By Shannon Clinton
A new festival geared to showcase a pretty-as-a-picture park and historic downtown Richmond is back for a second year.
Nestled in the 200 block of West Main Street is Millstone Park, named for a collection of local millstones adorning its perimeter. Millstone Festival takes its name from this beautifully landscaped greenspace, which opened in 2019.
This year’s festival will be held 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1 at the park, with community booths and craft vendors, live music, and a beer and wine garden. There’s also a petting zoo, inflatables, and kids’ activities (11 a.m.-8 p.m.), and Medlock’s Car Cruise (11 a.m.-6 p.m.).
Live music acts and other scheduled events include pop-rock band Rags and Riches at 1 p.m., folk music artist Scott T. Smith at 3 p.m., Community Award and Time Capsule Ceremony at 5 p.m., rock band Vintage Voodoo plays at 6 p.m. and country music artist Grayson Jenkins at 8 p.m.
Original plans were to launch the festival in 2020, but COVID put that on the back burner until 2021, said Elizabeth Foster, Parks and Recreation program coordinator who’s been organizing many facets of the festival.
By then, people were ready to enjoy a wonderful fall festival and attendance was strong.
“We built our Millstone Park located in downtown, and the festival had been something we had talked about for a while,” she said. “It felt like a natural fit to have a festival encouraging people to come see downtown Richmond.”
Happy with last year’s turnout and with vendor numbers nearly doubling to 140 this year, organizers began offering sponsorship opportunities. The 2022 festival is being presented by Dreaming Creek Brewery along with the City of Richmond and additional sponsors EKU and Whitaker Bank.
Dreaming Creek Owner Charley Hamilton said owners of businesses that remained open during last year’s festival reported an uptick in sales as those attending the festival walked around downtown Richmond and enjoyed its many charms.
“At Dreaming Creek, we are focused on three things: Great craft beer, community, and downtown Richmond revitalization,” Hamilton said. “The Millstone Festival is a great event to bring those three things together and show the citizens how much potential that our downtown offers. It really is a great place!”
Hamilton said the brewery will once again have two locations within the festival grounds.
“We have 20 varieties of our own beer on tap at the taproom at any given time,” he said. “Some are staples, and some rotate with the seasons. For the Millstone Festival this year, we have plenty of our Millstone Lager as our showcase beer, along with our Oktoberfest, Family Dog IPA, our flagship Kentucky Common ale, and our hard apple cider.”
Some pro tips for festivalgoers according to Foster include checking the festival’s Facebook event page listing for parking location options and any other pertinent changes that may occur during the day, bringing a lawn chair or blanket to watch and listen to the music, and checking the weather beforehand.
Foster, who said she’s personally looking forward to checking out this year’s array of craft items for sale, said since the festival is an all-day event, people can come and go as they please, or stay all day.
“Millstone Festival is a great opportunity to spend time in the community,” she said. “There is something for everyone!”
For more information, visit richmond.ky.us/millstonefest.