Where to Eat, Places to Go, Attractions to See, Things to Do...
Some annual traditions are popular in the state of Kentucky, then there’s the annual Hot August Blues Festival at Kenlake State Park. Popular doesn’t even begin to describe what goes on in this beautiful park each August.
The Hot August Blues Festival at Kenlake State Resort Park is celebrating its 24th anniversary Aug. 23-24 (2013). The wildly popular festival is held at the park’s amphitheater on the shore of Kentucky Lake. The show opens Friday, Aug. 23, with Street Corner Blue at 6 p.m.
The program on Saturday, Aug. 24, starts at 2 p.m. with Nightfish. Advance tickets are $12 for Friday and $17 for Saturday. Two-day advance tickets are $25 a person. Children 12 and under are free. Tickets at the gate are $15 for Friday, $20 for Saturday and $30 for both days.
Advance tickets may be purchased online through Aug. 23 at 10 a.m.
The park will host “Neighborhood Night” on Thursday, Aug. 22, with blues and rock music on the lawn at the lodge at 6 p.m. The Harper Brothers Band and others will play. This concert is free, but donations are accepted for local charities.
Special lodging rates at Kenlake are available for Aug. 22. More ticket and schedule information is available at www.hotaugustbluesfestival.com. Tickets are available at Kenlake and other locations in the area. The festival is held rain or shine, and guests may bring chairs and coolers (no glass).
Kenlake State Resort Park is located minutes away from the Land between the Lakes, a 170,000-acre nature lover’s paradise and environmental education area. Kenlake offers lodging, cottages, campground and restaurant. For more information about the park, call 1-800-325-0143.
Attractions to See and Things to Do While in the Kentucky Lake Area
We’re pretty familiar with the Kenlake State Park area because it’s one of our favorite places in the entire state. If possible, plan to arrive in the area a day or two before the festival begins and stay a day or more after it’s wrapped up. There are so many things to do and see in this region that two days is never enough.
Below are just a few of the attractions near Kenlake State Resort Park.
- Land Between the Lakes Recreation Area
- Kentucky Lake
- Lake Barkley
- Lake Barkley State Resort Park
- The Homeplace
- The Nature Station
- The Elk & Bison Prairie
- The Planetarium
- The Hitching Post Gift Shop and Old Country Store (Aurora)
Where to eat during The Hot August Blues Festival
Kenlake State Resort Park actually has one of the best lodge restaurants in the Kentucky State Park System – especially when you order “off the menu.” Their hamburgers and fried catfish sandwiches are better than you’ll find in most restaurants – and the prices are very reasonable.
Just a few minutes from Kenlake State Resort Park (in Aurora), you’ll find the following (each of which we HIGHLY recommend):
- The Brass Lantern – A very classy restaurant with dinners you’ll talk about for years to come. Seriously, the food is THAT good.
- The Willow Pond (Aurora) – fried catfish, beans, coleslaw, grilled catfish, baked potatoes… good food at really good prices. Like The Brass Lantern, Willow Pond is a “supper” restaurant. When eating at The Willow Pond (and loving the catfish and hush puppies), you’d probably be surprised for me to tell you this, but it’s true: this Willow Pond used to be even better! The fried catfish and hush puppies are still good, but for years they were so good they nearly brought tears to your eyes.
- Belew’s Dairy Bar is a little further up the road, but more than worth the couple of minutes it takes to get there. This drive in restaurant is a legend in this area for good reason. The burgers are fantastic and the ice cream, milkshakes and other treats will remind you why we all scream for ice cream in the first place.
- In front of The Hitching Post (Aurora) you’ll find the best hot dogs you ever had in your life at an adorable little stand owned and operated by a couple of lovable Yankees! These characters are as friendly and personable as their hot dogs are delicious. You HAVE to stop for these hot dogs at least once. I say “once,” but trust me – you’ll go back again! Here’s the game plan: Enjoy the best hot dog in the world, then head inside the Hitching Post for homemade fudge. What about that plan doesn’t scream YESSSSSS?!
I really want you to make a special breakfast or lunch trip to nearby Benton, Kentucky (mere minutes) while you’re in the area for The Hot August Blues Festival. Why? For an absolutely fantastic lunch that’s healthy, delicious, and served by people who my grandmother would have called, “Good people. Darn good people.”
Come on, how can you pass up an opportunity to meet good people… darn good people?!
Cafe Chas in downtown Benton is a new restaurant that’d be a perfect 10 out of 10 even if it were owned and operated by scoundrels. But the fact that they’re wonderful people sweetens the deal. The wraps, sandwiches, and pasta salad will make your taste buds feel like they’re having their own little festival. And if (like me), you live for great tea and coffee, Cafe Chas will honestly cause your cup to run over. They give Starbucks a run for their money with specialty drinks, teas, and coffee that are uncommonly fantastic.
Again, I hope you’ll arrive in the area early and stay late. You won’t regret a minute.
If you have any questions about the area (things to do, places to eat…) please don’t hesitate to contact me. Either send me a DM on Twitter on my Genuine Kentucky or Personal account (@JoiTaniaSigers) or e-mail me at joi @ genuinekentucky.com or joisigers @ aim.com.
Best. Hot dogs. Ever.