Kentucky Bourbon Festival kicks off in Bardstown - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Kentucky Bourbon Festival kicks off in Bardstown

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BARDSTOWN, KY (WAVE) - Thousands of people will attend events for the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown through the end of the weekend, and the extra attention on the area means an opportunity for some to keep Officer Jason Ellis's murder in the public's eye.

The annual festival, which brought 52,000 people in Bardstown last year, started Tuesday.

There aren't any events tied directly to the Ellis case, although plenty of additional people being made aware of the Ellis case will be beneficial, said Milt Spalding of the local Fraternal Order of Police.

"With the posters all over town reminding everyone, it's keeping it in people's memory," Spalding said. "Months later, it's not any easier. It's just as fresh as it was when it happened."

Ellis was ambushed and murdered while on duty in late May. Unsolved murders of police officers are rare, Spalding said.

The Bourbon Festival featured a mixed-drink challenge Wednesday in an event that showcased both restaurants and distilleries.

"This week in particular brings so many tourists into the area," said Old Talbott Tavern bartender Angie Leake, whose team won the competition. "It's the love of bourbon, it's insane, but it's awesome for our area."

Mary Katherine Pressley, who came from San Diego, California, said the festival had exceeded her expectations.

"There's been lot of hospitality, very friendly people," she said. "Everyone we meet, it's like we've known them for a long time."

The festival continues until Sunday evening, including a Thursday luncheon and a weekend craft distiller event that are new this year, executive director Linda Harrison said.

"It's just going to get bigger and bigger every day," Harrison said. "Besides making new friends and getting re-acquainted with old friends, it's a time to showcase our hospitality."

For this year's complete schedule, click here.

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