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Secretariat Festival 2016


2016 Secretariat Festival PosterThe 2016 Bourbon County Secretariat Festival is on the move. This year’s 9th renewal will take place Sept. 16-18 in historic downtown Paris, Kentucky. Festival events will be located along scenic Main Street amidst the shops, amenities and small-town charm of this Central Kentucky township.

The Festival will feature many of the existing Secretariat fan favorite events including Claiborne Farm tours, celebrity autograph signing, Secretariat archives silent auction, Friday Paris Artwalk and Barrel Mane-ia Bourbon tasting, as well as a wide selection of food and entertainment.

The new Main Street location lends itself to the addition of several new and exciting festivities and attractions including the Legends Tributes, Big Red Beer Garden, Festival Parade, Blanton’s Bourbon Tasting and Bill Nack Storytelling, Barrel Head Craftsmen Furnishing Gallery, “Twice the Heart” AngioScreening, with even more exciting activities to come!




Thursday, Sept. 15 – For those of you who wish to start your Festival experience early, enjoy the Sept. 15 “Third Thursday” Music Festival Kickoff at the Bourbon County Courthouse featuring live entertainment.

Friday, Sept. 16 – Paris Artwalk beginning at 5:00 pm. Over 30 shops and venues along Main St. participate in this popular civic event showcasing more than 100 local and regional artists.

Barrel Mane-ia Party and Bourbon Tasting – This lively Festival eve party benefiting equine welfare as well as local Paris charities features free admission and adult beverages available during the spirited bidding and auction of Kentucky oak barrels, creatively painted and embellished by regional artists to reflect the area’s unique equine culture.

Saturday, Sept. 17 – The Festival hits full stride with fans and families who travel from across the country far and wide gather together to celebrate Secretariat’s legend and legacy. Visitors to the Festival Main Street corridor can expect a constant buzz of activity and events.

The Festival’s horse farm tours scheduled throughout the day provide an insider’s view to the Kentucky thoroughbred breeding industry. For those who wish to explore the roots of Secretariat, Claiborne Farm Tours provides visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the prominent thoroughbred breeding operation, now in its fourth generation of ownership by the Hancock Family, where Secretariat was conceived and rests in his hallowed grave site.

The Festival will also offer tours to another premier Bourbon County horse farm, Adena Springs – the esteemed farm offering an impressive roster of distinguished stallions including four Breeders’ Cup Classic champions and the 2013 Secretariat Vox Populi Award winner, Mucho Macho Man.

The Legends Tribute Appearances offer guests a rare opportunity to meet with racing giants and hear their stories firsthand through truly memorable visits and discussions. The lineup for this year starts with the beloved champion thoroughbred Wise Dan and his devoted trainer Charles Lopresti. Free visits with Wise Dan will be held at the Bourbon County Fairgrounds, with a complimentary shuttle bus service available. The second Legends Tribute of the day spotlights Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. and Secretariat’s brilliant rival Sham for an in-depth discussion of this noble competitor. Phil Dandrea, author of Sham: Great was Second Best, joins in the afternoon for further Q & A and subsequent booksigning open to all.

The Secretariat Festival celebrity appearance and signing session features an assembly of racing celebrities to rival the First Saturday in May. This marquee event boasting members of the Meadow Stable team and other racing luminaries, has become a dream destination for autograph seekers of all ages. Those already confirmed for 2016 include Secretariat’s Hall of Fame jockey Ron Turcotte, exercise rider Charlie Davis, author and journalist Bill Nack, and Kentucky Derby winning jockeys Laffit Pincay Jr., Jean Cruguet, Pat Day, Mike Manganello, and Jacinto Vasquez.

Memorabilia and sports collectors gravitate to the Festival’s Secretariat Archive Auction featuring a variety of authentic racing artifacts from the Secretariat and Claiborne Farm archival collections. The auction also offers original halters and horseshoes from some of the industry’s most popular stallions and a unique assortment of Secretariat and racing-related memorabilia.

A new Festival addition this year has all the marks of evolving into a longtime Festival tradition. The Secretariat Big Red Beer Garden is the exclusive source for Secretariat Festival Big Red Amber Ale. Brewed and bottled in Paris, Ky., by the popular Rooster Brew, this new craft brew created specifically for the Festival pays tribute to Secretariat and his larger-than-life legacy with a big flavored Bluegrass-born beer.

Sponsored activities this year include the Barrel Head Craftsmen Furnishing Gallery, sponsored by Lexington Furniture, featuring a unique assortment of decorative furnishings creatively derived from authentic oak whiskey barrels; “Twice the Heart” AngioScreenings, sponsored by Bourbon Community Hospital, to ensure your heart healthiness; Blanton’s Bourbon Tasting and Bill Nack Storytelling featuring a bourbon connoisseur’s dream sampling of Blanton’s Bourbon and delicious Bluegrass-inspired cuisine to be followed by Mr. Nack’s presentation and insider’s perspective into the champion’s life and legacy. Special guest Richard Laurin, grandson of Meadow Stable’s legendary trainer Lucien Laurin, will join in to share favorite stories and personal recollections of Secretariat, with live entertainment to follow.

Don’t miss the North American Riding Academy’s “Pony Express” where children (or adults) can receive the first-hand experience,  instruction and technique tips from celebrated jockeys how to ride like a pro on one of the Festival’s visiting “Equicizer” mechanical horses.

Shoppers will find a vast selection of all things Secretariat among the Festival’s many vendors featuring a diverse collection of artists, craftsmen, and retailers who bring a wide variety of equine and Kentucky-themed products to this Bluegrass gathering.

Family fun will be at hand with the late Saturday afternoon Festival Parade showcasing the Paris community at its heart – down charming Main Street. Featuring marching bands, dancers, floats, vintage autos, and a variety of equine breeds and entertainment. And parade-viewers are invited to get in on the fun, dressing in 1970s apparel or as a Meadow Stable look-alike with prizes awarded for the best Penny and other members of the Secretariat team.

Live entertainment, regional cuisine and children’s events are always a staple of the Festival. Visitors are sure to hear Dale Pyatt and the Chicken Grease Band perform their toe-tapping signature hit “Run, Secretariat, Run” or enjoy a variety of savory selections from favorite area restaurants and food trucks.

Sunday, Sept.18 – Festival events migrate to Lexington where visitors can experience Secretariat’s Kentucky at its finest. Beginning at 9:00 a.m., the Festival will offer satellite experiences from the Kentucky Horse Park, where Secretariat’s Triple Crown trophies and life-sized bronze sculpture are located. Enjoy a double bonus morning tour beginning with Old Friends – the non-profit equine retirement facility where visitors can see Secretariat’s most accomplished living son Tinners Way as well as Kentucky Derby winners Silver Charm and War Emblem. The tour then continues on to the illustrious Darley Stud, home to an abundance of acclaimed stallions including Bernardini, Medaglia D’oro, and Kentucky Derby winners Animal Kingdom and Street Sense.

The Secretariat Festival’s grand finale is a very special opportunity to visit Ashford Stud, home of 2015 Triple Crown and Secretariat Vox Populi Award winner American Pharoah. Demand is sure to be sky high for the single afternoon tour of this prestigious horse farm which hosts some of the world’s finest stallions and racing champions including Giant’s Causeway, Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus, and the industry’s most popular young stud Uncle Mo, sire of 2016 Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist.

Check back here for updates as well as the Festival’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds.

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