BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WAVE) - The Kentucky Bourbon Festival is expected to draw thousands of people to Bardstown this week.
"This is really a sense of pride for this community," Mike Mangeot, Executive Director of the Kentucky Bourbon Festival, said. "We're the authentic and original bourbon ferstival."
Mangeot said the festival, now in it's 28th year, brings in millions of dollars into the economy. They're trying something new for the festival this year, too.
"Our distillers now are actually able to sell cocktails on the lawn, so all of our distillers will be doing that," Mangeot said.
It's an exciting time around town, with visitors checking out local shops, restaurant and bars.
"It's neat to watch the town come alive and open arms for all the visitors that we get for the bourbon festival," Detra Haycraft, bar manager at Talbott Tavern, said. "Everybody is super excited about it because we are the bourbon capital of the world and we enjoy welcoming everybody and sharing our spirits with them."
Haycraft and other local bars were hoping to cash in some more by keeping their bars open later. A current ordinance states bars can be open until 1 a.m. during the week and midnight on Sundays. Local bars wanted to change the ordinance for big events in town, to allow them to stay open until 2 a.m.
"A lot of people didn't feel like an hour makes a whole lot of difference but when you have people coming into town that are used to being able to stay out later, it can," Haycraft said.
Haycraft and others, like the co-owner of 3rd Street Tap House, Aaron McCubbins, were hoping the ordinance would change before the festival started.
"The different people as they come in they're from bigger cities and they don't understand why," McCubbins said. "If you're the bourbon capital of the world, why you would close down at 1 o clock?"
City officials said the proposal was tabled a few times over the last few months and ultimately no council member would sponsor the ordinance change, so the current hours would stay the same.
The owners of 3rd Street Tap House showed Wave 3 News more than 200 signatures on a petition from people all across the region wanting the hours changed.
"I just think it's more for safety more than anything because a lot of people will come here until about 12 or midnight and decide well we only have one more hour left, we're going to go to Louisville," McCubbins said. "So more than making money, it's a safety issue as well."
Several bar owners and managers said they are hoping the conversation will continue about changing the hours in the future.
"We're just trying to accommodate the public," McCubbins said. "We don't want to start anything with the city of Bardstown. We just want it to be fair more than anything else. When the people ask you to do something, we're just trying to be the voice of the people."
The Kentucky Bourbon Festival runs from September 18-22.