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Kentucky Bourbon Festival News

Randy Prasse named President and COO

Announced February 25, 2020:

America’s premier celebration of bourbon looks to reimagine its twenty-nine-year-old tradition with new leadership.

The Kentucky Bourbon Festival (“KBF”), America’s premier celebration of the nation’s native spirit, announced today the hiring of Randy Prasse as president and COO. Prasse brings more than 25 years of high-end festival and event management, operations, and marketing experience to the KBF. Prasse will not only lead the Festival’s day-to-day operations, but he will also help chart the future growth of the organization.

The Kentucky Bourbon Festival also appointed David Mandell as the new Chairman of its Board of Directors. Mandell is the Co-Founder and former President and CEO of The Bardstown Bourbon Company, where he created, launched and managed the company’s Napa-valley bourbon distillery destination experience in Bardstown, Kentucky.

“The Kentucky Bourbon Festival is much more than a week-long event, it’s a celebration of one of the most exciting industries in America and a catalyst for local economic development,” said Mandell. “We could not be more excited to have someone of Randy’s caliber help lead the Kentucky Bourbon Festival to the next level.”

Prior to joining the KBF, Prasse was previously Senior Director of Operations at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY directing all operations functions of the 2016-2019 Kentucky Derbys. He has also held positions at WESS Event Services – Garda, Gettysburg Fest, Tri-County Economic Development Alliance (Elizabeth, IL), and the Wisconsin State Fair Park and has volunteered for numerous festival, travel, and visitors bureau non-profit organizations in Wisconsin. Randy was named Top 100 People to Know in Milwaukee (2008) by OnMilwaukee.com and Forty Under 40 (2006) by the Milwaukee Business Journal.

“More than anything, I am looking towards the future of the festival. I plan to immerse myself in the community and collaborate with our industry partners, board of directors, and city officials.” Kentucky Bourbon Festival President and COO Randy Prasse said. “We’ve built a solid foundation, and now it’s time to take the Festival to new heights.”

This year the Kentucky Bourbon Festival celebrates it’s 29th Anniversary and is known as one of the Commonwealth’s leading cultural festivals. The Kentucky Bourbon Festival has a number of signature events, educational opportunities, arts and crafts, music on the lawn and more. The Festival is held each fall in Bardstown, KY, the Bourbon Capital of the World®.

In addition to Mandell, the Kentucky Bourbon Festival Board of Directors includes:

  • Vice Chair – Melissa Horton, Corporate Events Manager at Heaven Hill Brands
  • Treasurer – Donald Blincoe, President/Professional Engineer at Buzick Construction
  • Secretary – Rachel Miller, Owner of The Harrison-Smith House
  • Board Member – Jennifer Cissell, Trade and Hospitality Manager at Beam Suntory
  • Board Member – Tony Kramer, Distillery Operations Manager at Lux Row Distillery
  • Board Member – Andrew Wiehebring, Director of Spirit Research and Innovation at Independent Stave Company
This year’s Kentucky Bourbon Festival will be held Sept. 16 through Sept. 20. Tickets for the 2020 Kentucky Bourbon Festival will be made available for purchase this summer.

The 29th Annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival Dates

Announced November, 15th 2019:
The Commonwealth’s authentic Bourbon Festival will return to the Bourbon Capital of the World® for its twenty-ninth year! Kentucky Bourbon Festival leadership announced November 15th, the 2020 Kentucky Bourbon Festival will take place on Sept. 16 through Sept. 20, 2020. The Festival, which draws novice and experienced Bourbon lovers to Bardstown, Kentucky each year, will celebrate the storied history of distilling America's native spirit during National Bourbon Heritage Month.
The 2019 Festival bolstered many new experiences, such as the first hand-made Official Poster and the first time cocktails were sold on the Great Lawn - two favorites of Festival attendees. And although 2019 festivities ended only two months ago, preparations for the upcoming year are already underway. The Kentucky Bourbon Festival will continue to host signature events in 2020 in addition to new guest
“Each event for the 2019 Festival year outsold the events in 2018” says Kentucky Bourbon Festival Chairman, Josh Hollifield. “What that says is, as a whole, our Festival attendees and friends of the industry are as engaged as ever - we’re keeping that momentum in 2020 and for the years to come.”Tickets for the Kentucky Bourbon Festival will be made available for purchase during the summer of 2020.

About the Kentucky Bourbon Festival®
The Kentucky Bourbon Festival celebrates the storied history of America's native spirit in Bardstown, Kentucky, which is perhaps better known as The Bourbon Capital of the World®. It began as a simple Bourbon tasting dinner and has grown tremendously over the years. Today, it is known as one of the Commonwealth’s leading cultural festivals and a celebration of all the people who’ve contributed to the state’s signature industry for generations.
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