Things are heating up this July as the city sees some of its classic festivals return as well as some new and interesting additions.
Shakespeare Festival in Central Park | June 16 – August 15 | FREE
Taking place in Old Louisville’s scenic Central Park, the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival continues its decades long tradition of providing free live action plays of some of Shakespeare’s greatest works. This year’s performances include Henry V and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Shows begin nightly at 8pm, but guests are encouraged to arrive early and bring a blanket or chair in case bench seating is unavailable. Food and drinks are available for purchase on-site and dogs are welcome.
Dino Quest at the Louisville Zoo | June 26 - September 19
Hundreds of millions of years in the making, dinosaur lovers will have a chance to view some of their favorite prehistoric pals at the Louisville Zoo this summer. Free with admission, Dino Quest takes you on a journey as you search for 19 moving, breathing and roaring robotic dinosaurs throughout the zoo's 130-acre park. A Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops and Velociraptor will be just a few of the 12 different species of life-sized dinosaurs, some of which will reach up to 40 feet in length.
Jane Austen Festival | July 9-11
Head to the farmstead of Historic Locust Grove just east of downtown Louisville for the annual Jane Austen Festival. This year's event will offer both an in-person and virtual festival with one, two and three-day ticket options available. Highlights of the event will include specialty workshops, 19th century street entertainment and glass music, guest speakers and a themed "Ball on a Boat" riverboat cruise up the Ohio River.
WFPK Waterfront Wednesday | July 14 & 28 | FREE
Louisville's favorite free waterfront concert series returns to the Big Four Bridge Lawn this July with double the fun. Typically the last Wednesday of the month, Waterfront Wednesdays are making a triumphant return by adding an extra date each month, July through September. Catch Sam Filiatreau, The Jesse Lees and Houndmouth at the July 14th concert and The Mavericks, Magnolia Boulevard and McKinley James on July 28. Gates open at 5pm to this family friendly event with plenty of food truck and drink options on site. Be sure to bring a blanket or a lawn chair, or catch the show from above while taking a stroll on the Big Four Bridge.
ZZ Top - Live on the Lawn | July 18
Louisville’s award winning, 85-acre Waterfront Park is the site of some of this summer’s best concerts including GRAMMY award nominated ZZ Top performing this July 18th. Joined by Kentucky born favorites and special guests Black Stone Cherry and J.D. Shelburne, concert goers will get a little bit of country and a little bit of rock n' roll as they jam out on the banks of the Ohio River.
Old Louisville Mansions Tour | July 24 & 25
Known for having the largest contiguous collection of Victorian homes in the U.S., the Old Louisville neighborhood is offering an inside look at some of the district's most stunning mansions. The 2021 Old Louisville Mansions tour will most notably showcase the grand J.B. Speed Mansion, which has not been open to the public in decades, as well as five other oversized abodes, many of which can rarely be seen by the public. This year's tour route is comprised of three blocks and is an easy way to also get in a self-guided walking tour of the neighborhood. Both Saturday and Sunday tour dates are available and children 12 and under are free.
One of Louisville's most unique traditions continues into it's 51st year with the annual World Championship of Dainty. Held on the last Monday in July in the Schnitzelburg neighborhood, this obscure German street game has become a cherished tradition which draws crowds onto the sidewalk of George Hauck Way to eat bologna sandwiches, listen to ragtime music, and watch contestants swing a whittled broom stick in hopes of being crowned a World Champion. The celebration will kick off the Saturday before with bands, drink specials, games and raffles at The Merryweather, a local joint in Germantown featuring the "neighborhood's best patio". On Sunday browse the Dainty Vendor Village where you can browse some of Schnitzelburg's best shops all in one convenient location.
Wizard of Oz at the Iroquois Amphitheatre | July 30 - August 2
One of Louisville's most iconic performance venues is hosting a live production of one of the World's most iconic films. Located in Frederick Law Olmsted-designed Iroquois Park, the Iroquois Amphitheatre will host four performances of the Wizard of Oz in conjunction with ACT Louisville Productions starting at the end of this month. Directed by local favorite Drew Fracher (A Christmas Carol, Dracula) with choreography by Broadway star and southern-Indiana native Sara Gettelfinger, this classic movie will come to life on stage as audiences follow The Scarecrow, The Tinman, The Cowardly Lion, Dorothy… and Toto too, as they journey through the magical land of Oz to meet the Wizard and find their true hearts' desires. Shows begin nightly at 8pm.
Close out the month with a totally tubular ride up the Ohio River on the World's oldest operating Mississippi River-style steamboat during this 80's themed cruise. Catch the sunset from the top deck or groove to the beat in your favorite 80's attire to funk fresh music provided by Tony & the Tanlines. This cruise is 21+ and there will be a cash bar available on board.