Thursday, August 26, 2010

Henderson Celebrates It's Bicentennial With Horses, Music...And A Beard Contest!

The City of Henderson will celebrate its bicentennial with events scheduled for September 11-18, 2010. The schedule includes a horse show and a “Henderson Bicentennial Celebration” picnic with live music, children's events, a beard contest and more.

The celebration will begin with the Henderson City Horse Show on Saturday, September, 11 at the Henderson County Fairgrounds. The show will begin at 8 a.m. and will include competitions in Western Horsemanship, Saddleseat Equitation and several other categories.

On Sunday, September 12, the city will host a “Henderson Bicentennial Celebration” picnic from 12-4 p.m. in Central Park. Interested attendees are encouraged to dress in 1810-era clothing and to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy during the festivities. The mayor will issue a proclamation, birthday cake will be served, and live music will be played. A beard contest will also take place this day. Awards will be given in the beard contest in the following categories such as Abe Lincoln, Reddest, Most Creative and Most Pitiful. Thomason's BBQ and Countryview Baptist Church concessions will be available. Everyone is welcome to bring a picnic lunch.

The celebration will continue with children's events on Saturday, September 18 from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. in Central Park. Activities will include demonstrations and more from students at Niagara, Spottsville, Bend Gate and South Heights Schools. Live music will include the Bicentennial Bluegrass All-Star Band, Dave Redmon and other acoustic musicians. The celebration will include casual play of corn hole and washers in Central Park. Concessions will be available during the event.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Play Presents A New Side of John Audubon's Story

Museum Garden, John James Audubon State Park, 
7 p.m.
Tickets: $10 for Adults or $5 for Children & Students

John James Audubon: Before His Birds will be presented on Thursday and Friday, August 19 and 20 at 7 p.m. in the museum garden of Audubon State Park. The play was written by A.J. Casey and is co-directed by Casey and Steve McCarty, technical director at Henderson Fine Arts Center.

A.J. Casey holds a theater degree from Murray State University and currently teaches at RiverBend Academy arts school. John James Audubon: Before His Birds is Casey’s first full-length script and was written as a thesis project. He created the script in cooperation with the Audubon Bicentennial Committee as part of Audubon in Henderson: A Bicentennial Celebration – 1810-2010.

The gorgeous outdoor setting of the play’s presentation is in keeping with Audubon’s love of the natural world, and is a fitting tribute to Audubon’s many treks into the wilderness surrounding Henderson, Ky. during his time here. The museum itself will lend a dramatic backdrop to the production.

John James Audubon: Before His Birds focuses on Audubon’s life and his influences as the creator of the masterpiece Birds of America. His intense love affair with his wife Lucy, as well as his many years spent gathering inspiration and material in Henderson, Ky, played heavily into Audubon’s life and success, and are chronicled in Casey’s original play.

The local cast includes: John (Chris Reaves); Lucy (Megan Mortis); Capt. Jean Audubon and Artistic Admirer (Frank Furbush); Anne Moynet (Megan Nantz); William B. and Thomas B. (Rick Chandler); Woman and Lady Artistic Admirer (Brianna Barron); Dacosta, Attendant and Mr. Bowen (Kurt Denton); Assistant (Isaac Vaughn); Thomas Bakewell (Adam Casey)

Ticket prices are $10 for adults and $5 for children and students. Tickets may be purchased at Matt's News & Gifts in downtown Henderson and at the Audubon State Park museum.

The play will be preceded on Thursday, August 19 by the opening reception & awards presentation of Views of Audubon, an exhibit of paintings inspired by landscapes and wildlife of the park, from 5 to 6:45 p.m. On Friday, August 20, a drawing for a 2010 Jeep Wrangler will be held prior to the play at 6 p.m. in front of the Tea House; raffle tickets have been on sale throughout the summer and are available for purchase for $25 each until the time of the drawing. The exhibit, raffle and the play are part of Audubon in Henderson: A Bicentennial Celebration – 1810-2010. For more information on bicentennial events, visit:

About Audubon in Henderson: A Bicentennial Celebration – 1810-2010:
John James Audubon arrived in the river town of Henderson, Kentucky in 1810 with his wife and infant son. Audubon loved the frontier spirit in Henderson, and as he worked to support his family through business he also spent much time roaming the woods, observing and painting the many species of birds abundant in the area. Audubon’s skills as an artist grew during his years in Kentucky, and after nine years in Kentucky, he went on to publish his ornithological works in the masterpiece, “The Birds of America.” In celebration of the bicentennial of Audubon’s 1810 arrival in Henderson County, the Friends of Audubon, Ohio Valley Art League and the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources have come together to celebrate with a wide variety of events.

