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New fall festival in Northern Kentucky to celebrate bourbon, not beer

Kentucky's Edge
Posted at 3:35 PM, Feb 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-12 15:37:50-05

Fans of fall festivals have a new event to squeeze into the mix this coming October. Rather than another Oktobest, the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce announced the region’s “first signature event” celebrating bourbon.

Yes, bourbon.

Kentucky’s Edge Bourbon Conference & Festival is slated for Oct. 4 and Oct. 5 throughout Covington and Newport.

Bourbon pairings and tastings will be offered by area bars and restaurants, but the festival will also include a free music festival along the river, an artisan market in MainStrasse Village and a bourbon conference at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center.

At an announcement Tuesday at the Grand Banquet Hall in Covington, the chamber’s president, Brent Cooper, said he expects the event to attract tens of thousands of people to Northern Kentucky.

“We have goals of bringing in an increasing number of visitors nationally and internationally to Northern Kentucky,” Cooper said. “If we can get people here and show them the high quality of life and low cost of living, we think they’ll stay, or come back and bring more people.”

The organizers behind the event have worked on projects such as the MidPoint Music Festival, Bunbury Music Festival, Brandemonium and Suits That Rock.

Event co-founders, Bill Donabedian and Kevin Canafax, said the festival is intended to “highlight bourbon and the urban footprint of Northern Kentucky.”

“Bourbon is one of the things that make Kentucky, Kentucky,” Canafax said. “It’s what gives us our edge.”

Edge indeed.

Kentucky distilleries reported another record year for bourbon tourism, according to a recent report from the Associated Press. The Kentucky Distillers' Association says tourists made a record 1.4 million stops at distilleries along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour in 2018.

Kentucky’s Edge is expected to be a win for local businesses.

“We’re celebrating all that makes this region special and Kentucky’s Edge will only be successful if we work together and show the world what the northern edge of Bourbon Country is all about,” Donabedian said.

Hotel and ticket packages for the festival and conference will go on sale at noon on March 1. Individual event tickets will go on sale later in March or in early April. Visit KentuckysEdge.com for the latest information.