La Grange Railroad Festival

Second annual event to add
burgoo cook-off and tasting

Train-oriented events to take place
around the downtown area

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

LA GRANGE, Ky. (October 2012) – Long before he took a job working for the L&N Railroad, Rick Able would wake up every morning to the sound of a train running behind his house. As a kid growing up in the Buechel area of Louisville, he was surrounded by the sights, sounds and smells of the trains that chugged by frequently.
Years later, after retiring from the L&N Railroad, Able still has a passion for trains, only now they are quite a bit smaller. As a member of the Falls City Live Steamers, Able is one of several members who collect model trains, attend swap meets and set up displays for others to enjoy.
Able is an original member of the group, which formed in 2004. The Falls City Live Steamers will be conducting live steamer train rides for kids and adults, and overseeing a model train swap meet and model train displays for the annual La Grange Railroad Festival & Burgoo Cook-Off and Tasting on Oct. 12-13 in La Grange.
Various events will be taking place all over town. “There’s something for everyone-from model trains set up in various shops to a kid’s train parade to a burgoo cook-off and a cornhole tournament,” said Linda Goin, executive director of Discover Downtown La Grange. “We’re hoping to build this event into a tourist attraction, one that will encourage folks to book hotel rooms to enjoy both days of the festival.”
The festival will actually kick off Friday night, Oct. 12, with live music. The festivities continue from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, on the Oldham County Courthouse lawn. The local farmers market and accompanying artisans will set up on the Courthouse lawn, said Goin.
Shoppers will not want to miss out on the All Aboard Shoppers Pass that will allow them to win prizes and a chance to be drawn for a weekend getaway package in Oldham County.
Saturday’s festivities will begin with a kid’s cardboard train sidewalk parade at 10 a.m., with awards presented at noon A model train swap and model train displays will be held at the La Grange Community Center, where visitors will also find hobby vendors, and railroad artifacts and memorabilia A Train Art Show will take place at Gallery 104 as well as a corn hole tournament on Walnut, between Jefferson and Main streets.
Start time for the corn hole tournament is 11:30 a.m. There is an entry fee for each two-person team and cash prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place.
At 1 p.m., TV personality Barry Bernson of WDRB in Louisville will hold a book signing at Karen’s Book Barn & Java Stop on Main Street. Bernson has written a memoir titled, “Bernson’s Corner – A Reporter’s Notebook.” It features the extraordinary lives of ordinary people throughout the Ohio Valley region.
Now in its third year, festival organizer Jim Zimmerman said, “La Grange is such a railroad community. There is so much history tied to the railroad. We want to recognize that heritage and draw attention to La Grange and what it has to offer.”
Zimmerman said the festival was designed to “benefit La Grange and La Grange merchants. We want to develop it more and have larger crowds. Our focus now is on building one big event.”
A Burgoo Cook-Off and Tasting portion has been added to the La Grange Railroad Festival. “We added the burgoo cook-off for a couple of reasons,” said Kim Buckler, executive director for Oldham County Tourist Commission.
“There are very few burgoo cook-offs in Kentucky, so we thought this would be something fun to add both for home cooks and restaurants, alike. It would really be great if a home cook won the People’s Choice Award,” she said.
The Burgoo Cook-Off and Tasting will take place on the north side of Main Street in front of the Courthouse from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Competitors will be able to use the parking lots in this area to create their own combination of spices and meats to whip up their favorite concoction of burgoo. This event is registration only and an entry fee is required.
Judging will take place at 3:30 p.m., by Bernson and Chef Albert Schmid, author of “The Kentucky Bourbon Cookbook.” Cash awards will be given for first and second place, and for the People’s Choice category. This latter award will also include a trophy.
The Cook-Off is “a great way for our Oldham County restaurants to showcase their talents and abilities in the kitchen with something that isn’t on their menu,” said Buckler.
In the past, the La Grange Railroad Festival “primarily drew more local people than out-of-towners,” Buckler said. “It was tourism’s hope that if we could add some additional attractions to the festival and advertise it around the state, we would attract some visitors from out of town.”

• For more information, visit: www.LaGrangeRailroadFestival.com.

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