For more information, contact Susie Bailey - 270-827-9046/ or Contact the Audubon Museum - 270-827-1893

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Henderson Itineraries Make Planning Your Trip Easier Than Ever

We encourage you to combine these ideas with other popular attractions you’d like to visit while in Henderson. Use these itineraries as a planning tool during your visit, or stop by the The Depot to speak directly with our staff for assistance in planning a custom itinerary based on your interests. For additional questions, visit or call us at 1-800-648-3128.


Start your morning with breakfast at one of our restaurants.

Next, explore the artworks by Raymond Graf on the Audubon Sculpture Walking Tour. The cast-bronze sculptures are based on paintings from Audubon's "Birds of America" series and are located throughout downtown.

You don’t want to miss the chance to see Audubon’s works up close. Head to Audubon State Park Museum and view one of the world’s largest collections of original Audubon art. The museum is open daily 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Visit the museum store for reproductions of Audubon prints, Kentucky craft and food products, books, toys, textiles, and nature related items.

Enjoy lunch at one of our tasty barbecue restaurants before heading to the Rotunda Gallery. Located in the public library, this gallery hosts several rotating exhibits throughout the year.

If you’re traveling during the summertime, plan ahead to visit during one of our bluegrass or jazz festivals. Experience the excitement of watching live music in a beautiful outdoor setting. You can learn more about two of our most popular festivals by visiting or

A short drive will take you to the Evansville Museum for exhibits in art, history, and science. The Koch Planetarium is also located at the museum, and features live shows beginning at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday.

After dinner at one of Henderson’s restaurants, catch a show at the Henderson Fine Arts Center. We recommend planning ahead, so that you can choose a show that best interests your group. For specific event information visit or call (270) 826-5916.

Staying for more than a day? Listen to original recordings and watch legends perform on video at the International Bluegrass Music Museum in nearby Owensboro.


In the morning, enjoy a bike ride along the riverfront and a visit to one of Henderson's most popular city-operated parks, Atkinson Park. The park offers recreational activities such as disc golf, swimming, biking, and the Riverwalk path. The pool is opened seasonally from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.

Grab a sandwich at a downtown deli or get carryout from one of the many restaurants, and eat at a picnic table in Audubon Mill Park on the riverfront. While there, explore the park’s rich history. Signs describe naturalist’s John James Audubon’s grist mill, which was once located in the park. Statues of Audubon and his birds are throughout the park.

Stop by The Depot and ask for a Sculpture Walking Tour brochure. This brochure describes a scavenger hunt of hidden statue details. The whole family can work together to discover the unique hidden creatures in the bird sculptures.

Be sure to take the kids to John James Audubon State Park as well. Enjoy recreational activities such as boating, fishing, and hiking. The nature center allows children to get an up close view of snakes, turtles, and other creatures in the park. Throughout the year, kids can participate in children’s activities at the park. For more information on these activities, call (270) 827-1893 or visit their website.

Staying for more than one day? Drive to nearby Evansville and visit the Children’s Museum of Evansville or the Mesker Park Zoo for additional fun activities for the whole family.


Start your day by visiting John James Audubon State Park. Nearly two centuries ago, John James Audubon, renowned naturalist and artist, came to explore the surrounding wilderness in search of wild birds to study and sketch. Before you come, request birding and trail maps online or stop by The Depot.

Next head downtown for lunch and shopping. While there, enjoy the Audubon Sculpture Walking Tour. Several bird statues based on Audubon’s artwork are on display throughout Henderson’s city streets and in the parks.

Take a moment to enjoy the barges on the Ohio River at Audubon Mill Park, before heading to the Sloughs Wildlife Management Area. These wetlands are home to nearly 10,000 geese and 10,000 ducks during the winter. Great blue heron, bald eagle, prothonotary warbler, waterfowl, swamp rabbit, squirrel, deer, quail, raccoon, beaver, coyote, and dove are all found here.

Consider staying in one of the six cottages at John James Audubon State Park, and enjoy the lakefront views in the morning.

