Throwback Thursday – Small Town Southern Kentucky is alive and well

Last week, we featured a story on the Capitol Theatre in Downtown Bowling Green, sharing this Renaissance revival of the arts in the heart of the city. But Bowling Green is not experiencing this downtown trend alone. Many towns across southcentral Kentucky are also feeling this new energy, as if their squares and Main Streets have woken from a slumber. Let’s take a look at some of the new happenings in our southern Kentucky downtowns from the drive on the old Dixie Highway, also known as 31 Highway.

Heading north on the Dixie Highway to Hart County, find a Main Street that comes to life longer every first Friday of the month. At Horse Cave to the Nines, Main Street businesses stay open later from April to October, offering themed activities. Horse Cave’s Main Street is home to the cave mouth entrance of Hidden River Cave, ziplining across the cave entrance trees, and rappelling down the street on the side of the cave, so there’s fun to be had above and below downtown Horse Cave. 

A little further south on the Dixie brings you to Cave City, whose Main Street is home to The Dive bar, 270 Boutique, and the seasonal favorite, Cave City Cars and Coffee. This spring to fall event brings over 300 classic cars to Cave City’s Main Street on certain Saturdays, setting up for a day-long festival of food, music, shopping, and hanging out. Cave City is known for its kitschy style, and the nostalgia is felt far and wide.

Head further east to Glasgow in Barren County, where you’ll find a town square that’s come to life for Stroll and Shop events, complete with a gastropub brewery and string lights to guide the way. Glasgow guarantees its experience is “better in the Barrens.”

Going further south, stop in the heart of Scottsville for its First Fridays on the Square from April to December, with more special events. You’ll want to stop at Smiths Grove’s Main Street too, for the Saturdays in Smiths Grove event, with shopping along antique row and themed activities every first Saturday of the month from April to November.

Franklin’s square comes to life during the Summer Nights concert series and its merchants celebrate holidays with themed events. And Russellville recently announced a brand new Concert at Carrico summer series from May to August.

Bowling Green is in the planning phase of establishing a Downtown Entertainment Destination Center, that—just like Owensboro’s Riverfront District, Covington’s Newport on the Levee, Paducah’s Historic District and others statewide—would allow for the controlled open carry of alcohol in designated public spaces. 

Small town southern Kentucky is alive and well. This is the kind of thing your friends here at Throwback Thursday particularly like.

Throwback Thursday is brought to you by the Kentucky Museum.