Danville, KY and Boyle County Offer Full Menu of Cultural and Recreational Offerings
From community festivals to farm-to-table restaurants, the "City of Firsts" makes residents feel right at home
When Kate Snyder and her family decided to move from Pittsburgh, PA to Danville, KY, she says it raised more than a few eyebrows.
“People couldn’t believe we would move from a large city like Pittsburgh to a town this size, but we were really interested in leaving the city and raising our children somewhere where we thought that they would have a great upbringing,” Snyder says.
Arts for Everyone
After looking at several cities, the family settled on Danville, primarily because of the area’s blend of small-town charm and big-city amenities.
“When we were looking at this area, what really appealed to me was the fact that Danville had this small-town charm and this closeness, but also had some of the cultural amenities and the activities that I had gotten used to in a much larger area. One place that really caught my eye was the Community Arts Center. I loved the fact that this community has chosen to invest in an organization like the Arts Center and that there were programs for kids there,” says Snyder, who now serves as development director for the center.
Indeed, Danville and Boyle County’s thriving arts and cultural scene is a strong selling point for the community. The Arts Commission of Danville-Boyle County plays a significant role in bringing arts to the community through a series of events, including the Gallery Hop Stop, during which downtown businesses become galleries for local artists’ work, and An Art-full Affair, which raises money for local arts programming.
Beautiful, glass-blown art is also on display at the Stephen Rolfe Powell Studio. The Norton Center for the Arts on the campus of Centre College offers a full calendar of concerts and performing arts events. Theatre-lovers can choose from a myriad of productions hosted at either the Pioneer Playhouse or the West T. Hill Community Theatre, which boasts an impressive children’s theater program.
“Our family really enjoys the West T. Hill Community Theater. My oldest daughter absolutely loves community theater. She's a patron and even held a fundraiser this summer for the theater because she likes it so much,” Snyder says.
Snyder says there is plenty of fun to be had outdoors as well. The Danville-Boyle County Parks and Recreation Department manages several community and neighborhood parks and ball fields, including Cowan Street Park; Henry Jackson Park, which is home to a popular 18-hole disc golf course; and Millennium Park, which features baseball, football, soccer and softball fields, a skate park, playgrounds, dog park, picnic areas, walking trails and a lake.
Families can walk the trails and learn about local plants and animals at the Central Kentucky Wildlife Refuge or get physical at the William E. "Bunny" Davis Recreation Complex and the McDowell Wellness Center. Herrington Lake, the deepest lake in Kentucky, offers plenty of opportunity for swimming, fishing and boating.
Full Plate of Options
Snyder admits that an initial concern about moving from a major urban center was the loss of culinary choices, but says she was pleasantly surprised by Danville’s robust restaurant scene.
“My whole world got better when TUT's opened because now here I can get falafel in Danville, Kentucky,” she says.
Also among Danville’s restaurant offerings are the “pay-what-you-can” nonprofit Grace Cafe, the Bluegrass Pizza & Pub and Cue on Main -- all featuring a menu sourced from local farms -- along with local favorites Melton's Deli and Nellie Burton's Steakhouse and Sports Bar. The Danville Bistro and Mallard’s serve up American fare with style, while The Hub Coffee House & Cafe, Burke’s Bakery & Delicatessen and Pies for You and Cookies Too give residents their caffeine and sugar fixes. Danville has also become a hot spot for craft beer and spirits connoisseurs with the opening of places such as the Beer Engine and Jane Barleycorn’s Market & Bar.
Snyder says if she had to whittle down all of Danville’s amenities into one word, it would be “people.”
“Danville has all of this charm, but it's because of its people, how welcomed you feel and how quickly people want to connect you to these amenities,” she says. “When people find out you are new in town, they're just so excited, and they can’t wait to tell you all of their favorite things to do and all of the places that you need to go. It becomes really easy then to connect into these great cultural amenities because the people here are proud of them and want to show them off.”
DANVILLE & BOYLE COUNTY FESTIVALS
Great American Brass Band Festival, June 2018
Soul of Second Street Festival, August 2018
HarvestFest: Eat! Drink! Danville!, September 2018
Lawn Chair Theater, September 2018
Kentucky State BBQ Festival, September 2018
Forkland Heritage Festival & Revue, October 2018