Railroad & Bluegrass Festival

Beauty pageant among
new events planned

Event designed to promote
La Grange’s train heritage

LA GRANGE, Ky. (October 2013) – Jim Zimmerman thinks it’s only natural to combine a railroad festival with bluegrass music. For him, the two “go hand in hand,” he said. And the perfect location is La Grange, where no one can miss the tracts bisecting Main Street.

Railroad Fest Logo

La Grange Railroad
& Bluegrass Festival

• 6-9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11; 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Friday, Oct. 11
• 6-9 p.m. Music on
Courthouse Lawn

Saturday, Oct. 12
• 9 a.m.: Beauty Pageant
• 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.: Farmers’ Market

• 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.: Model Train Swap Meet
• 10 a.m.: Cornhole Tournament
• 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.: Live Steamers, Kids Miniature Train Rides
• 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.: Bluegrass Entertainment & Workshops
• 11 a.m.: Cardboard Box Train Parade

“A lot of the lyrics in bluegrass-country music refer to railroads,” said Zimmerman. “It has been pointed out that La Grange is the perfect location to host such an event due to the fact that we are still considered rural with the advantage of having a major metropolitan center within 15 miles of our Courthouse Square.”
Zimmerman is festival chair of the upcoming fourth annual La Grange Railroad and Bluegrass Festival, to be held from 6-9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12. Corresponding activities will be held on the Courthouse Lawn, La Grange Community Center, DeHaven Baptist Church, the Oldham County History Center and along Main Street in La Grange. The Ohio Valley Railroad Historical Foundation Inc.’s museum will be open that day as well, located at 412 E. Main St.
This will be the first year bluegrass music has been added to the festival lineup. Nancy Griffin, Executive Director of Discover Downtown La Grange, said she has worked with locals involved in bluegrass music, such as Tim Curtis, Director of Oldham County Parks & Recreation and organizer of the Woodsongs series, and Lea Cockrell, owner of La Grange Coffee Roasters, where Monday Night Jams are held. Discover Downtown La Grange is hosting this event.
“With their combined knowledge of bluegrass music, we felt we were uniquely blessed locally,” said Griffin. “We wanted to highlight that part of our town’s personality. Because the train is a daily part of our lives, we wanted to fuse our local flair into an eclectic venue,” Griffin said.
Included in the festival’s lineup will be musical entertainment on the Courthouse Lawn from 6-9 p.m. Friday featuring a group Cockrell performs with, Coffee Jam. Music will continue from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. with such groups as the Whiskey Bent Valley Boys, Shades of Grass and other regional bluegrass bands.
Activities will kick off on Saturday with a Cardboard Box Train Parade at 10 a.m. for children ages 6-12. “Kids make their own train car and wear or pull it around downtown La Grange during an organized sidewalk parade,” said Griffin.
Registration will be at 9:15 a.m. at the gazebo on Second Street. The parade will begin in front of the Oldham County History Center, 106 N. Second Ave. This activity will be judged for Best Walking Full Train, Best Individual Locomotive, Best Railroad Car, Best Caboose and Best Pulled Wagon Railroad Car or Locomotive.
Saturday activities include a model train swap meet at the La Grange Community Center. There will be four different layouts and door prizes. Miniature train rides for children will be given by Live Steamers at the parking lot on Second Street and Main Street.
Two cornhole tournaments will be held. “One of the events, the Club Car Invitational, is particularly creative, fun and community service focused,” said Griffin. The Club Car Invitational will pair eight residents from Apple Patch and eight residents from Cedar Lake Lodge, both local service agencies, with partners from various service and community organizations to form a 16-team tournament.
Each team will be sponsored by a specific service or community organization that will pay a $25 entry fee and provide a teammate to throw. Proceeds will be split evenly between Cedar Lake Lodge and Apple Patch, and the winning team will receive the Mayor’s Trophy, said Griffin.
“The second cornhole tournament is designed for straight up cornhole competition,” she said. The tournament will consist of two person teams in a double elimination format. Male, female and co-ed teams are allowed and winning teams will receive awards. The entry fee for both cornhole events is $25. They will be located on Walnut Street between Jefferson and Main streets.
The La Grange Farmer’s Market will be set up on the Courthouse Lawn. Special train-themed exhibits and movies will be shown at the Oldham County History Center. New to this year’s festival will be a Railroad Festival Beauty Pageant at 9 a.m. at DeHaven Baptist Church.
Griffin said that Zimmerman, who is also on the board for Discover Downtown La Grange, “has asked us each year to come up with a way to have a railroad festival representative for La Grange.” This year the idea surfaced to have a pageant and let the winner hold those duties.
“The crowned winner will have representative responsibilities at various events throughout the year,” Griffin said. “She, as part of her duties, will serve as a Discover Downtown La Grange spokesperson throughout the year.”
The Railroad Festival Beauty Pageant will be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, at DeHaven Baptist Church. The emcee for the event will be Heather French-Henry, Miss America 2000. Pageant categories include personal interviews, western wear and evening gown.
“We’d like the festival to become known regionally as a fall tradition,” Griffin said. “This festival offers a way to really highlight a unique part of our town and to encourage people passing through to come back for an event focused on what they already love about the town.”

• For more information on the festival, contact Nancy Griffin at (502) 269-0126.

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