The new year is shaping up to be an exciting one here in Owensboro, KY! To get you as excited as I am about it, I have compiled a list of the The 12 Things You Have to Do in Owensboro in 2024! This list is a mix of special events, food, sports and fun. Some items on this list are things that Owensboro is already well-known for. Others are brand new. So, let's do this. In chronological order, here they are!

THE 12 THINGS YOU HAVE TO DO IN OWENSBORO, KY IN 2024

#1- THE PUZZLE PIECES LIP SYNC BATTLE

Puzzle Pieces/AP Imagery
Puzzle Pieces/AP Imagery
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It's the single most popular fundraising event in town and tables, like they do every single year, sold out within seconds. However, there are still some standing room only tickets available and you should buy one if you can. The 6th Annual Puzzle Pieces' Lip Sync Battle promises to be one of the best ever! Ten teams will take the stage in five separate battles, the winners of which are determined by audience text voting.

#2- EAT AT SLIM CHICKENS

If you've driven by the former Texas Gas location on Frederica Street in Owensboro during the last week or so, you have likely noticed that our brand new Slim Chickens location is coming along quickly. And, look! I realize there are naysayers here in town that think the last thing we need is another chicken joint. But trust me! We need Slim Chickens. I was first introduced to the restaurant chain when they catered an event I emceed at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green. There, I fell in love with the Slim Chickens tenders, their side orders (that Mac & Cheese is AMAZING) and their Chocolate Chip Brownies.

If you want a sneak peek at what you can expect when Slim Chickens opens the 'cluck' up, CLICK HERE!

#3- OWENSBORO BURGER WEEK

One of my personal favorite events of the year! I call this the Atkins Diet on steroids. Burger Week 2024 is set for Friday, March 1st through the Saturday, March 9th and will again feature $7 hamburgers from dozens of restaurants here in town.

Visit Owensboro
Visit Owensboro
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Last year more than 34,000 burgers were sold and Windy Hollow Biscuit House won the trophy for Best Burger. Participating restaurants are already working on developing their 2024 entries. Stay tuned! Visit Owensboro will soon be sharing the list of participants and the burgers they're serving up!

#4- FEAR EXPO LIVE

Owensboro Convention Center
Owensboro Convention Center
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If you're a fan of Halloween and haunted houses, you have to check out Fear Expo LIVE.  The 'newest National Haunted Attraction Industry trade show' is coming back to Owensboro. While the expo is really intended for people who own and operate haunted houses and attractions, it's a must-see for anyone who loves to be scared. The vendors have just about everything your twisted mind can imagine- from scary masks, to fake weapons, fog machines, serial killer playing cards and more.

#5- BBQ & BARRELS

The City of Owensboro
The City of Owensboro
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The last few years, Owensboro's famous International Bar-B-Q Festival has been undergoing a bit of a facelift. The evolution of that event will continue in 2024 as BBQ & Barrels continues to reinvent. I can't spill the beans yet, but I can tell you that an announcement is coming in the next few weeks that will put yet another new, exciting spin on the festival. You're going to love it!

#6- THE BOOK OF MORMON

The RiverPark Center of Owensboro's 2023-2024 Broadway Series will come to a close on Wednesday, May 15th, with a Tony Award-winning musical romp. Admittedly, The Book of Mormon isn't for everyone, but if you're game and don't mind explicit language, it's hysterical, irreverent fun. I saw the musical on Broadway years ago and have loved it since. Lots of local theatre lovers are thrilled we're now getting the chance to see the show in town. If you want a sneak preview, check this out!

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#7- PORCHFEST OBKY

Barb Birgy
Barb Birgy
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If you love music and food trucks, you will absolutely love PorchFest OBKY! The popular Griffith Avenue event, coordinated by Andy and Tamarra Brasher, is set for Saturday, June 8th, 2024. Once again, home owners will be turning their porches into stages and their front lawns into concert venues. PorchFest OBKY just wrapped up their artist submission period, so stay tuned!  This year's schedule and list of performers will be announced in the coming months.

#8- ROMP

Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum
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For two decades, the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum has been hosting a multi-day bluegrass music festival at Yellow Creek Park in Owensboro. Its popularity has grown by leaps, bounds and banjos. This year's headliner is going to put the event on the map even further. Country music (and bluegrass) star Dierks Bentley is scheduled to take the stage.

Dierks Bentley
Jason Kempin, Getty Images
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Dierks is a country music A-Lister with two decades of hits. He also knows his way around bluegrass music and has a critically-acclaimed bluegrass album under his belt.

If you've never been to ROMP, get your tickets! It's a 'festival' in every sense of the word- the music, the food trucks, the vendors, the camping, the after hours parties.

#9- THE BLUEGRASS LEGENDS OBKY SHOW

Bluegrass Legends
Bluegrass Legends
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In 2023, Jimmy and Janie Rhoades brought to life a massive vision and dream. They wanted to stage a multi-day car show that featured live music, dozens of food trucks and hundreds upon hundreds of classic cars and trucks. At the heart of Bluegrass Legends OBKY Show was the mission to raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The event was HUGE! Everything fell into place and Mother Nature served up a glorious weekend of weather for the inaugural event. Well, as you can imagine, Bluegrass Legends OBKY is coming back. Mark your calendars for August 16th through the 18th, 2024!

#10- SPECIAL OLYMPICS KENTUCKY STATE SOFTBALL TOURNAMENT

I love when our community embraces and celebrates inclusion and that's exactly what's happening September 4th through the 6th at Jack C. Fisher Park in Owensboro.

WBKR
WBKR
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That's the site of Special Olympics Kentucky's 2024 State Softball Tournament. Officials estimate that we'll play host to between 45 and 50 teams and 900 athletes from around the Commonwealth. This will be the first time Owensboro has hosted the event since 2007.

#11- THE OWENSBORO AIR SHOW

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels are set to return to Owensboro for the 2024 Air Show.

Chris Conley
Chris Conley
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A couple of weeks ago, a couple of jets made their winter trip to town to help build the excitement. That excitement is already palpable. The Owensboro Air Show is set for Saturday, September 14th and Sunday, September 15th. But don't miss out on the Friday night event at the Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport on the 13th. Yes! The traffic and parking can be a bear, but your patience will pay off. The event is billed as an "up close and personal" aircraft experience and there will be plenty on display. Plus, at sunset, various performers will take the sky with nighttime air show performances. And, of course, the event will be capped with a fireworks display!

#12- THE ORCHARD MUSIC FEST

Reid's Orchard
Reid's Orchard
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Owensboro's brand new music festival will be held at Reid's Orchard, which celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2023. The inaugural Orchard Music Fest is a collaboration between the Reid Family and Andy and Tamarra Brasher from PorchFest. In fact, the event at Reid's will mirror PorchFest to an extent. There will be multiple stages set up around the orchard and a variety of acts scheduled to perform on each. Plus, there will be food trucks and much much more! Mark your calendars for Saturday, September 28th!

Huge Success! Over 100 Photos From PorchFest in Owensboro, Kentucky

The festival featured 46 musical acts performing across 15 different front porches throughout Griffith Avenue in Owensboro. The food trucks offered something for everyone at the event. Meeting with family and friends was fun to watch all genres of musicians perform throughout the day and into the night. Let's take a look back at the memorable day.

Gallery Credit: Barb Birgy