October 12-14 marks the 20th Annual Historic Drennon Springs Festival in Henry County, but it marks more than 300 years since the area was first founded in 1773 as a “Great Salt Lick.”
By 1840 the Springs became known as a refuge for the sick and also a site of entertainment for the very wealthy with several multi-level housing structures. At the height of the resort’s popularity in 1849, which was said to accommodate 800, cholera broke out. Over the next 50 years the complex was used as the Western Military Institute, an area where the grape-growing industry was introduced, and as a Union Recruiting Station. It was destroyed by fire near the end of the Civil War. A third hotel, built in 1900, provided sulphur bathhouses and restorative spring water for guests. When a chicken pox epidemic broke out in 1909, that hotel was destroyed by fire.
Historic Drennon Springs Festival allows the public to enjoy the glamour of ages gone by, with re-enactors dressed as pioneers and Indians, wagon rides, and games. Food is available from vendors.
Friday evening at 7 p.m. offers a chili cookoff, karaoke, and campfire tales. Beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, join in some forgotten activities such as a greased pig contest, spoon egg race, sack race, chicken race, and fire by friction, for both young and old. A fish fry/bean soup lunch is available from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. A variety of bands will perform beginning at 7 p.m. A Sunday Church breakfast will be served from 7:30-10 a.m. with church to follow. For more information, go online to www.henrycountyky.com/history/drennon or call (502) 947-0535.
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