b'Owensboro is Kentuckys surprise city. Its a bit off the beaten path, but well worth the trip. Kentuckys fourth largest city, Owensboro is set in a sweeping band of the mighty Ohio River.Owensboro is famous for ties toBarbecue aromas permeate theThe centerpiece of waterfront bluegrass music and is home to theentire downtown in early May forredevelopment is Smothers Bluegrass Music Hall of Farme andthe International Bar-B-Q Festival.Park, with multiple performance Museum. Bill Monroe, the Father ofSeriously competitive teams chasevenues, a riverside promenade, Bluegrass Music, grew up in nearbythe Governors Cup and scores ofbenches and swings for watching Rosine and bluegrass pilgrims fromamateur pit masters show off theirthe river traffic, multiple fountains around the world build itinerariesskills. The festival kicks off a seriesand a cascading waterfall. around visits to his Homeplace, theof barbecue picnics at CatholicHere, too, is one of the largest museum and a bluegrass concertparishes through September. fully handicapped-accessible or festival.Kentucky bourbon is producedplaygrounds in the US.ROMP Fest is a four-day explosionin Owensboro at The O.Z. TylerAlong with Smothers Park came of bluegrass music, campingdistillery, a facility built in 1885new hotels, new restaurants and and camaraderie every June.offering daily tours and tastings.the 160,000-square-foot Owensboro Other opportunities to enjoy liveNear the river is Gambrinus LibationConvention Center.bluegrass music include FridayEmporium (it and CYO BrewingOwensboro is two hours southwest After 5 and Bluegrass on the Bankshave great craft beer selections,of Louisville, Kentucky, two too), and the Miller House, where in summer and open jam sessionsa downstairs space called Spiritshours northwest of Nashville, all year. offers a choice of more thanTennessee, and three hours east Owensboros barbecue is a magnet400 bourbons. of St. Louis, Missouri.for lovers of smoky pork, chickenOwensboro has been investing and a distinctive regional favourite,heavily in itself. One regional mutton. Try it at Moonlite Bar-B-Qbusiness and development and Old Hickory Bar-B-Q (Southernmagazine noted, In the midst of Living put both on its list of thethe Great Recession, this Ohio River top 50 barbecue joints in thetown invested over $120 million Southern US) or numerous smallerin its waterfront, and the private barbecue joints. sector soon matched it. KENTUCKYTOURISM.COM 23'