Rain or shine, Ham Fest squeals on
October means Ham Fest in Cadiz, so get here and bring your appetite.
And don’t be shy.
Even if you’re not into ham and all that goes with it—butterfly steaks, porkchops, barbecue, hog roasting, gallons of sauce—Ham Fest can be exactly the family thing to do as Fall is gearing up. From the moment you get out of your car, the smoky smell of pit barbecue draws you up the Cadiz and through the crowds. Ham Fest is equal parts county fair and pork-oriented cuisine.
BBQ, Face-Painting, Furniture…
All In One Place
Main Street is closed off to motorists to make room for around 200 vendor booths featuring everything from local historical societies and politicians to gyro-carts and funnel cakes (and yes, barbecue).
You’ll get drawn into the sweet smells of jams, baked goods, and even locally made candles!
Get your face painted (or leave that one to the youngens), admire locally made furniture and handcrafted Amish baskets, and get your fair share of window shopping.
Behind vendor carts and tents you’ll find local shops—from tea rooms to toy stores, salons to boutiques—open for business.
Here, an Art Show Does Go Right With a Ham Biscuit
While browsing the vendors’ wares, take just a few steps off the street to enter the Janice Mason Art Museum, the host of the Trigg County Quilt Show.
It’s a good excuse to slow your pace, cool off on a hot day, warm up on a cool day, and win door prizes if you’re so lucky to be a special guest!
You Don’t Even Need to Be
That Into Quilts…
The Janice Mason Art Museum isn’t just a great place to step off the street and pick up some great gifts. It’ll give you the chance witness the phenomenon of hours of labor resulting in the beautiful patchwork masterpieces, draped just so you can stand back and take it all in.
You don’t have to be “that into quilts” to give it a try.
Just like every other component of Ham Fest, you’re bound to find something for everyone – completely worth every red cent of the modest dollar-donation for admission.
You’ve Never Seen a Sand Castle Like This
One particular two-time veteran highlight of the Ham Festival is the Berea-trained painter-turned-sculptor sand artist who works all weekend to create a 7-foot tall sculpture based on the year’s theme.
In 2014, it was My Old Kentucky Ham. In 2011, Hameo and Juliet greeted visitors for three additional weeks! (yes, even after the festival was all over, the sculpture stood tall withstanding the elements! That’s not your ordinary playground sandbox sand, now is it?
Damon Farmer, World Champion sandmaster, will share his secret mix with you; it’s got Kentucky mixed right in! Really. That infamous Kentucky red clay is what gives ordinary sand its durability to stand for weeks!
And you’d think one would cry to see such a 3D masterpiece be destined to return to a 20-ton mound – but he just carves another.
There’s also the world’s largest biscuit
…baked by the local Helping Hands food bank to raise program money. A 10-foot diameter biscuit is made out of 100+ pounds of dough, cooked in a custom-made propane oven (made just for Ham Fest) then served up as delicious ham-biscuits for a reasonable couple bucks.
For another couple bucks, grab a bag o’ biscuits or just empty the loose change in your pocket for a bag of turkey dressing (scraps for just a quarter).
So now all your overly-thrifty friends and family can come too, knowing they can still get some great tasting Cadiz-signature ham too without draining the wallet.
Yes, the BBQ!
Of course there’s barbecue. Local variations on the white-bread, pulled pork sandwich range from the pre-wrapped, vinegar-based recipe from Slow and Low BBQ’s – (great for eating while walking Main Street), to smoky, hot-from-the-pit, served-on-buttered-buns variety (better sit down to eat that bad boy).
If you want spicy, Triplets offers a thick homemade sauce that goes perfectly with their smoked pork, while Slow and Low serves up a milder, sweeter option (and pickles!).
Extreme or Tame, Rides for All
When your belly is full, you’ll need to take a load off. You can head down the hill to the pavilion while your kids ride ponies and pet the goats, alpacas, and … the cow!
Or you can watch them flip on the bungee swing or try to walk on water – inside a huge bubble.
Of course, if you are indeed full, you may not want to take a ride on the Tilt-A-Whirl or the Gravitron, but the kids will love it.
If the mere thought of flipping backwards in a two-person cage—while flipping backwards some more on a large oblong ferris wheel—just after downing a coke and a corndog does NOT sound all that appealing to you, then leave that to your teens and head back up the hill to catch non-stop live entertainment and prize drawings at the Downtown Renaissance Stage.
By “Seat,” We Mean “Hay Bale”
No need to B.Y.O.Chair (just fine if you do though), pull up a bale of hay and just enjoy.
Sit. Relax. Rest. Let all that buscuit and BBQ settle some. And feast your ears and ears on the live acts. Live music, (Rock Classics, ‘80s, Country), Magic Shows, and Comedians or just crowd-watching.
Just some of the musical artists to have been featured at the Ham Festival of years past include Collin Raye, The Henningsens, Branch and Dean, Sammy Kershaw, and tons of others.
Western Kentucky’s weather can be unpredictable—maybe the town of Cadiz will be cloaked in patchy fog and a light mist, or maybe you’ll enjoy clear skies and short-sleeves—but one thing’s for sure:
Rain or shine, you’ll find us at Ham Fest.
With activities lasting from Friday to Sunday—and free general admission—you can come and go as you please. Make time for the events you want and just enjoy your time between them. Come discover what locals already know: it’s HAMTASTIC!