If you have more than one day, we’d recommend hiking and climbing at nearby Garden of the Gods in Illinois. While there enjoy a ferry ride and explore Cave In Rock.


Enjoy breakfast at one of our local coffee shops.

Afterward take advantage of the exceptional shopping possibilities downtown. Explore the antique stores and unique boutiques.

Check into one of our comfortable Bed & Breakfasts and relax before lunch at one of our downtown delis.

Next, take a drive to Ruby Moon Winery. The winery offers dry and sweet wines made from estate grown grapes and other locally grown fruits. Tour the winery, stroll through the vineyard, and enjoy a glass of wine and the delicious selection of Kentucky-made gourmet cheeses.

Enjoy the summertime tradition of Thoroughbred racing at Ellis Park Race Course. Experience the fun of choosing a horse, and the thrill watching the race unfold.

Finish the day off by catching a performance at the Henderson Fine Arts Center. We recommend planning ahead, so that you can catch a show that best interests you. For specific event information visit or call (270) 826-5916.

If you have more than one day, we’d also recommend traveling to Amish Country to enjoy the food, shopping, and history.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Take A Tour (By Foot, Car or Bike!)

Whether you’re going by bike, foot or car, there’s a tour for you!

Audubon Sculpture Walking Tour
Kentucky native Raymond Graf created these cast-bronze sculptures based on paintings from Audubon's "Birds of America" series. The sculptures are placed throughout downtown and also include a hidden creature scavenger hunt perfect for the kids. Download the brochure here.

Historic Downtown Walking Tour
Henderson’s unique place in world trade at the close of the 19th century, largely due to the tremendous dark tobacco exporting business located here, provided the setting for the construction of a rather surprising number of expensive homes, given the size of the community. In addition to grand homes, structures include city buildings, the library, banks and downtown businesses. The properties on this walking tour were chosen because of some unusual or special feature of architectural charm or for their historic value. Download the brochure here.

Atkinson Park Riverwalk
A scenic 1.2 mile trail high above the banks of the Ohio River offers an excellent view with resting areas and wheelchair accessibility. The riverbank park offers golf, bike paths, a swimming pool and water slide, playground, picnic facilities, skate park, and an 18 hole disc golf course.

Civil War Driving Tour
The Ohio River Civil War Heritage Corridor encompasses the six Kentucky counties that border Illinois and the Ohio River. The sites on this tour are viewed by way of a driving tour and several additional walking tour stops. Enjoy some of the lesser known, but significant events that shaped the lives of Kentuckians during the Civil War. Download the brochure here.

Bike Trails
There are several bike paths available throughout Henderson County, as well as a 25-mile ride throughout Geneva and the Sloughs. Find out more!

Wildlife Trails
There are several wildlife viewing opportunities in the trailbook Watchable Wildlife & Birding Trails. Pick it up for free at The Depot Visitor’s Center and explore the birding and other wildlife areas in Henderson. Find out more!

Map and brochures for these tours are available at The Henderson County Tourist Commission, located at 101 N. Water St. Call 1-800-648-3128 for more information.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Bluegrass in the Park Celebrates 25 Years With A Commemorative Poster

To celebrate the Bluegrass in the Park Folklife Festival’s 25th year, committee member and Henderson photographer and graphic designer, Fred Reaves has designed a commemorative, limited edition poster.

The 18" x 24" poster prominently features the instruments of bluegrass music and a 1930’s photo of a bluegrass family. A complete listing of all the groups who have ever played at the festival is included in the background of the poster.

The Festival Committee is proud to offer this unique poster to all of the bluegrass fans and supporters who have helped make this year possible. The poster will cost $20.00, and will be available at The Bluegrass General Store tent at the festival, along with t-shirts, stickers and hats.

For more information about the festival, including a full schedule of events, visit or call 1-800-648-3128.

About Bluegrass in the Park Folklife Festival:

One of the oldest on-going free Bluegrass festival in the United States, Bluegrass in the Park Folklife Festival marks its 25th year in 2010. The festival honors Western Kentucky’s history as a center of Bluegrass music. In addition to great Bluegrass music, Bluegrass in the Park Folklife Festival boasts unique events and a family friendly atmosphere.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Folklife Festival to Highlight Grandpa Jones

Many are familiar with the southern-drawl of good ole “Grandpa Jones”, rattling off a list of southern fare or pickin’ and singin’ a lively banjo number on the popular 1970s show “Hee-Haw.”

