Ham Days 50th








A one-of-a kind community festival is preparing for a one-time historic event.

It’ll be the 50th Golden Anniversary 2019 Marion County Country Ham Days this September in Lebanon, the Heart of Kentucky.

And yes, the traditional three-day event is set for Sept. 27, 28 and 29, of this year—Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

But for it’s golden anniversary, events and activities have been expanded, turning this year’s special edition into a weeklong event.

“It’s the 50th anniversary of Ham Days, so we’ve been working hard to make sure this Ham Days is going to be a special one,” said Greg Gribbins, executive director of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, which produces the annual event.

For 2019,  activities will actually begin on Saturday,  Sept. 21 at the Marion County Fairgrounds when 102.7 FM The Rocket brings back a popular Ham Days event, “The Battle of the Bands.”

“Those who attend this entertaining event will see musical groups from across the state compete for the $1,000 grand prize,” said Gribbins. It all begins at 6 p.m.

Public admission is free for this event. If you have a band you want to enter in the competition, you’ll find the entry form at www.hamdays.com.

On Monday, Sept. 23 it’s the annual Country Ham Judging at noon in the Farmers National Bank courtyard. An expert judge from the University of Kentucky will select the Ham Days Grand Champion Ham, which will be auctioned for charity from the Maker’s Mark/Independent Stave Main Stage the Saturday of Ham Days.

There are two big events on Tuesday,  Sept. 24, and both will be held on Johnston Field at Centre Square in Lebanon, KY,  starting at 11 a.m.

“Fifth graders from all Marion County elementary schools compete in the Pig Pen Relays with the winner claiming the trophy and bragging rights for their school,” said Gribbins. “Then, representatives from area businesses square off in the Slop the Hogs competition to see who can eat ham and biscuit the fastest.”

There is no charge to attend the event, which is huge fun—and extremely loud as several hundred fifth graders cheer on participants.

A new event, the One Cross Medical Clinic Gospel Sing, is being added on Wednesday, Sept. 25, and it holds the promise of becoming a standard event.

“Come and enjoy beautiful gospel music performed on the stage at Angelic Hall at Centre Square starting at 6:30 p.m.,” said Gribbins. Admission is free. Angelic Hall offers professional lighting and sound, and comfortable seating.

Family Fun Night returns on Thursday, Sept. 26. Hear local artists performing on the Maker’s Mark/ Independent Stave Main Stage downtown starting at 6:30 p.m. Bring the family and enjoy the Fun Time Carnival, inflatables, food and more.

And for this year’s Ham Days, the Friday night kickoff concert, usually a paid-ticket affair on Johnston Field at Centre Square, become a free downtown Lebanon event.

“A full weekend of activities kicks off on Friday, Sept. 27 with a free Friday night downtown concert on the Maker’s Mark/ Independent Stave Main Stage featuring Nightflyer, Kentucky’s premier Eagles tribute band,” said Gribbins.

The free concert begins at 6:30 p.m. with Low Down, an area band from Bardstown. The free Friday night concert is sponsored by the Lebanon Tourist and Convention Commission.

Folks who attend should bring their lawn chairs; Ham Days food vendors will be open during the free concert; and the Fun Time Carnival will be open.

And then, Ham Days 2019 kicks into high gear.

“Saturday, Sept. 28 features all the Ham Days favorites,” said Gribbins. “There’s the Country Store Restaurant Country Ham Breakfast; the Farmers National Bank Pokey Pig 5K; ADT Security Services Pigasus Parade; Fun Time Carnival; Arts & Crafts; Kentucky Proud vendors; Marketplace vendors; and the Yellowstone Hot Air Balloon Glow Saturday evening.”

Plus there’ll be great entertainment on the Maker’s Mark/ Independent Stave Main Stage and entertainment just for children on the new TG Kentucky Kids Stage near the intersection of Main Street and Spalding Avenue.

Also new this year, said Gribbins, will be an Agriculture Education area on Saturday and Sunday with the Kentucky Agriculture Department Information Trailer, live animals and Kentucky Kate, a life-size, fiberglass milkable cow.

“And there’s another full day of activities planned for Sunday, Sept. 29 starting at 7 a.m. with the Limestone Branch Lift-Off as a dozen hot-air balloons inflate at the Graham Memorial Park Soccer Fields and fly over Lebanon,” said Gribbins.

Another huge event on Sunday is the State Farm Agent Erica Barnes Classic Car, Truck and Motorcycle Show. See over 200 vehicles on display along Main Street.

Also back on Sunday are the Country Store Restaurant Country Ham Breakfast, Fun Time Carnival, Arts & Crafts, Kentucky Proud vendors, and Marketplace vendors.

“We encourage everyone to make plans to attend all our Marion County Country Ham Days 50th Anniversary weeklong events.,” said Gribbins.

A complete schedule of all Marion County Country Ham Days events is available online at www.HamDays.com.


Or, for more information contact the chamber office at 270.692.9594 or email info@MarionCountyKyChamber.com.