A Local’s Guide to Lexington, Kentucky: Summer Events

May 21, 2018

May is in full swing and it looks as if we have skipped over spring and went straight into summer. With summer comes warm and sunny weather and probably the most fun events of the year! Great weather means more opportunities to spend time outdoors. Lexington has some wonderful events all throughout the summer, because the weather is so nice! I've put together a list of fifteen must attend events you cannot miss out on this summer. #sharethelex #lexingtonky #kentucky #visitlex #summer #travelky

May is in full swing and it looks as if we have skipped over spring and went straight into summer. With summer comes warm and sunny weather and probably the most fun events of the year! Great weather means more opportunities to spend time outdoors.

Lexington has some wonderful events all throughout the summer, because the weather is so nice! I’ve put together a list of fifteen must attend events you cannot miss out on this summer.

15 Summer Events Every Lexingtonian Must Attend:

1. CRAVE Lexington

Crave Lexington is Lexington’s signature food event that celebrates locally-crafted fare from 55+ food vendors and music from 10 bands. There is a classic car show as well. It’s been held since 2012, and I’ve been every year since 2015. CRAVE takes place at Masterson Station Park, which is one of the largest parks in Lexington at 660 acres. Admission is $6. You will need to purchase a package that includes food and drink tickets weeks beforehand, or you can purchase the amount of tickets that you will need at the ticket booths.  Each vendor offers at least three different options; $1 option, which is like a sample sized portion, $3, which is a little bit bigger, and $5, which is even bigger than the other options. Some vendors offer several different selections for each price point.

[RELATED: CRAVE Lexington 2016 | Food and Music Festival]


  • Dates: August 11, 2018 – August 12, 2018
  • Recurrence: Recurring daily
  • Location: Masterson Station Park
  • Time: 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm
  • Price: Free parking; $6 admission + tickets to purchase food


2. Lexington Burger Week

Lexington Burger Week returns! Brace yourself. Since 2015, Lexington Burger Week has been gracing us with yummy burgers that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. I’ve been every year, and plan to keep going every year that they hold this glorious event! The participating restaurants offer their special one-of-a-kind burger for $5. These burgers aren’t on the regular menus. There will be 40 one-of-a-kind burgers that you can try. It would be impossible to try them all, but wouldn’t it be fun to try?!?

[RELATED: Lexington Burger Week 2016]

[RELATED: Lexington Burger Week 2017: The Burgers and How to Make the Most Of It]

  • Dates: July 9, 2018 – July 15, 2018
  • Recurrence: Recurring daily
  • Location: Various Locations
  • Time: Check participating restaurants for operating hours


3. Lexington Restaurant Week

All the best restaurants in the Bluegrass strut their stuff July 26th through August 4th. Lexington Restaurant Week is such an exciting week! It usually occurs the last week of July and first started in 2013. In 2016, there were 44 of the best locally-owned, independent restaurants participating in this event. Usually during Lexington Restaurant Week, there is a special menu that you can order off of. Some restaurants offer two can dine for $29, and it usually includes two or three courses. For example, you would share an appetizer, you each would get an entree, and you would get to share a dessert. However, each restaurant offers different things, so some may have only offered two courses.

[RELATED: Lexington Restaurant Week 2016]

[RELATED: Live Love & Eat Local: Lexington Eats Week 2017 Recap]

  • Dates: July 26, 2018 – August 4, 2018
  • Recurrence: Recurring daily
  • Location: Various Locations
  • Time: Check participating restaurants for operating hours


4. Ballet Under the Stars

Ballet Under the Stars is one of Central Kentucky’s most anticipated summer events! It’s also celebrating its 29th year! This event is pretty unique, because you are combining the professional world of ballet with the casual setting of the park. The event begins with a pre-show youth production at 8 pm. The main show featuring professional dancers from Kentucky Ballet Theatre begins at 9 pm. Please bring lawn chairs or blankets for seating. Patrons may pack a picnic dinner or buy concessions onsite.

  • Dates:August 2, 2018 – August 5, 2018
  • Location: Woodland Park
  • Time:Pre-show is at 8 pm and main curtain is at 9 pm
  • Tickets: $6 per person, children 3 & under are free


5. Kentucky For Kentucky Totally Tubular Tube-a-Thon

Get ready Kentucky for KY For KY’s third annual Totally Tubular Tube-A-Thon. It will all go down at Still Waters Campground near Frankfort, KY. It’s going to be a fun-filled day and evening that is jam-packed Kentucky-bred live music, food, drinks, and fun on the water. More than 2,200 people came out last year for the second annual Tube-a-Thon. How many will attend this year?

