Fall and festivals just seem to go together—especially in Perryville, Kentucky, a sleepy Civil War town whose unassuming exterior belies a rich past celebrated each year at the Perryville Battlefield Commemoration.
The word “commemoration” really doesn’t do the festival justice; beyond the reenactment of one of Kentucky’s biggest (and many argue, most significant) Civil War battles, the weekend involves live music, a barbecue competition, beauty pageant, a fun run, authentic Civil War era food, a pancake breakfast, and more.
If you’re in the Perryville area during the first weekend in October, here are three things you really shouldn’t miss:
This year, the festival will host its first-ever barbecue competition, where locals can show their stuff and the public can vote on their favorite dishes. We in Danville know our barbecue—we have our own blowout festival every September—and we are definitely looking forward to the addition of traditional American cooking to the commemoration.
A Taste of 1862
If you’re interested in time traveling, A Taste of 1862 is for you. You can enjoy an authentic period meal cooked over an open fire along with a talk by renowned local Civil War historian and author Stuart Sanders. Best of all, the proceeds of this event benefit the revitalization of Merchant’s Row, a group of buildings dating from before the Civil War, many of which served as temporary hospitals and lodging for soldiers.
As you’re wandering downtown Perryville during the festival, don’t be alarmed if you hear gunshots suddenly ringing out from behind buildings or the clattering of hooves on pavement; these are the sounds of re-enactors getting into the spirit of things and staying true to the battle of Perryville, which spilled over into the streets in its final hours. And while there’s a general time of day that you can expect the skirmishes to begin, the re-enactors enjoy the element of surprise!
These are just some of the highlights of the 152nd commemoration of the Battle of Perryville. Find out more here.
Danville/Boyle County Convention and Visitors Bureau
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