Events

Every Single Thing You Need to Do in Louisville This Summer

Published On 05/31/2016 Published On 05/31/2016
Avett Brothers concert
Avett Brothers | Jeff Hahne/WireImage/Getty Images

Dominated by live music and some great food, Louisville's summer event and festival game is strong -- and the lineup for 2016 is no exception. Whether it be festivals like ReSurfaced and Forecastle that catch your eye, or maybe the State Fair and WorldFest (or even that celebration of all things Lebowski), there's absolutely no reason to be bored in the 'Ville this season, because we have plenty of things going on. These things.

Editor's Note: We'll be updating this throughout the season, so keep checking back to stay up to date on all the best summer happenings.

Dylan LeBlanc | Andy Sheppard/Redferns/Getty Images

June

Date

Event

Location

Jun 2-11

Revisit ReSurfaced ReSurfaced: The Liberty Build will be opening on June 2nd, this time at the corner of East Liberty and South Shelby Streets in Phoenix Hill. As with past ReSurfaced pop-ups, this forward-thinking project will take a vacant lot and transform it into a collaborative community space. Plenty of bands are lined up to provide live music throughout the run. And being that this is Louisville, there will be an abundance of good beer, bourbon, and local eats to go around.

The corner of East Liberty and South Shelby

Revisit ReSurfaced The corner of East Liberty and South Shelby ReSurfaced: The Liberty Build will be opening on June 2nd, this time at the corner of East Liberty and South Shelby Streets in Phoenix Hill. As with past ReSurfaced pop-ups, this forward-thinking project will take a vacant lot and transform it into a collaborative community space. Plenty of bands are lined up to provide live music throughout the run. And being that this is Louisville, there will be an abundance of good beer, bourbon, and local eats to go around.

Date

Event

Location

Jun 3-4

Take in the Germantown Schnitzelburg Blues Festival In its seventh year, the Germantown Schnitzelburg Blues Festival promises a lineup of local blues crooners beginning at 6:30pm each evening. Admission is complimentary and proceeds will go towards establishing Germantown and Schnitzelburg's very own farmers market.

Germantown and Schnitzelburg

Take in the Germantown Schnitzelburg Blues Festival Germantown and Schnitzelburg In its seventh year, the Germantown Schnitzelburg Blues Festival promises a lineup of local blues crooners beginning at 6:30pm each evening. Admission is complimentary and proceeds will go towards establishing Germantown and Schnitzelburg's very own farmers market.

Date

Event

Location

Jun 4 Sat

Stuff yourself silly with tacos While it's difficult to top Slow Food Bluegrass‚Äô annual Fried Chicken Throw Down, this new event may take the cake. The Slow Food Taco Challenge pins local chefs against each other in search of the best Mexican favorite in town. Chefs will be tasked with crafting their finest taco, dip, and dessert utilizing local ingredients, with attendees casting a vote for the best taco in the ‚ÄėVille. Each one is just $3, and the proceeds benefit the Slow Food Garden Grant Program.  

ReSurfaced

Stuff yourself silly with tacos ReSurfaced While it's difficult to top Slow Food Bluegrass‚Äô annual Fried Chicken Throw Down, this new event may take the cake. The Slow Food Taco Challenge pins local chefs against each other in search of the best Mexican favorite in town. Chefs will be tasked with crafting their finest taco, dip, and dessert utilizing local ingredients, with attendees casting a vote for the best taco in the ‚ÄėVille. Each one is just $3, and the proceeds benefit the Slow Food Garden Grant Program.  

Date

Event

Location

Jun 4-5

Stroll the streets during the annual Butchertown Art Fair With food trucks, drinks, live entertainment, and well over 100 artists displaying their wares, this event offers the perfect excuse to take a walk through Butchertown and down beautiful East Washington St.

Butchertown

Stroll the streets during the annual Butchertown Art Fair Butchertown With food trucks, drinks, live entertainment, and well over 100 artists displaying their wares, this event offers the perfect excuse to take a walk through Butchertown and down beautiful East Washington St.

