LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Supporting Louisville's recent designation by the International Festivals and Events Association as one of the best places to host an event in North America, two U.S. tourism groups also honored seven events held in the city for their popularity and success.
The Southeast Tourism Society (STS) has named the Abbey Road on the River, Kentucky Derby Festival, Forecastle Festival, Street Rod Nationals Plus® and WorldFest as Top 20 Spring/Summer Events for 2011.
The Kentucky Travel Industry Association (KTIA), formerly the Kentucky Tourism Council, has selected Abbey Road on the River and the Senior PGA Championship as two of the Top 10 Summer Festivals and Events, while Actors Theatre of Louisville's Humana Festival of New American Plays received Honorable Recognition.
Through a nomination process, Southeast Tourism Society chooses the Top 20 events for each month of the year from the most unique, diverse and unparalleled events across the Southeast. The list of the Top 20 events is published quarterly and posted on the STS's website at www.southeasttourism.org/top20.
The KTIA Top 10 list is in the March issue of Kentucky Monthly and www.ktia.com. Judges decide the seasonal list based on nominations place by KTIA members across Kentucky. Criteria for judging included popularity of the event, its impact on the local tourism economy as well as cultural and historical significance.
35th Annual Humana Festival of New American Plays -- February 2-April 3
Held at Actors Theatre of Louisville, the Humana Festival of New American Plays celebrates the genius and diversity of contemporary playwrights by presenting a rotating repertory of up to seven new works that incorporate a wide spectrum of themes, theatrical forms and styles of dramatic literature. Theatre lovers flock to the Festival in hopes of discovering the next Pulitzer Prize winner, blockbuster film or Broadway hit. Weekend tourist packages and nearby hotel discounts are available. The Humana Festival has been recognized three times by both KTIA and STS. For more information visit www.actorstheatre.org or call 502-584-1205.
56th Annual Kentucky Derby Festival -- April 15-May 6
Kentucky Derby Festival is one of the premiere events of its kind in the world. The 56 year-old festival, and proud winner of the International Festivals and Events Association award for Best Overall Festival for four years in a row, generates fun, excitement, and international recognition by attracting 1.5 million people to celebrate spring and the unique vitality of the Louisville community. For more information visit www.kdf.org or call 502-584-6383.
72nd Senior PGA Championship Presented By Kitchenaid -- May 24-29
The Senior PGA championship is the most prestigious major championship in senior golf. It brings together both the legends of the game and the newest members of senior professional golf to audiences throughout the United States. Fred Couples, Greg Norman, Tom Watson, 2008 us Ryder Cup Captain Paul Azinger, 2010 us Ryder Cup Captain Corey Pavin, reigning Senior PGA Champion Tom Lehman and Kentucky's own Kenny Perry are among the 156 players eligible to compete at Valhalla in the 72nd Senior PGA championship.
The Senior PGA Championship will be played at famed Valhalla Golf Club for only the 2nd time in its 72 year history. Kenny Perry (Franklin, KY) is eligible to make his Senior PGA Championship debut in 2011. He will be joined by a contingent of other eligible players from the local region including Fuzzy Zoeller, Ted Shultz and Jodie Mudd. For more information visit www.2011SeniorPGA.com.
10th Annual Abbey Road on the River -- May 26-30
Held in downtown Louisville, Abbey Road on the River is the largest Beatles tribute festival in America. This five-day art, music and food festival honors and celebrates The Fab Four by attracting more than 60 bands from 12 countries and over 25,000 attendees. Held Memorial Day Weekend on the Belvedere Festival Plaza overlooking the Ohio River, concerts take place on seven stages.
New this year, organizers will offer guests an opportunity to taste some of the Bluegrass state's most cherished culinary traditions -- Bourbon and BBQ. This year's festival will feature a Bourbon and BBQ tent on the upper Belvedere, bringing together Bourbon aficionados, BBQ lovers and music fans. Abbey Road on the River has been recognized as a top event by KTIA three times and by STS two times. For more information visit www.abbeyroadontheriver.com or call 216-378-1980.
Forecastle Festival -- July 8-9
Founded in Louisville, this unique, outdoor event is equally based on a three-part format -- music, art and activism -- and is the largest gathering in the American Midwest of its kind. It has become an expanding symposium for musicians, artists and environmentalists and connects the progressive Midwest with high profile talent, creative artists and keynote speakers.
The 10th Anniversary of The Forecastle Festival will be held in the summer of 2012 at Waterfront Park, with the 4th annual "Halfway to Forecastle" festival July 8-9, 2011, at a new downtown, indoor / outdoor venue (yet to be announced).
Forecastle was selected as one of the "Top 33" events in the country, by the staff of Paste Magazine, "The Cream of the Crop of Midwest Events" by The Discovery Channel, "One of the top 101 things to do in America" according to Spin Magazine and is both a STS and KTIA two-time award winner. For more information visit www.forecastlefest.com or 502-472-7555.
42st Annual Street Rod Nationals Plus® -- August 4-7
Held at the Kentucky Exposition Center, the Street Rod Nationals Plus has over 11,000 of the finest examples of street rods (modernized vehicles of 1948 and earlier manufacture) will be on display. In 2010 the event opened its doors to any vehicle 30 years-old and older -- vehicles from the 50's, 60's and 70's joined the street rods! There will be a tradeshow with 325+ manufacturers and dealers, complemented by an arts & crafts area and vintage parts swap meet, in addition to first-class entertainment on Friday and Saturday.
This is the largest automotive participation event worldwide and the 2nd largest convention/tradeshow in Louisville with an estimated economic impact of $13 million. Street Rod Nationals Plus has been named a KTIA top event once and is a five-time STS winner. For more information visit www.nsra-usa.com, or to buy tickets www.kyfairexpo.org/ticketoffice/index.html or 800-745-3000.
9th Annual WorldFest -- September 2-4
Held at Belvedere Plaza in downtown Louisville, WorldFest attracts more than 100,000 visitors and features Louisville's largest collection of ethnic restaurants at one single event. More than 30 food vendors offer cuisines from all over the globe, while a professional chef offers "Cooking Up Cultures" demonstrations on international fare.
Entertainment includes non-stop Latin and reggae music with Salsa, Irish, African and Chinese dances and the popular "World of Children" area offers activities for children and families including free international crafts and games. Traditionally, on Friday hundreds of individuals take their oath of us citizenship at a naturalization ceremony, while Saturday is highlighted by the "Parade of Cultures."
In 2011 the Labor Day Weekend Festival is expanding from two to three days. WorldFest is a one-time KTIA and a three-time STS winner. For more information visit www.WorldFestLouisville.com or 502-456-8110.
For a list of other events happening in Louisville visit www.gotolouisville.com or stop by the Louisville Visitors Center at 4th & Jefferson Streets for advice, brochures, souvenirs, the Col. Sanders and Bourbon Country exhibits or to buy discounted attraction tickets.