His persona will come to life again at the folklife area during the Bluegrass In the Park and Folklife Festival August 14. David Hurt, a Kentucky Humanities Council Chautauqua speaker, will portray Louis Marshall “Grandpa” Jones, a Henderson native, in the festival narrative tent at noon that day. Kentucky Humanities Council speakers Jim Claypool and Sarah Rejoice Brown will also give listeners rare glimpses into western Kentucky’s underground mining traditions and some of Kentucky’s noted and notorious characters. Claypool’s talk on “Rascals, Heroes and Just Plain Uncommon Folks” kicks off the event at 10 a.m., and area miners will join Brown at 11:15 a.m. for a discussion on the tricks and traditions of underground mining.

You will also have the chance to watch a llama being sheared for its wool at the folk life festival, and learn about old-time crafts like canoe-building, quilting and canning or learn clogging from a master Appalachian dance instructor!

If you want to learn more about these traditions or you just want to experience them, then come down to the Folklife area on Saturday, August 14 from 10am-2pm. Folklife is presented by The Depot Community Room, The Downtown Henderson Project, City of Henderson Parks and Recreation, Henderson County Cooperative Extension, Kentucky Humanities Council and Bluegrass in the Park Folklife Festival Committee.

Folklife Exhibitors (Ongoing from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.):
• Shade Tree Players: This dulcimer group will demonstrate the art of dulcimer music.
• Fried Apple Pies: Children can make and eat their own fried apple pies.
• Canning: Demonstration on the steps of canning your own salsa.
• Herbs: Debbie Lowrance will discuss growing and harvesting herbs.
• Burgoo: Paul Stone will share the secrets of making burgoo, a traditional Western Kentucky dish.
• Sidewalk Chalk Art: Local artists will create quilt patterns that children (and adults, too!) can trace in chalk on the sidewalk.
• Quilter: Janet Burke will display her quilts and show the process of quilt making.
• Canoe Construction: Peter Chevalier will display and work on a “proof of concept” canoe made without power tools, dimensional lumber or modern fasteners.
• Llama Shearer, fabric and fiber artists: A local farmer will demonstrate how to shear a llama for their wool, and fiber artists will demonstrate how to turn that wool into fabric.
• Children’s Games The City of Henderson Parks and Recreation Dept. will have old-time games like checkers, chess, hoola hoops and washer boards available for children to play.
• Western Kentucky Miners: Area miners will have mining tools on display.

Narrative Tent:
• Sarah Rejoice Brown (11:15 a.m.): Occupational Tradition of Coal Mining in Western Kentucky. Brown and area miners will share stories, customs, terminology, and related rare glimpses into tricks of the underground trade
• Jim Claypool (10 a.m.): Claypool, a Kentucky Humanities Council speaker, will profile a choice selection of the many colorful Kentuckians, male and female, noted and notorious- whose stories make our history so interesting and entertaining.
• David Hurt as Grandpa Jones (Noon): Louis Marshall Jones, better known as Grandpa, was the son of Henderson County sharecroppers. Hard times drove the family north to Akron, Ohio in the late 1920s. Grandpa Jones had a celebrated music career spanning more than 60 years, and is best-known for portraying his beloved “Grandpa Jones” character on the popular 1970s comedy “Hee-Haw.”
• Barry Lanham and the Foot Stompin’ Express (1:15 p.m.): Lanham is a master instructor of Appalachian dance based out of Owensboro, Ky. Lanham and his clogging troupe will demonstrate the folk tradition of clogging and teach a beginner’s class on the basics! Lanham’s clogging classes offer virtually non-stop dancing, instruction, music, high-spirited fun and friendship.

About Bluegrass in the Park Folklife Festival:
 One of the oldest on-going free Bluegrass festivals in the United States, Bluegrass in the Park Folklife Festival marks its 25th year in 2010. The festival honors Western Kentucky’s history as a center of Bluegrass music. In addition to great Bluegrass music, Bluegrass in the Park Folklife Festival boasts unique events and a family friendly atmosphere.

If you have any questions, please call us at 1-800-648-3128. We have the most up to date information on dining and shopping! For information on lodging, go here. For information on other upcoming events in Henderson, go here.