Date

Event

Location

Jun 5 Sun

Rock out with Bush at the Palace Theater Dust off your flannel and lace up those Dr. Martens -- it's the '90s again! Honestly, you need to be properly dressed when belting out the words to "Glycerine" like you did in the good ol' days.

The Louisville Palace

Rock out with Bush at the Palace Theater The Louisville Palace Dust off your flannel and lace up those Dr. Martens -- it's the '90s again! Honestly, you need to be properly dressed when belting out the words to "Glycerine" like you did in the good ol' days.

Date

Event

Location

Jun 11-12

Discover the hidden gardens of Old Louisville Get ready to have some serious backyard envy. Old Louisville, the nation's largest Victorian residential neighborhood, boasts some of the most fantastic gardens in the region, many of which are tucked away amongst the tree-lined alleys of this historic corner of our city. Tag along on this annual garden crawl to gain an inside look at what lies behind these impressive Victorian estates.

Old Louisville

Discover the hidden gardens of Old Louisville Old Louisville Get ready to have some serious backyard envy. Old Louisville, the nation's largest Victorian residential neighborhood, boasts some of the most fantastic gardens in the region, many of which are tucked away amongst the tree-lined alleys of this historic corner of our city. Tag along on this annual garden crawl to gain an inside look at what lies behind these impressive Victorian estates.

Date

Event

Location

Jun 17-18

Check out Kentuckiana Pride Festival Kentuckiana's 16th annual Pride Festival takes place on the weekend of June 17th and includes a concert by Jordin Sparks, countless vendors, and loads of local and regional acts. It's definitely one of the summer's can't-miss events.

Downtown at the Belvedere

Check out Kentuckiana Pride Festival Downtown at the Belvedere Kentuckiana's 16th annual Pride Festival takes place on the weekend of June 17th and includes a concert by Jordin Sparks, countless vendors, and loads of local and regional acts. It's definitely one of the summer's can't-miss events.

Date

Event

Location

Jun 29 Wed

Head to the river for Waterfront Wednesday Hayes Carll and Dylan LeBlanc will be taking the stage at this ever popular monthly event. Don your best hipster gear and be ready to rock out on the waterfront for the June installment, which gets off the ground at 5pm.

Waterfront Park

Head to the river for Waterfront Wednesday Waterfront Park Hayes Carll and Dylan LeBlanc will be taking the stage at this ever popular monthly event. Don your best hipster gear and be ready to rock out on the waterfront for the June installment, which gets off the ground at 5pm.

Forecastle Festival

July

Date

Event

Location

Jul 1-24

Trade in the chick flick for the original love story, Romeo and Juliet Kentucky Shakespeare has a summer schedule that's jammed-packed with free (!!) live performances of the Bard’s greatest tales, from June 1st through August 14th. Take in a rendition of Romeo and Juliet while enjoying food from some of Louisville's best food trucks and beverages provided by Brown-Forman.

Trade in the chick flick for the original love story, Romeo and Juliet Kentucky Shakespeare has a summer schedule that's jammed-packed with free (!!) live performances of the Bard’s greatest tales, from June 1st through August 14th. Take in a rendition of Romeo and Juliet while enjoying food from some of Louisville's best food trucks and beverages provided by Brown-Forman.

Date

Event

Location

Jul 3 Sun

Celebrate your independence with the Louisville Orchestra Led by Conductor Teddy Abrams, the Louisville Orchestra will be setting up shop on the Great Lawn the evening of July 3rd and toasting America’s independence with what is sure to be a boisterous and lively musical event. Admission is free and the festivities kick off at 5pm.

Waterfront Park

Celebrate your independence with the Louisville Orchestra Waterfront Park Led by Conductor Teddy Abrams, the Louisville Orchestra will be setting up shop on the Great Lawn the evening of July 3rd and toasting America’s independence with what is sure to be a boisterous and lively musical event. Admission is free and the festivities kick off at 5pm.

Date

Event

Location

Jul 3-4

Gather the family and head to Crescent Hill’s Old Fashioned 4th of July Festival Hosted for two days on the grounds of the Peterson-Dumesnil House, the Crescent Hill Old Fashioned 4th of July Festival features an art fair, tours of the historic house, and live music.

