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  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2004 and Guru
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Nelson County, Kentucky

    Bourbon Festival

    This was on the front page of my hometown paper (The Kentucky Standard).

    The Kentucky Bourbon Festival was $140,000 in debt, but it is being bailed out by the city and county.
    In June, the Bardstown-Nelson County Tourist and Convention Commission gave the festival board a $17,000 grant to retire a portion of the debt.
    The grant was given to keep the Bourbon Festival Board and the tourist commission out of the courts. A vendor had threatned to collect through a lawsuit if it was not paid.
    Although the grant kept the boards out of the court system for the time being it did not take care of the outstanding debts for the 1999 Bourbon Festival.
    Mismanagement of funds was blamed for the overspending during the festival.
    Vision Works from Prospect put on the 1999 Bourbon Festival.
    "They spent more money than was raised," Tourist Commission member Bill Coleman said.
    They took $400,000 to put on a $200,000 festival. That's exactly what they did.
    Coleman was the chairman of the tourism commission and the bourbon festival during the 1999 year.
    "We got had," he said. "(Vision Works) did things illegally. They signed contracts with others without the board's approval."
    Coleman said no one knew of the mismanagement of funds until after the four-day festival was over and the bills began arriving.
    Vision Works is the same company involved int the mismanagement of Thunder over Louisville, which caused Kroger to bow out as a sponsor, according to Coleman.
    Vision Works problems with Thunder over Louisville came out at about the same time as the Bourbon Festival knew there was a problem with the funds.
    Regardless of who was at fault for the mismanagement of funds, the tourist commission was responsible for paying the bills.
    The Nelson Fiscal Court and the Bardstown City Council have agreed to advance the money for the bills to the tourist commission---$70,000 from each agency.
    The money will be deducted from revenue for room an meal tax. The money wil be paid back to the Fiscal Court and City Council within five years at 7 percent interest.
    Coleman said the tourist commission would have gone bankrupt if it was forced to pay the $140,000 without the advance from the city and county organizations.
    "They spent money they weren't authorized to spend." Nelson County Judge Executive Dean Watts said.
    Coleman said Vison Works, operated by president Dell Courtney, spent $5,000 to rent golf carts out of Indiana for the gala when My Old Kentucky Home golf course was located just yards away. The company also spent $7,000 on flowers for the gala.
    "We got taken for a ride," Coleman said.
    Watts said the city and county attorneys are looking into legal action the county and city can take against the company.
    "We're launching a full investigation," Watts said. "We're not going to see Nelson County and Bardstown embarrassed and humiliated."
    This year's bourbon festival will be Sept. 14-17. This is the ninth year for the festival.
    Earlier this year,the festival was named the official Bourbon Festival for the state because it is the first and oldest Kentucky bourbon festival.
    The economic impact of the festival reaches into the millions. Kentucky Bourbon Festival Executive Director Pam Gover said in an earlier interview.
    The festival committee recently received the economic impact reports from last year's festival.
    Locally, the festival created a $3,611,018 impact. It created an impact of $5,817,350 statewide.


  2. #2

    Re: Bourbon Festival

    I would like to add to the message sent by boone. I work with the Oscar Getz Museum on weekends and I help them organize their events for the Bourbon Festival. The museum sponsors two main events. The first is a Bourbon Heritage Seminar where we invited people from the industry to sit on a panel and answer questions from the public about bourbon and its history. We always have very intersting guest on the panel and many questions are answered. We receive a sponsorship from Brown-Forman but they leave the content completely in the hands of the Getz Museum. There is no bias to the answers unless you consider the fact that we are all in favor of good bourbon a bias.
    The second event is called the Master Distiller's Auction. We auction off bottles of product autographed by the Master Distiller. We also use this time to clean our store room and auction off some duplicate whiskey from the past. The Oscar Getz Museum does receive a sponsorship for this event to pay for the one day liquor permit to keep us legal and 100% of the money raised goes to the museum. I want to make this clear so that people will know that if they support this auction the money will go to the museum and not to help pay off Festival debts. We have done this for three years now and we have increased our earnings every year. This money has bought the museum a new computer and Pastperfect, a museum software package. The money is also going to pay for a new telephone system and this year I hope to raise enough to get the museum a website.
    Mike Veach

  3. #3

    Re: Bourbon Festival


    Could you please post information on how to send donations to the museum? I would like to make a donation. The webpage would be great. I hope you can pull it off.


  4. #4
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
    Join Date
    Sep 1999

    Re: Bourbon Festival

    It is a pleasure to see Mike Veach on this board and I am going to "out" him here. He is too modest about his role as a mere part time employee of the museum. Mike is, in fact, one of the leading authorities on bourbon history and an academically trained historian who keeps us amateurs honest. Mike used to be the archivist at United Distillers in Louisville, where he had a wonderful collection of documents and artifacts at the old Stitzel Weller plant in Shively. Welcome, Mike.

    --Chuck Cowdery

  5. #5

    Re: Bourbon Festival

    Thanks, Chuck. I was hesitating because I wasn't sure if it would be right, but I'll go with your judgement. Mike, it's really good to see you here. My wife Linda and I met Mike the first of several times we visited the Getz museum, along with Mary Hite (also no slouch in the knowledge department and the sweetest person you're ever likely to meet), and we've visited him there several times since. Attached to this message is a photo from the 1998 Kentucky Bourbon Festival which is from our website. A good deal of all that is known about Kentucky bourbon history has come, through various writers, from Mike; and he has the resources to back it all up. I have no doubt that it was from his collection that the 1910 issue of Midas' was obtained.

    -John Lipman-
    Attached Images Attached Images

  6. #6

    Re: Bourbon Festival

    To all it may concern,
    I have talked it over with Mary Hite and Flaget Nally we agree the best way to make a donation is for you to visit the museum and tour the exhibits. We really like for people to see the museum and we are proud of the work we do there to preserve the history long neglected by others. Of course we realize that not everybody can make the trip to Bardstown so the next best thing to do is to send a check to
    The Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History
    Spalding Hall
    114 North Fifth Street
    Bardstown, Kentucky 40004
    I do hope to see many of the suscribers to this wonderful site at the museum and particularly at the Master Distillers Auction. If we get the bottles from the distillers in time I do hope to copy our list of autographed bottles on to this website so that you will all know what we are offering.
    Mike Veach

  7. #7

    Re: Bourbon Festival

    Should anyone be at the Bourbon Festival this year I plan to have a bottle of Weller Antique with me to help me whet the whistle in between events. I would love to have company while I do so and you all are invited to come by for a drink. I will be at the Oscar Getz Museum between 9 and 5 on Friday and Saturday, longer if necessary.
    Mike Veach

  8. #8

    Re: Bourbon Festival

    I'll be there! It will be a pleasure to meet you sir.

    Linn Spencer

    Have Shotglass. Will Travel.

  9. #9

    Re: Bourbon Festival

    Mike, Thanks for the Invite!! We will also be bringing some different things to try if you get the chance to join us. John and I will be there once again this year to see you. We are also going to the Gala this year for the first time. We hope to be seeing others there that we have met on this forum.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Bloomington, IN

    Re: Bourbon Festival

    Mike, I truly look forward to meeting you. I was just in Bardstown this past Tuesday but did not have the time to stop by. I am trying to cut a trip to Houson short so that I may get to the Festival on Friday -- my first time. I shall look you up. Greg (Kitz)



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