Lexington, Kentucky

Frank X Walker: Best Bets

By: Frank X. Walker

Acclaimed Affrilachian poet Frank X Walker is well-versed in the happenings around Lexington’s dynamic art culture, sharing some of his favorite highlights within the community both seasonally and throughout the year.

Keeneland Fall Meet

A downtown full of dancing zombies and multiple Michael Jackson impersonators at the annual Thriller Parade is something you can’t see anywhere else in the world.


Seasonal Can’t-Miss Events

Roots & Heritage Festival

Named a Top Twenty Event in the Southeast by the Southeast Tourism Society, the annual Roots & Heritage festival celebrates diversity by showcasing regional art, literature, music, food, clothing and more. rootsfestky.com

Thriller Parade

“A downtown full of dancing zombies and multiple Michael Jackson impersonators at the annual Thriller Parade is something you can’t see anywhere else in the world,” says Frank. USA Today evidently agrees, having named the annual recreation of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video one of the top 10 Halloween Destinations in the country. lexingtonky.gov

Wild Women of Poetry Slam

For more than 10 years, this nationally-renowned all-women poetry slam has been headlined by some of the most talented women writers and artists of spoken word in the country. The poets compete for a $500 Faith A. Smith Poetry Prize, established in 2011 by Frank X Walker in honor of his mother. womenwriters.as.uky.edu

Opening Day of Keeneland

April and October
A day at the races is always a thrill, but there’s a particular anticipatory energy present on the inaugural day of each Keeneland race meet that is truly something to experience. If you’re fortunate enough to visit on an opening weekend, pay a visit to the historic track and see the tracks. keeneland.com

Thursday Night Live

April through October
Live music lovers flock to Lexington’s Cheapside Park Pavilion on Thursdays for a rotating lineup of local music, delicious food and specialty drinks. TNL is dog-friendly, kid-friendly and occurs rain or shine during warmer months. downtownlex.com

Seasonal Can’t-Miss Events

Legacy Trail

Best enjoyed from the seat of a bicycle, Lexington’s Legacy trail is a 12-mile walking and biking interpretive trail that also acts as a public art venue. The trail begins near downtown at the Isaac Murphy Memorial Garden and ends at the Kentucky Horse Park, and there are a limited number of bikes that can be rented from the YMCA Northside for $20. lexingtonky.gov

Bourbon Distillery

Various locations
Whether it’s a group tour at a large distillery like Buffalo Trace, or a private tasting at a smaller craft distillery like Town Branch right here in town, it wouldn’t be a true Lexington experience without a jaunt in Bourbon Country. visitlex.com/bourbon

Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden

Midland Avenue & East 3rd Street
Commemorating the legacy of Isaac Murphy, an African American jockey and one of the best riders in the history of Thoroughbred racing, this memorial garden strives to honor nature, local heritage and the sport of racing. Check their website for events that the board puts on throughout the year. isaacmurphy.org

Frank X. Walker

Former Kentucky Poet Laureate, Frank X Walker is a co-founder of the Affrilachian Poets and Message Theater. He is the author of eight collections of poetry, and a professor in the Department of English and the African American and Africana Studies program at UK. His book, Turn Me Loose: The Unghosting of Medgar Evers won the 2014 NAACP Image Award for best poetry collection. His latest work is The Affrilachian Sonnets (Larkspur Press). Photo by Patrick Mitchell.

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