Peterson-Dumesnil House

Gather the family and head to Crescent Hill’s Old Fashioned 4th of July Festival Peterson-Dumesnil House Hosted for two days on the grounds of the Peterson-Dumesnil House, the Crescent Hill Old Fashioned 4th of July Festival features an art fair, tours of the historic house, and live music.

Date

Event

Location

Jul 8-9

Pay tribute to The Dude Easily the oddest festival in town, Lebowski Fest will host its 15th annual celebration of all things The Big Lebowski. The event launches with an outdoor screening of the film and a bowling party that takes place on Saturday. If you're a fan of this Coen Brothers cult classic, you can't pass this one up.

Executive Lawn

Pay tribute to The Dude Executive Lawn Easily the oddest festival in town, Lebowski Fest will host its 15th annual celebration of all things The Big Lebowski. The event launches with an outdoor screening of the film and a bowling party that takes place on Saturday. If you're a fan of this Coen Brothers cult classic, you can't pass this one up.

Date

Event

Location

Jul 15-17

Hit up Forecastle This three-day Louisville favorite has the likes of The Avett Brothers, Alabama Shakes, and Death Cab for Cutie headlining a group of over 50 bands. It's hands-down the must-attend event of the season.

Waterfront Park

Hit up Forecastle Waterfront Park This three-day Louisville favorite has the likes of The Avett Brothers, Alabama Shakes, and Death Cab for Cutie headlining a group of over 50 bands. It's hands-down the must-attend event of the season.

Date

Event

Location

Jul 22-24

Get your blues, brews, and BBQ fix Craft beers, Memphis- and New Orleans-inspired blues, and damn good BBQ. That about covers this one.

Louisville Water Tower Park

Get your blues, brews, and BBQ fix Louisville Water Tower Park Craft beers, Memphis- and New Orleans-inspired blues, and damn good BBQ. That about covers this one.

Date

Event

Location

Jul 29 Fri

Celebrate with fellow Deadheads No true fan of the Grateful Dead would miss out on this annual celebration of the band and Jerry Garcia’s birthday.

Brown Forman Amphitheater

Celebrate with fellow Deadheads Brown Forman Amphitheater No true fan of the Grateful Dead would miss out on this annual celebration of the band and Jerry Garcia’s birthday.

African Heritage Festival | Bridge Kids International

August

Date

Event

Location

Aug 5 Fri

Experience some (naked) magic Dubbed "the world's naughtiest magic show," The Naked Magic Show will take center stage at the Mercury Ballroom on August 5th. Grab your tickets soon to see Christopher and Mike, the two Australian magicians/strippers who have crafted this curious display of magic, in action.

The Mercury Ballroom

Experience some (naked) magic The Mercury Ballroom Dubbed "the world's naughtiest magic show," The Naked Magic Show will take center stage at the Mercury Ballroom on August 5th. Grab your tickets soon to see Christopher and Mike, the two Australian magicians/strippers who have crafted this curious display of magic, in action.

Date

Event

Location

Aug 11 Thu

Get social at the Speed Art Museum Celebrate the Summer Olympics during the Speed Art Museum’s monthly Social Speed event. Games, Brazilian Samba dance lessons, and sports-related trivia are just some of the activities on hand at this party, which allows you to take an after-hours peek at the exhibits.

The Speed Museum

Get social at the Speed Art Museum The Speed Museum Celebrate the Summer Olympics during the Speed Art Museum’s monthly Social Speed event. Games, Brazilian Samba dance lessons, and sports-related trivia are just some of the activities on hand at this party, which allows you to take an after-hours peek at the exhibits.

Date

Event

Location

Aug 12-13

Picnic with a purpose St. Joseph Children's Home has been hosting this classic event -- which is the largest picnic in the state -- for over 166 years, making it a true Louisville tradition. Whether you go for the gambling booths, the food vendors, or the cake walk, there's no question that your money is going to a good cause. Plus you get to experience a time-honored summer ritual in the ‚ÄėVille.

St. Joseph Children’s Home

Picnic with a purpose St. Joseph Children‚Äôs Home St. Joseph Children's Home has been hosting this classic event -- which is the largest picnic in the state -- for over 166 years, making it a true Louisville tradition. Whether you go for the gambling booths, the food vendors, or the cake walk, there's no question that your money is going to a good cause. Plus you get to experience a time-honored summer ritual in the ‚ÄėVille.

