Fall festival coming to Jessamine County

Published 10:49 am Monday, October 9, 2023

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The annual Jessamine County Fall Festival is bigger than ever this year as it has moved from Main Street in downtown Nicholasville to the spacious county fairgrounds on Fairground Way.

According to one of the festival organizers, Ann Nip, this festival will be broken up into two parts- a typical schedule for the event. It will span from Wednesday, Oct. 18, to Saturday, Oct. 21.

Tickets are available on the festival’s website at JessamineFallFestival.com for $15 online and $20 in person at the festival. These tickets give access to all of the rides, and there is no fee for admission; anyone is welcome to enjoy the vendors, music, and food without paying for rides.

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On Wednesday and Thursday,  Oct. 18-19, the fairgrounds will have the carnival only from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on both days.

The traditional fall festival festivities will join the scene on Friday, Oct. 20, from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m.

“That will include over 150 vendors, and that number is still growing every day. We’ll have all of the kids’ activities, the teen activities, our live music, and the carnival,” Nipp said.

The parade starts at 10 a.m. and will go along Main Street.

Nipp said the committee wants to be sure everyone gets parked before the roads close, which will be at 9:30 a.m. that morning.

The parade will go from Walgreens to West Maple Street.

No street parking will be available, but parade attendees can park in local church parking lots and other parking lots downtown. At 11 a.m., after the parade, the festivities will begin for the last day at the fairgrounds.

Typically, the festival is held on Downtown Main Street. Nipp said there are a few reasons for this change.

In addition to not disrupting businesses downtown and having more parking space, Nipp said the committee “Made the move because it allows us to grow. It allows just more time for setup and time to set things up properly.”

Due to this move, the festival will also be able to bring back free pony rides and petting zoos.

“I think it’s going to be beneficial in the long run,” Nipp said.

Vendors on Friday and Saturday will include arts and crafts retailers from all around the state and some from out of state.

“But we have many retail vendors and local nonprofits, local businesses, food trucks, we have plenty of food coming in all sorts of different styles,” Nipp said.

Different food truck options will be available, and the carnival will bring its own typical carnival food stands, including funnel cake and other American fair delicacies.

Live music will include local band Men of a Certain Age and Lexington bands like Elvis Cocktail. The East Jessamine High School Choir will kick off the day with the national anthem and a few other prepared songs on Saturday.

The Jessamine County Homeless Coalition started the festival, and this is something that Nipp doesn’t think a lot of people know.

“This fall festival is run 100 percent by the Jessamine County Homeless Coalition and its expenses and organization team. I think it’s pretty fascinating a lot of people don’t realize that. They think it’s a for-profit business or even the City. But the Jessamine County homeless coalition runs that with an amazing committee and team.” Nipp said. “And, of course, our city officials have been amazing in helping with police support and any city support we have requested. They’ve been an incredible help as well. But 100 percent of it is funded by our homeless coalition.”

Every two years, the organizers of the fall festival pick two organizations to help share the proceeds. This year, those organizations are the Jessamine Food Pantry and Stable Recovery.

For more information or to buy your tickets, visit JessamineFallFestival.com.