[RELATED: Recap of last year’s event]

  • Dates: June 2, 2018
  • Location: Still Water Campgrounds, Frankfort, Kentucky
  • Time: 10 am to 10 pm
  • Tickets: Prices vary, which you can purchase: HERE.


6. Friday Night Flicks

Free Friday Flicks is the only place in Lexington to enjoy recently released movies in the park. Pre-movie activities include children’s games and a petting zoo. Celebrating 22 years, Flicks offers a great evening of entertainment for all ages. Bring your lawn chairs or blankets for seating. Food vendors will also be on-site. For safety, pets are not permitted. The event is presented by Lexington Parks & Recreation, ABC 36 and Don Jacobs.

2018 Movie Schedule: 

  • June 1: Trolls
  • June 8: Peter Rabbit
  • June 15: Ferdinand
  • June 22: Paddington 2
  • June 29: The Greatest Showman


7. Bluegrass BBQ Festival

The region’s top barbecue pitmasters will head to downtown Lexington – and everyone will eat – at the inaugural Big Ass® Bluegrass BBQ FEST, hosted by Smiley Pete Publishing. The festival will also feature a variety of beer and bourbon along with live blues and bluegrass musical performances.

  • Dates: June 8, 2018 – June 9, 2018
  • Recurrence: Recurring daily
  • Location:Robert F. Stephens Courthouse
  • Time: Friday 5:00 pm-11:00 pm; Saturday 11:00 am-11:00 pm
  • Price:Free


8. The Paddock Dinner Series at Keeneland

Executive Chef Marc Therrien is proud to present a new way to experience Keeneland this summer: The Paddock Dinner Series. These intimate family-style dinners provide an opportunity to enjoy locally-sourced cuisine, craft cocktails and live music in the iconic setting of the Keeneland Paddock. The Paddock Dinner Series is an exclusive chance to experience the intimate side of Keeneland, making these dinners “must attend” events for anyone looking for a unique dining experience this summer.

  • Presented By: Keeneland Race Course
  • Dates: June 14, 2018 & July 26, 2018
  • Location: Keeneland Race Course
  • Time: 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm
  • Tickets: Purchase tickets: HERE


9. Fourth of July Festival

Come downtown to celebrate America’s independence! There will be a street festival, concerts, vendors, an ice-cream eating contest and a parade! The fireworks will be held at The Arboretum. Lexington’s Fourth of July fun will actually kick off on Tuesday, July 3 with the Great American Pie Contest and Ice Cream Social and will feature many family friendly events over the entire festival!

  • Dates: July 3, 2018 – July 4, 2018 (see full schedule: here)
  • Recurrence: Recurring daily
  • Location: Downtown Lexington
  • Time: 7:00 am to 10:00 pm


10. Lexington Lions Club Bluegrass Fair

For over 55 years the Lexington Lions Club has presented the Bluegrass Fair that raises funds for community organizations to provide vision and hearing services to people who can not afford them.  Even though the Fair has changed since its inception, the purpose of the Bluegrass Fair has not. There are many events and fun to be had for people of all ages – carnival rides, grandstand shows, petting farm, games and shows.

  • Dates: July 12, 2018 – July 22, 2018
  • Recurrence: Recurring daily
  • Location: Masterson Station Park
  • Ticket information: Click HERE


11. Woodland Art Fair

Shop over 200 artists, enjoy live music, Kentucky food, beer gardens, and create your own family art-all with free admission. Woodland Art Fair has received several national, regional & local honors including being voted a Top 200 Fine Art & Design Show in the nation in 2007-2012 by Sunshine Artist Magazine, a Top 20 Event by The Southeast Tourism Society & a Top 10 Festival by The Kentucky Travel Industry Association.

  • Dates: August 18, 2018 – August 19, 2018
  • Recurrence: Recurring daily
  • Location: Woodland Park
  • Time: Saturday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm, Sunday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Price: Free


12. Red, White, and Boom

If you love country music, then this event is for you! This 3-day festival at Whitaker Bank Ballpark is going THE biggest concert of the summer! In it’s 13th year, Red, White & Boom brings the biggest country acts to Lexington, Kentucky! Growth of Red, White and Boom has continued year after year, with just over 9,000 in attendance in 2011 and approximately 60,000 attended in 2017.

[RELATED:Red, White, and Boom 2016 | Kentucky’s Largest Country Music Festival]

  • Dates: August 31, 2018 – September 2, 2018
  • Recurrence: Labor Day weekend
  • Location: Whitaker Bank Ballpark
  • Time: 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm
  • Price: Ticket prices vary – At the time of this post, tickets haven’t went on sale yet*

*Listen to 98.1 THE BULL at 7:20 am on June 4, 2018 to find out who is coming!


