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Kentucky State Barbecue Festival organizers plan Bourbon Barrel Charity Auction

Kentucky State Barbecue Festival organizers plan Bourbon Barrel Charity Auction

Money raised will benefit Heart of Kentucky United Way

Barrel auctionVolunteers Susie Allen, from left, Susan Hensley and Mark Allen roll out some of the bourbon barrels that will be decorated and auctioned off Sept. 7 ahead of this year’s Kentucky State Barbecue Festival in Danville. Proceeds from the barrel auction will go to Heart of Kentucky United Way. (Photo by Brad Simmons / August 8, 2012)
By DAVID BROCK dbrock@amnews.com11:01 a.m. EDT, August 8, 2012

Organizers of the Kentucky State Barbecue Festival are rolling out a new feature they hope will bring added flavor to the event and the look of homes and businesses around Danville KY.

The second annual barbecue festival will begin with a charity bourbon barrel auction Sept. 7 to benefit Heart of Kentucky United Way. Festival founder Brad Simmons said the bourbon barrel art project includes a plan for businesses, arts patrons or families to sponsor one of the barrels for $250 and choose a local artist to decorate it. That money will go to the festival, which in turn will give the chosen artist $50 to purchase supplies.

The festival organizers got the barrels from Beam Global and Bardstown Bourbon Barrels, which supplies white oak vessels for Beam Inc. Thirty-five barrels were delivered recently, but only eight are left. “People are getting excited about it, and sponsors are coming forward little by little,” Simmons said.

Once the barrels are decorated, they will be photographed at the sponsor’s home or place of business, and those pictures will go online. The public will be able to vote on the “people’s choice” for the best barrel, and a panel of judges made up of artists will choose five or six.

On Sept. 7, the people’s choice winner and the judge’s choices will be publicly auctioned off at the Warehouse on Perryville Street in Danville KY. Tentative plans are for a bourbon tasting to precede the auction at 7 p.m., during which people will be able to view the barrels, with the auction starting about 8 p.m. The other barrels will be on display for a silent auction during the event. All of the proceeds will go to benefit the United Way, Simmons said.

The idea came in part from barrels decorated for the Secretariat Festival in Paris, Kentucky. Photographer Jim Friess took pictures of the adorned barrels from the event, and they are used on the promotional poster for the Danville auction.

Event organizers also were inspired by the decorated horses in Lexington and hundreds of cows that were positioned all over Chicago before being auctioned many years ago.

Simmons said he is eager to find out where the Danville Kentucky barrels end up.

“I expect some sponsors to buy the barrels back themselves,” said Simmons, including himself in that group. “I think a lot of them will be displayed in people’s businesses or even their living rooms.”

Anyone interested in sponsoring a barrel should contact the Kentucky State Barbecue Festival at (859) 319-4000 or the Danville-Boyle County Convention and Visitors Bureau at (859) 236-7794.

Kentucky State Barbecue Festival organizers plan Bourbon Barrel Charity Auction