Date

Event

Location

Aug 18-28

Eat your weight in funnel cake Ah, the state fair. The only event that boasts better people-watching than the Kentucky Derby. What more could you ask for? Oh yeah, tons and tons of funnel cake!

The Kentucky Expo Center

Eat your weight in funnel cake The Kentucky Expo Center Ah, the state fair. The only event that boasts better people-watching than the Kentucky Derby. What more could you ask for? Oh yeah, tons and tons of funnel cake!

Date

Event

Location

Aug 26-27

Check out the African Heritage Festival Toasting unity, culture, art, and history, the African Heritage Festival is a celebration of the various African, African-American, and Caribbean cultures that make up our city. Stop by and check out the dancing, the music, the food, and most definitely, the fashion.

The Kentucky Center for African American Heritage

Check out the African Heritage Festival The Kentucky Center for African American Heritage Toasting unity, culture, art, and history, the African Heritage Festival is a celebration of the various African, African-American, and Caribbean cultures that make up our city. Stop by and check out the dancing, the music, the food, and most definitely, the fashion.

Date

Event

Location

Aug 27 Sat

Drink with exotic animals If this is your thing, then Brew at the Zoo is the event for you. Cozy up to lions, elephants, and gorillas while sipping craft beer as the sun sets. Live entertainment and food samples are provided, too. But just remember... don't feed the animals.

The Louisville Zoo

Drink with exotic animals The Louisville Zoo If this is your thing, then Brew at the Zoo is the event for you. Cozy up to lions, elephants, and gorillas while sipping craft beer as the sun sets. Live entertainment and food samples are provided, too. But just remember... don't feed the animals.

Gaslight Festival - Official

September

Date

Event

Location

Sep 2-5

Eat your way around the globe without ever leaving Louisville WorldFest is an annual Labor Day festival that shines a light on the various cultures of the world that call Louisville home. The food is authentic (and oh-so-good) at this four-day festival and is rivaled only by the plethora of traditional dances and performances showcased throughout the event.

The Belvedere

Eat your way around the globe without ever leaving Louisville The Belvedere WorldFest is an annual Labor Day festival that shines a light on the various cultures of the world that call Louisville home. The food is authentic (and oh-so-good) at this four-day festival and is rivaled only by the plethora of traditional dances and performances showcased throughout the event.

Date

Event

Location

Sep 3-4

Have another bourbon The sibling event to July’s Blues, Brews & BBQ event, the Kentucky Bluegrass and Bourbon Experience celebrates our state’s finest assets: bourbon and bluegrass music. The common thread tying them together? BBQ, of course.

Louisville Water Tower Park

Have another bourbon Louisville Water Tower Park The sibling event to July’s Blues, Brews & BBQ event, the Kentucky Bluegrass and Bourbon Experience celebrates our state’s finest assets: bourbon and bluegrass music. The common thread tying them together? BBQ, of course.

Date

Event

Location

Sep 5 Mon

Work off all the food from WorldFest... Each year, Louisvillians flock to Waterfront Park on Labor Day, ready to hit the pavement and the river while taking part in the city’s Hike, Bike, and Paddle event.

Waterfront Park

Work off all the food from WorldFest... Waterfront Park Each year, Louisvillians flock to Waterfront Park on Labor Day, ready to hit the pavement and the river while taking part in the city’s Hike, Bike, and Paddle event.

Date

Event

Location

Sep 11-18

Participate in one of the Gaslight Festival events Whether you take part in the poker rally, run in the Gaslight 5K, or puff your way through the pipe smoking contest, the J-Town Gaslight Festival has a little something for everyone.

Gaslight Square

Participate in one of the Gaslight Festival events Gaslight Square Whether you take part in the poker rally, run in the Gaslight 5K, or puff your way through the pipe smoking contest, the J-Town Gaslight Festival has a little something for everyone.

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Lindsey McClave is a food and travel writer who hates to miss a good party. Follow her adventures around the 'ville on @FoodieGirlKY.

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