13. Night Market

A monthly pop-up open air-market/street festival held on the first Friday of every month May through December. Night Market highlights the creativity of local neighborhood businesses, artists, and nonprofits and brings people from all over the region to Lexington’s Northside.

  • Dates: May 4, 2018 – December 7, 2018
  • Recurrence: Recurring monthly on the 1st Friday
  • Location: 700 Block of Bryan Avenue
  • Time: 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm
  • Price: Free


14. Thursday Night Live

Get downtown every Thursday through October 12, for Central Bank Thursday Night Live! Join thousands of your closest friends for live music, local food and beverage vendors, and the hottest party in town.  This event is rain or shine! The party starts at 5 pm, with live music from 5:30 pm to 8 pm.

  • Dates: July 6, 2018 – October 12, 2018
  • Recurrence: Recurring weekly on Thursday
  • Location: Cheapside Park, 251 West Main Street, Lexington, Kentucky
  • Time: 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm
  • Price: Free


15. Summer Nights in Suburbia

Moondance Amphitheater will once again offer a summer concert series featuring genres to include jazz, bluegrass, indie rock, blues and folk, just to name a few. In addition to the live music, there will also be food trucks. Bring your lawn chairs/blankets and come enjoy the music. It’s free to attend! The location is Moondance Amphitheater, 1152 Monarch Street, Lexington, Kentucky .

2018 Summer Nights in Suburbia schedule:

  • June 1: C The Beat
  • June 8: Appalatin
  • June 15: Trisko’s Garage
  • June 22: Honey Child
  • June 29: Cora Lee & the Townies
  • July 6: Slo Fi
  • July 13: Baja Yetis
  • July 20: Boogie G & the Titanics
  • July 27: Johnson Brothers
  • August 3: Other Brothers
  • August 10: Bruce Lewis
  • August 17: Ben Lacy
  • August 24: Bendigo Fletcher
  • August 31: Tribute Band (Lost Legends)




Beer Cheese Festival (I know this isn’t Lexington, but it’s a must)

I know The Beer Cheese Festival isn’t located in Lexington, but it’s located a short drive to Winchester. The Beer Cheese Festival in beautiful, historic downtown Winchester, KY is the only festival in the world dedicated to the celebration of beer cheese! Every 2nd Saturday in June, downtown comes alive with music, food, crafts, shopping, children’s activities, and of course, beer cheese.  Lots and lots of beer cheese! The festival starts at 10 am and ends at 5 pm. You can sample all the beer cheese from all the vendors and then you can vote for your favorite! You can even purchase beer cheese right from the vendors. There are plenty of other things to do at the festival such as listen to live music, drink at the UK Alumni Beer Garden, or visit the arts & crafts or Kentucky Proud booths.

[RELATED: The One and Only Beer Cheese Festival in the World Celebrates Nine Years]

  • Dates:June 9 , 2018
  • Location:Downtown Winchester
  • Time: 10 am to 5 pm
  • Admission: $5 wristband lets you try samples of all the beer cheese


Kentucky State Parks Culinary Trail

Kentucky Tourism has just launched a new campaign, #BetterInTheBluegrass with a Kentucky State Parks Culinary Trail. Kentucky is pretty much a food haven with lots of traditional flavors and rich culinary heritage. This trail is an ode to that and to celebrate the amazing cuisine has to offer! The Better in the Bluegrass campaign encourages guest to learn about the unique cultural aspects of each region that in turn contribute to their signature dishes. If you want to do the Culinary Trail, be sure to take your Culinary Passport to any of the participating nine state parks anytime from May 14 to October 31. Savor the regional meal offered there, then get your passport stamped! Visit all nine and receive a fun prize!

[RELATED: Experience the Kentucky State Parks Culinary Trail With Kentucky Tourism]

  • Dates: May 14, 2018 to October 31, 2018
  • Location: Various state parks



What are you looking forward to the most this summer?

About Me

About Me

Hi, y'all!

Hey y'all! My name is Whitney, and I'm the founder of Fabulous in Fayette. I've been living in Lexington since 2008. I'm in love with my city of Lexington and love all the amazing local businesses and restaurants. It's seriously one of the best places to live!

Not to be confused with Fayetteville, North Carolina. Fabulous in Fayette celebrates the fabulous city of Lexington, the great state of Kentucky, and Southern Living. In case you are not from here, Fayette refers to the county where Lexington is located!

xoxo, Whitney

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