A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Celebrate Secretariat, speakeasies and Stephen Foster’s 60th this spring in Bardstown

World-famous horse, Secretariat, vestiges of the Prohibition era and the 60th anniversary of Kentucky’s Official Outdoor Drama are on tap beginning mid-spring in Bardstown, the Bourbon Capital of the World, when the new “The Race Is On!” comes to My Old Kentucky Home, new Prohibition exhibit opens at the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History and “The Stephen Foster Story” takes the stage beneath the stars. See Bardstown’s Calendar of Events at www.VisitBardstown.com.

Get your Derby on

It’s Derby time in Kentucky and My Old Kentucky Home rolls out the roses, silks, over-the-top hats and more with its new April 18-May 31 exhibit, “The Race is On!”

See items from racing legend, Secretariat, including his winning Preakness Stakes flower blanket garland, and winning bets and racing silks from Secretariat’s birthplace, Virginia landmark The Meadow. Costumes worn by actors Diane Lane and John Malkovich in Disney’s “Secretariat,” along with props used in the 2010 hit movie, will also be on display.

“The Race is On!” also feature items from 2015’s Triple Crown Winner, American Pharoah, including Zayat Stables’ silks, and My Old Kentucky Home’s “Kentucky Bowl.” Carefully and exquisitely handcrafted in crystal by the world-famous Steuben glassworks, this trophy was designed by Sidney Waugh, a member of the original Monuments Men who helped save priceless works of art during WWII.

Learn how “My Old Kentucky Home” became the official post-parade song of the Kentucky Derby – and hear it on tour – and about the horse racing history that connects the 200-year-old farm to virtually every Kentucky derby winner.

Not-so-noble experiment

The Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History already has a display about hatchet-swinging temperance advocate Carry Nation, and its new exhibit, “Prohibition and Kentucky” – opening April 15 and running for two years – richly rounds out the story of America’s so-called “Noble Experiment.”

With two full-sized bars, an event-ready Speakeasy with lighted stage and flapper dresses around every corner, “Prohibition and Kentucky” stands ready for a party. In 1920, you needed a doctor’s prescription or a Speakeasy password to get your lips on some liquor. Today, both the great stories and the spirits, are much easier to come by.

The exhibit, on loan from Louisville’s Frazier Museum,” brings the Jazz Age to life and shows how millions of otherwise law-abiding Americans chose to violate the national alcohol ban to quench the country’s thirst for illegal booze. Trace the rise of the temperance movement, organized crime and the repeal of the 18th Amendment in 1933 as you tour through the museum and its 5,000-piece permanent collection.

Collection highlights include exhibits on Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, authentic moonshine stills, antique bottles and jugs, medicinal whiskey bottles, unique advertising art, novelty whiskey containers and more.

All merry, all happy and bright

“The Stephen Foster Story,” the Broadway-style musical that has been delighting audiences at the J. Dan Talbott Amphitheatre in My Old Kentucky Home State Park since 1959, celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2018. Set in the mid-19th century, the show follows America’s first great composer as he paves the road for future songwriters through love, heartache and struggles.

Playing select dates June 9-Aug. 11, “The Stephen Foster Story” features over 50 Foster greatest hits: “Oh! Susanna,” “Camptown Races,” “Beautiful Dreamer,” “Hard Times (Come Again No More),” and Kentucky’s state song, “My Old Kentucky Home.” It is a musical that captures the essence of a by-gone era through song, dance and breathtaking costumes.

Rounding out Bardstown’s springtime calendar are distillery tours at Barton 1792, Four Roses, Heaven Hill, Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark and Willett; Whiskey Cruises classic car show; themed train excursions, including murder mysteries, train robberies and A Day Out with Thomas The Tank Engine; and Ghost Treks with Certified Ghost Hunter Patti Starr.

See www.VisitBardstown.com for information about these events, as well as accommodations, restaurants and attractions for a springtime visit to the Bourbon Capital of the World.

From Bardstown-Nelson County Tourist & Convention Commission

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