Bourbon on the Banks - The First Weekend in October in Frankfort, Kentucky

Bourbon Heritage Month may officially be over at the end of September, but the party continues the first weekend in October as Bourbon on the Banks kicks off along the Kentucky River in downtown Frankfort, Kentucky.

The Bourbon on the Banks Festival is a private, non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization. A major portion of the proceeds are used to fund scholarships to qualified residents of Franklin County, Kentucky who wish to attend any accredited, college-level distillation and fermentation science program or any chemistry, food science, or bourbon studies program. A portion of their proceeds also go to the White Oak Initiative, a non-profit dedicated to the preservation and sustainability of the white oak tree which is used in the manufacturing of bourbon.

Bourbon on the Banks main event is Saturday, October 7 starting at 1pm with a VIP ticket or 2pm for general admission tickets until 6pm. Bourbon fans will get to enjoy whiskey tastings from more than 60 distilleries.  

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Attendees will have the option to sample and explore a variety of whiskeys and experience demonstrations and educational discussions designed as enrichment opportunities for bourbon enthusiasts. The festival will also feature live music performances, a wide range of food vendors, bourbon-themed artisans, and influencers in the bourbon industry.

“There will be over 60 distilleries participating this year in addition to some breweries and wineries. The tickets for early access sold out months ago, but general admission and twilight tickets are still available. We encourage anyone interested in attending to buy a ticket now and not to wait. Capacity is limited to 2,000 attendees, and the festival is nearly sold out,” Bourbon on the Banks Director Diane Strong said.

If you are looking to kick the party off early you can do that at Whiskey Thief Distilling Co. (formerly Three Boys Farm Distillery) on Thursday, October 5th. Beginning at 6pm attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a distillery tour and bourbon tastings. Whiskey Thief will have live music, a food truck, and a cocktail bar will also be available. Tickets are not required to attend.

Circus on Broadway

Bourbon Street on Broadway is scheduled for Friday, October 6, from 6-9:30 p.m. in downtown Frankfort near the Old State Capitol Building. This circus-themed event is family-friendly and will feature aerialists, fire performers, music, food trucks, and free activities for children. Adults at least 21 years of age can take part in a pub stroll at participating bars and restaurants where cocktails will feature spirits by O.H. Ingram River Aged Whiskey. This event is open to the public.

The VIP Reception and Bourbon Auction is scheduled for the same evening from 5-8 p.m. at the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History in Frankfort. Tickets are limited and available for purchase at Attendees will have the opportunity to meet with leaders in the bourbon industry and bid on rare and collectible bourbons and experiences in both live and silent auctions. Live music, food, and a cash bar will also be available.

After the main Bourbon on the Banks Festival wraps up on Saturday fans can move to the Goodwood Beer & Spirits After Party at the Ward Oates Amphitheater from 4-8 p.m. This event is open to the public. Food and drink will be available for purchase.

Bourbon Belle Boat Ride on the Kentucky River

Kentucky River Tours - The Bourbon Belle Boat Takes Bourbon Fans on a Tour of the Kentucky River
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The wrap up the weekend bourbon fans can take a unique boat ride on the Kentucky River with Kentucky River Tours. On Sunday at 2 p.m. the Bourbon Belle tour boat will feature a bourbon and food pairing experience with award-winning chef and restauranteur Ouita Michel. Tickets are limited and required to attend.

Bourbon on the Banks takes place October 5-8, 2023. For more details and to purchase tickets visit the website.

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