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Spotlight on Lawrenceburg: Quirky festivals highlight summer months

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Posted at 3:11 PM, Jan 25, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-25 19:27:48-05

LAWRENCEBURG, Ky. (LEX 18) — It’s a really cold January morning in Lawrenceburg, so when you sit by the grassy area just off Main Street, you have to do your best to imagine two of the summer festivals that take place here.

In late May or early June, Anderson County residents look forward to the Wildman Days. Then in September, the focus shifts to the Burgoo Festival. The latter has been around since 1994.

“A group of individuals here in the county wanted a community event so that our community had something to come together and do together,” said Megan Webb.

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Webb is one of the festival organizers who have a deep connection to this event.

“When I was younger, I actually was Miss Burgoo three times in a row,” she explained. Webb now runs that pageant for the entrants each year.

Unlike the Wildman Days festival, which has had to call things off the last two years, Webb and her team have managed to keep the Burgoo Festival up and running during the pandemic.

“It has been challenging to keep ourselves safe and have our vendors spaced, so they’re safe as well, and our attendees safe,” she said.

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Jeff Waldridge’s festival requires funding from events that take place throughout the year, so when those get canceled due to COVID, his event takes a hit too. But it’s not exclusively a money issue that’s held them down during the pandemic.

“We bring in vendors from all over the country. We bring in celebrities from “Finding Big Foot” and things like that, so there are travel restrictions and different state regulations,” he said of the difficulty of planning his event around COVID.

Wild Man comes from the old term some use to describe Bigfoot, or Sasquatch. That’s what the festival was founded on. Waldridge has always had a big interest in the legend, or myth, of Bigfoot.

“I would always check out books at the library on Bigfoot, or Loch Ness monster, or ghosts. So I’ve always been the local, weird historian or whatever you want to call it,” he said.

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So many in the area claim to have spotted Bigfoot at some point, but Waldridge said the festival isn’t just about that.

“We offer the same thing any street festival would offer,” he explained.

That’s the goal for both of Lawrenceburg’s festivals. Ms. Webb says her team is already looking at ways to improve the Burgoo event.

“We have a whole new committee that’s bringing a new and fresh idea,” she said.

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