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Beef Festival Features New Schedule, New Events

Brooks Peavler and Howard Fallis of the Mercer County Cattleman’s Association grilled up the concessions at the 2016 Beef Festival.

Kentucky’s Fort Harrod Beef Festival is revving up for a tasty weekend of grilling and eating centered around Mercer County’s beef industry Friday, June 9 and Saturday, June 10.

The event has moved to the second weekend in June, changed up the schedule and  added new events like the “One Bite Challenge” competition and live music on Friday night, along with the “Ag-citing” magic show for children on Saturday.

The  pre-event kickoff is the Cattle Crawl progressive dinner, Thursday, June 8, starting at 6 p.m. This year the Cattle Crawl will feature downtown restaurants and participants will forego the charter bus to walk to each restaurant. Tickets purchased on or before June 1 are $40 and $50 after that date. Tickets are on sale at the Mercer County Extension office or online at

Gates open Friday at 6 p.m. with the carnival corral, inflatables, train rides and bungee jumping for children and retail and craft vendors, along with Lemon’s Mill Brewery for the adults.

New for Friday night is the “One Bite Challenge” where grillers will prepare  slider or appetizers to win either the judged or people’s choice categories.

The dishes will be served at the wine and cheese tasting, which features  Kentucky Proud wines from central Kentucky, cheeses from Boone Creek Creamery and, new for this year, beer cheese from Mercer’s own Olde Town Distillery.

Tickets to the Wine and Cheese Tasting are $25 and open only to those 21 years  old and up.

Friday will close out with two live bands, the Mike Archer Band, from 7:30–9:30 p.m. and the Southern Flames from 10 p.m. to midnight.

The Beef Festival’s main event, the tasting from the beef grill off competition, has been moved from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday. The admission for the tasting has been lowered to $5 this year, with additional discounts for military personnel with ID.

Festival-goers should enjoy the grill off competition with some new grill masters coming in from out of state. Planners hope to even draw some international  crews.

Saturday is packed with events sure to pique everyone’s interest. The day starts with the Lions Club 5K Stampede/Poke Along at Olde Town Park on Main Street. Registration starts at 7 a.m. with the race beginning at 8 a.m.

At the fairgrounds the morning’s events opens at 7:30 a.m. with the steak and egg breakfast followed by the silent auction to benefit the Dustin Worthington “I Love Cows” program.

Over at the James B. Haggin Memorial Hospital parking lot, “Ride Your Butt Off for United Way” starts at 9 a.m. The bicycle ride, sponsored by Corning, Inc. lets cyclists choose from three different rides—15, 25 or 35 miles—depending on their skill level. All proceeds from the ride benefit the Heart of the Bluegrass United Way.

The other bikes, the motorized kind, have their own ride with registration starting at 9 a.m. and kickstands up at 11:30 a.m. The Poker Run, sponsored by the Olde Towne Distillery, starts and ends at their parking lot, located at 551 Tapp Road.

All of the pageants will take place Saturday, with registration starting at 9 a.m. Categories include little miss and mister, tiny miss and mister and babies. There will also be a diaper derby, where crawlers will strip down to their diapers and find out just who is the fastest crawler in town.

The main concession booth will be manned by the Mercer County Cattlemen’s Association.

Also new this year will be the motorcycle bike night at 6 p.m.

Grill-off awards and scholarships will be announced at 7 p.m. with the night closing out with music from the Blind Midget Blues Band and Elvis Cocktail.

For more information on events, times and prices, visit the Beef Festival website at

To learn more, check out this week’s issue of The Harrodsburg Herald.

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