Cultural Attractions in Danville, KY
A 25th anniversary is something to blow your horn about – especially if it’s the 25th anniversary of a giant brass band extravaganza.
Of the many arts and cultural events and activities Danville offers, the annual Great American Brass Band Festival is one of the most beloved, bringing some 40,000 fans to town each year in June for music, food, fireworks, a hot air balloon race and other fun. In 2013, 13 bands and five solo artists played everything from ragtime to marching music.
Also a favorite with families is the Boyle County Fair, which shows off livestock, pets and talented humans, and also offers drag racing, tractor pulls and other competitions. The Forkland Heritage Festival & Revue presents life as it was lived in old times, complete with traditional country music and working craftspersons.
For quieter enjoyment of the local cultural scenes, take a tour of the Ephraim McDowell House Museum, a National Historic Landmark named for one of the area’s early physicians. Or go small, at the Great American Dollhouse Museum, where a world of miniatures intrigues tall and tiny visitors alike. On site: a playroom, classroom and gift shop.
The Arts Commission of Danville/Boyle County has been fostering art awareness, education and events since 1998. Among the many must-do events it sponsors are the twice-yearly Art Hop Stop, in which downtown businesses stay open late to host gallery-goers, and the biannual Art-full Raffle, which raises funds for the McKune Arts Scholarship. The Community Arts Center offers classes in dance, music and visual arts, and is a mainstay of the local art scene. The center offers workshops, exhibits and performances.
On the Centre College campus, the Jones Visual Arts Center is where glass artist Stephen Rolfe Powell maintains his gallery and studio. Centre also is home to the 85,000-square-foot Norton Center for the Arts, where visitors can attend an array of performances and events. For theater-lovers, the Pioneer Playhouse serves dinner and a live show from Tuesday through Saturday. The West T. Hill Community Theatre produces plays year-round and maintains a vibrant children’s theater program.
Kentucky became a state in 1792, when its constitution was signed in Danville’s Constitution Square. The park is home to several original and replica historic structures of the era, and is also headquarters of the county’s economic development campus. Ten constitutional conventions were held at the stately Boyle County Courthouse – well worth a visit. The 1862 Danville National Cemetery is the resting place for Civil War dead. And the 1861 Battle of Perryville, the bloodiest battle in Kentucky history, is memorialized with a reenactment each October and a museum. McDowell Park, which is located near Centre College and the First Presbyterian Church and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is the site of a statue commemorating the Confederate States of America.
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