Story by Carol Stigger
Photos by Dave Kirk and Visit Owensboro 

Owensboro aerial shot

Owensboro, Kentucky, Has a Festive Hometown Christmas

Owensboro, Kentucky, a little town on the Ohio River, announced this year that it will now be known as the Bluegrass Music Capital of the World. Chris Joslin, executive director of the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame, describes Owensboro as the “epicenter” of bluegrass music. The story begins with Bill Monroe, born and buried near Owensboro and his famous song “Blue Moon of Kentucky.”

Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame

Holiday Music Is Everywhere!

In November, bluegrass music takes on a holiday rhythm as it drifts down the river of sound. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band takes its last bow so the Lanham Brothers Christmas Jamboree can treat the audience to holiday music, which floods the town with Christmas spirit.

Owensboro Symphony

The Owensboro Symphany’s traditional Christmas performance includes holiday music and fresh, new works. Everyone will recognize “Sleigh Ride” and music from The Nutcraker. New renditions of old favorites and recently composed music will give the audience tunes to hum as they enjoy the town’s multitude of creative holiday offerings.

owensboro reindeer lights

Dancing lights sparkle through the entire downtown, the bridge over the river, and parks. Multicolor LED lights are synchronized to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and the show changes every 15 minutes, every night of the holiday season.

If you are still craving lights, Panther Creek Park, on the west side of Owensboro, has a drive through light display with more than 400,000 lights.

Owensboro Xmas Parade 2021

Best And Largest Christmas Parade In Kentucky

2022 is the 84th Owensboro-Daviess County Christmas Parade, reputed to be the best and largest holiday parade in Kentucky. With the parade cancelled for two years because of Covid, the 2022 event is expected to break records. The theme is “Christmas in the Movies” and will progress down the main streets of a decorated town that looks like a Hallmark Christmas movie. Floats are a closely held secret, most not revealed until parade day.

Owensboro Xmas tree and lights

The Tastes of a Traditional Christmas

Pub crawls are popular every season, but Owensboro turns up the vibe with their Holiday Hot Chocolate Hop December 9 and 10. This family friendly indulgence has local restaurants, taverns, and other businesses competing to serve the best hot chocolate specialty drinks and other festive beverages for children and adults. 

Friday After 5, Friday after 5, December 2 to 16, is hosted by the Holiday Inn and Hampton Inn, both riverfront properties. Santa will be there, and the magic igloo will offer free hot chocolate and candy canes. All generations can enjoy this winter wonderland on the riverbank while lights twinkle, music fills the air, and skaters glide on the open-air ice rink. 

Finally! A use for those ugly holiday sweaters December 16 at the convention center. Guests are treated a festive three course buffet meal and then earn their supper by solving a murder mystery. Dress code is your favorite ugly Christmas sweater. Or, if you must, your favorite festive outfit suitable for sleuthing.

If your clothes grow a little snug during this Ownesboro Hometown Christmas, you can participate in The Holiday Hussle 5K and the The 8th Annual Care Net Reindeer Run/Walk.

This holiday season, there is more than a blue moon shining over Kentucky. There is the Christmas Spirit with all of its festive sights, sounds, and tastes.

For more information and inspiration visit




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