage Festival. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 28. Mill Springs, Wayne Co. Historic gristmill, animals, artists, music. Waynecountykentuckyhistoricalsociety.org.
HarvestFest. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 28-29. Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Harrodsburg. Hayrides, honey, breads, jams, farm animals, live music. Included in village admission: $14, $10 seniors, $7 ages 6-12. Shakervillageky.org/events/harvestfest/.
St. James Court Art Show. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 4, 5; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 6. Historic Old Louisville just south of Central Park, Louisville. More than 700 artists, food, music. Free admission. Stjamescourtartshow.com.
Kentucky Wool Festival. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Oct. 4, 5; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 7. Falmouth. Sheep shearing, herding, wool tent, food, crafts. $5. Kywoolfest.org.
Kentucky Apple Festival. Oct. 4, 5. Downtown Paintsville. Fried apple pies, music, crafts. Kyapplefest.org.
LexVeg Fest. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 5. Housewarmings, 2320 Palumbo Dr. Food vendors, music, cooking demos, speakers, kids activities, yoga. Facebook.com.
Hemp Harvest Festival. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 5. Winchester. Food, music, vendors, farm tours, demos. Facebook.com.
Paint Lick Village Fest. 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 5. Downtown Paint Lick. Fried apple pies, music, food, car show with DJ. www.facebook.com/events/historic-village-of-paint-lick-ky/village-fest-2019/470471233495261/.
Hoptoberfest. Noon-1 p.m. VIP, 3-6 p.m. General Admission, Oct. 5. Appalachian Wireless Arena, Pikeville. Craft beers from around the world. $10-$50. Hoptoberfestky.com.
Washington County Sorghum Festival. Oct. 5-6. Downtown Springfield. 5K Sorghum Shuffle, food, tractor and motorcycle cruise-in, live music. Springfieldkychamber.com/sorghum-festival.
Lincoln Days. Oct. 5-6. Downtown Hodgenville. Lincoln and Mary Todd look-alike contest, quilt show, Pioneer Games, parade, food, music. Lincolndays.org.
Battle of Perryville Commemoration. Oct. 5-6. Perryville Battlefield, Perryville. $7-$10 general admission. Perryvillebattlefield.org.
Garvin Gate Blues Festival. Oct. 11-12 Oak St. and Garvin Place, Louisville. Live music on two stages, food and craft vendors. Free admission. Garvingatebluesfestival.com.
Mount Sterling Court Days. 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 18-21. Downtown Mount Sterling. More than 1,000 vendors, guns, knives, antiques. Mtsterlingcourtdays.com.
Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary Fall Festival. Oct. 11-12. Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary Parish, 605 Hill N’ Dale Road. Music, food, drinks. Maryqueenschool.org/mqhr-fall-festival.
Trigg County Country Ham Festival. Oct. 11-13. Downtown Cadiz. Ham Festival Breakfast for $15 pre-sale, food, crafts, music. Hamfestival.com.
Harrodsburg Oktoberfest. Oct. 11-13. Downtown Harrodsburg. Arts, beer, music, food. Oktoberfestharrodsburg.com/.
South Elkhorn Christian Church Fall Festival. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 12. 4343 Harrodsburg Rd. More than 150 craft booths, baked goods, food vendors. Southelkhorncc.org.
Kentucky Guild of Artists & Craftsmen Fall Fair. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 12, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 13. Indian Fort Theatre, Berea. $5, free for ages 12 and younger. Kyguild.org/pages/fallfair.
Bardstown Arts, Crafts & Antiques Fair. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 12, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 13. Downtown Bardstown. Art, antiques, food, music. Bardstownmainstreet.com/arts-and-crafts-fair.
Secretariat Festival. Oct. 12-13. Unveiling of the new larger-than-life Secretariat Bronze Monument and other events at Keeneland, 4201 Versailles Rd. Tours, Secretariat merchandise. Secretariat.com.
Salt Festival at Big Bone Lick. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Oct. 18, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Oct. 19, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 20. Big Bone Lick State Historic Site, Union. Demonstrations of pioneer traditions, food, folk and bluegrass music, storytelling, crafts. Parks.ky.gov.
Lee County Woolly Worm Festival. Oct. 25-27. Downtown Beattyville. Food, crafts, woolly worm races, pageant, pet show, car show, parade. Heartofthekentuckyriver.com/woollywormfestival.