Nearly three decade ago, New Orleans transplant Sharon Potter became so enamored with her new hometown of Kentucky that she raised 1.2 million dollars to assemble and present her own 4,000-image slideshow, KentuckyShow!, which celebrated the state’s unique beauty, culture, and history. In 2003 Potter was approached by the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau about the possibility of updating the visual spectacle and rose to the challenge with the help of seasoned producer Donna Lawrence and graphic designer Julius Friedman. The updated 32-minute documentary now amazes audiences with new high-definition images of the Bluegrass State, as well as narration by Hollywood starlet Ashley Judd and director’s commentary by Kentucky’s state bird, the northern cardinal.
Today, local and out-of-state visitors—enjoying jaw-dropping views of Kentucky’s gorgeous landscape and meeting some of the commonwealth’s most memorable characters from past and present—come to the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts to feast their eyes on KentuckyShow!. Renée S. Gordon of the Philadelphia Sun referred to the majestic video tour as “an outstanding overview of the state’s multicultural history.”
With its rustic architecture and soft, rolling hills of vines, Chrisman Mill Vineyards brings a little taste of Tuscany to the Bluegrass State. Amidst hand-painted murals of Tuscan landscapes, guests in the tasting room pair ciccetti, or Italian tapas, with sips of local wine made from the best Kentucky grapes. The laid-back environment encourages visitors to savor the small pleasures in life, as do the staff, who entertain with amusing anecdotes and enlightening descriptions of how each wine is made. At the winery in Hamburg Pavilion, guests can also browse Kentucky-made goods as well as more than a thousand winery gift items, including customized gift baskets.
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Plenty people are afraid of the dark, but the macabre minds behind Scream Acres CT push this fear one step further. Inside the aptly named Blackout––one of four frightful themes that make up one colossal haunt––intrepid visitors must navigate their way through a pitch black haunted house as forces unseen conspire to hinder their progress. But not all the frights at the 20,000-square-foot Scream Acres lurk in the shadows. Victims of a deranged doctor terrorize those who enter the Castle Hill Funeral Home, while clowns and other ghouls pop out at unsuspecting guests inside the 3D funhouse. If it's all too much to bear, seek refuge in one of Scream Acres' real wood coffins—but only if you're willing to be buried alive.
Surrounded by thick woods, lines of vines, rows of apple trees, and a garden lush with vegetables occupy 35 acres of Scout Mountain Winery. There, the Schad family has been handcrafting wines for more than two decades in styles such as blush, syrah, and chambourcin. Tucked away on the property, the family also oversees a quaint bed and breakfast inside a country house erected in the 1920s.
Belle of Louisville and Spirit of Jefferson garners its name from its two historic ships. The Belle of Louisville was originally built in 1914 and has floated down rivers throughout the country as a passenger ferry, tramp steamer, oil barge tow ship, and floating nightclub for troops during WWII. She was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989 and recognized as the oldest river steamboat still in operation. She continues to give river tours, still equipped with steam power and her turn-of-the-century paddlewheel. The Spirit of Jefferson conducted cruise trips for 36 years under a variety of guises, including the Mark Twain and the Huck Finn, until she was caught and forced to reveal her secret identity.
Today, both ships are owned and operated by the Louisville Metro Government and conduct a variety of river cruises on the Ohio River, including fireworks, dance, and harbor history tours. Their historic design and modern conveniences—such as full-bar service and air conditioning—create a unique portal to the past during tours or special events including the Battle of the Belles steamboat race and the Kentucky Derby.
Built on the more than 40-acre site where Pond Station Asylum allegedly burnt to the ground, Asylum Haunted Scream Park remains haunted by tortured spirits of past patients’ and the lingering presence of cult activity. Additional petrifying figures, such as a chainsaw-wielding menace and a crazed butcher, haunt the woods’ mile-long indoor and outdoor displays. Nearby, the military has placed a small rural city under quarantine, after an unknown contagion surfaced and spread throughout the area. Aptly labeled Zombie City: Mutation, reports of mutations and zombies have leaked out of the quarantine zone as residents are urged to remain calm and indoors. The Carnivale of Lost Souls treats those that survive Asylum Haunted Scream Park’s three immersive attractions to free sideshow routines from freaky performers such as a fire-eater, a human pincushion, and a child happily eating vegetables.