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Bardstown residents complain of being left out of revamped Kentucky Bourbon Festival

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 11:55 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 24, 2021 at 12:03 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - There is unrest in the Bourbon Capital of the World as Bardstown residents complain about new rules for this year’s Kentucky Bourbon Festival.

“They want the connoisseurs to come in,” David Erickson, the Blind Pig Bourbon Market owner, said. “They don’t want the Bardstown people. They don’t want Louisville people.”

Erickson’s frustration is apparently shared by many in Bardstown. For the first time in its 30-year history, the Kentucky Bourbon Festival is off limits to anyone under 21 and everyone needs a ticket to get in.

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In almost 8 weeks this lawn outside Bardstown's Spalding Hall will be full of distilleries, vendors, food, music and...

Posted by Kentucky Bourbon Festival on Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Once celebrated as a hometown community and family event, it is now all about the whiskey, the distilleries that make it, and the people who buy it. Come September, it will also be the first time people will be able to sample bourbon from the participating distilleries.

“It’s something that had to change, and we had to adapt our business plan,” Kentucky Bourbon Festival President Randy Prasse said. “It was never done with any intention of excluding anyone from the community.”

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There is unrest in the Bourbon Capital of the World as Bardstown residents complain about new...
There is unrest in the Bourbon Capital of the World as Bardstown residents complain about new rules for this year’s Kentucky Bourbon Festival.(WAVE 3 News)

Prasse said general admission tickets sold for just $10 each. Most single day tickets sold out in two weeks.

“We attempted, all of our Facebook, all of our website was updated,” Prasse said. “So all of the traditional ways you go about learning about a festival and event that you’re planning to attend, we did that back in December, actually.”

Still, some Bardstown residents complain on the Festival’s Facebook page that they did not know that tickets would be required until after they were sold out.

Prasse said more than 9,000 tickets for the festival were bought by people in 31 states and eight countries.

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