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Northern Kentucky To Host New Bourbon Festival This Fall

Bill Rinehart
Bourbon bottles were used as decorations for the Kentucky's Edge announcement.

Northern Kentucky will be host to a new bourbon-based festival this fall. Organizers say Kentucky's Edge will be like SXSW, but for bourbon. Brent Cooper, president of the Northern Kentucky Chamber, says the event is leveraging the region's existing strength.

"When people think of Kentucky, they think of things like horses and bluegrass," he says. "If you go nationally, they may say basketball. If you go internationally, they may say Kentucky Fried Chicken every now and then. But nearly everybody associates Kentucky with bourbon."

In addition to a music festival on the river and an arts village on Mainstrasse, there will be workshops, tastings, and pairings at restaurants and bars around Covington and Newport.

Co-organizer Bill Donabedian says they want the event to be accessible. "There are free festivities. There are pay-as-you-go experiences. There are all-inclusive packages and there are VIP upgrades."

Credit Bill Rinehart / WVXU
Bourbon barrel sculptures will decorate Newport and Covington, much like Cincinnati has Flying Pig statues.

The first ticket packages go on sale March 1.

Donabedian expects about 50,000 people to attend. "It's always interesting when you do a first-time event. The interest is definitely far-reaching," he says. "Unlike some of the other events where it might take time to build your regional or national or international audience, I think we'll see a lot more of that in the first year of Kentucky's Edge."

Donabedian says the Midpoint and Bunbury music festivals were each planned in six months, and he's confident the team and stakeholders will put together a solid event.

The Kentucky's Edge Bourbon Conference and Festival will be held the first weekend in October.