In polite company, one should never slurp spaghetti or eat dinner with sauce all over their chin. But such propriety flies out the window during the spaghetti-eating contest at the Jeffersonville Italian Festival, when participants vie to scarf down heaps of pasta the fastest. The festival's cake- and cannoli-eating contests likewise require speedy mastication, but languorous visitors can take their time savoring the Italian cuisine served by local vendors, enjoying it alfresco among friends and neighbors. In between bites of chicken parmesan or tiramisu, attendees can also show off their artistic sides with crafts or two-step to Italian tunes crooned by live musicians.
The starting pistol fires and the runners are off, but they're in for a surprise. Rather than running an easy 5K around gentle bends and smooth pavement, they have to clamber over parked cars, carry hefty tires, and participate in burlap sack races before they even get near the finish line. This is the Waterfront Challenge, an urban race designed to test a runner's mettle, strength, and endurance on a route that runs through Louisville's scenic, 85-acre Waterfront Park along the Ohio River. The excitement extends beyond the unorthodox obstacles with waves that run late into the night—those who take off at 9 p.m. make up the Glow Race, which elevates the fun by illuminating runners with glow sticks, glow-in-the dark costumes, and the runners' own sweat, which is naturally bioluminescent. At the end of the race, runners celebrate their victories on Big Four Lawn where music, cold beer, and food join an awards ceremony for top finishers and best glow-in-the-dark costume.
Crossing the Ohio River on the north side of Louisville, it’s impossible not to notice the glassy façade of the KFC Yum! Center right on the river, a gleaming, $238 million cathedral to the University of Louisville’s flagship sport: basketball. Perennial powerhouses in both the men’s and women’s competition, Louisville showcases its fast-paced brand of basketball to one of the most loyal fanbases and student bodies in the country. While hoops may be king—the men’s basketball squad has won the school its two only NCAA Championships—the Cardinals take pride in a host of distinguished sports, including a football team that won both the Big East Conference and the Orange Bowl in 2006, leading the basketball team to briefly experiment with wearing helmets and cleats.
Comedy Caravan corrals chuckles into a singular locale with a lineup of professional comedians performing in the Historic State Theater. This summer, the show will regale theater-goers and inconspicuous phantoms of the opera with such line-punchers as Rich Ragains, a hard-working standup and regular on The Bob and Tom Show. WLEX-TV feature reporter Lee Cruse, who has performed alongside such notable funny-bone ticklers as Jon Stewart and Bill Engvall, will also take the stage in a flurry of guffaws. Ohio native Kelly Collette, a comedienne as lauded as her name is alliterative, will emcee this year's event.
Beloved boy bands New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys rev the engines of adoration among droves of fans with their poptastic summer tour. New Kids on the Block has been plucking heartstrings and handcrafting harmonies since 1986, combining a collection of international hits such as "Hangin' Tough" and "Step by Step" with five-part choreography and fashionable duds. Following in their footsteps, the Backstreet Boys began blowing up charts in the '90s, producing a songbook replete with favorites such as "I Want It That Way," "All I Have to Give," and "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)." The NKOTBSB Tour brings both acts together for a songful extravaganza, forming the more perfect union prophesied nearly 50 years ago by the Constitution. The May 25 concert also includes the vocal virtuosity of special guest and American Idol winner Jordin Sparks, adding to an ear-pleasing stew of dulcet melodies sure to soothe the most savage beast or most irascible mail carrier.