Louisville Real Estate Blog | Brad Long Real Estate Group | Keller Williams Louisville East

National Wheelchair Basketball Coming to Louisville

Louisville is the new host city for the 2013 and 2014 National Wheelchair Basketball Association’s Championship Tournaments.  NWBA Tournaments draw roughly 1,000 athletes annually and next year’s tournament in Louisville is expected to make roughly 1 million dollars in revenue for the city. The tournament will be one of the largest athletic tournaments that Louisville will host in 2013 and the largest wheelchair basketball tournament in the world. The 2013 tournament is also expected to be the largest single wheelchair basketball tournament in the NWBA’s 65-year history. Next year’s tournament will be held April 17-21 at the Kentucky Fair and Expo Center and HOOPS Multi-sport and Fitness Center. 

The National Wheelchair Basketball Association is made up of 200 teams from 22 conferences and seven divisions. Founded in 1948, the NWBA has grown tremendously from where it began. Today there are men’s, women’s, intercollegiate, and junior-youth wheelchair basketball leagues across the Nation. The mission of the NWBA is “to provide qualified individuals with physical disabilities the opportunity to play, learn, and compete in the sport of wheelchair basketball.”

The NWBA began after WWII when paralyzed veterans returned home, confined to wheelchairs. Many of these veterans found themselves in the same place, restless and unable to find something that met their physical and social needs. Sports such as ping pong, catch and pool, bowling, and water polo were some of the first sports that these veterans were introduced to. In 1946, the California Chapter of Parlayed Veterans played the first game of wheelchair basketball, and it changed everything. The popularity of the game was spread throughout the regional VA hospitals and eventually throughout the Nation. Tournaments were conducted and associations were built. Today, the sport is played Worldwide and is even included in the Paralympics.   

The US Men and Women’s wheelchair basketball teams will be competing in London August 29-September 9 this year at the Paralympics. The Paralympics feature other wheelchair sports such as fencing, rugby and tennis and there are over 18 other events that include swimming, equestrian, and judo. 

The National Wheelchair Basketball Association’s Championship Tournaments will have an excellent home in Louisville. Not only are we a huge sports town, but we are a city with a big heart. The Paralympics, and wheelchair basketball are inspiring and are a show of great athleticism. I am looking forward to next year’s tournament and I hope you will get out and support it as well.

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Cabela's Outdoor Store coming to Louisville's East End

Bass Pro Shop and Dicks beware, a new outdoorsman’s go-to store is coming to Louisville. The next-generation Cabela’s store will have everything from coveralls to pocketknives and fishing poles to tents. Anything you could possibly need for your hunting, fishing, or outdoor adventure, Cabela’s will surely have you covered. Cabela’s will be located alongside other successful retailers such as Lowes and Costco in the Old Brownsboro Crossing development off of US 42 in Louisville’s East End. The Summit Outdoor Mall is just minutes away, and brings thousands of shoppers to the area every day. Construction began earlier this Summer and the store is set to open in the Spring of 2013. 

 Kentucky is home to some of the most lush and diverse landscapes. Within ten minutes of sitting in Downtown Louisville you can drive to the Ohio River, within 15-20 you can be in the rolling hills and farmlands, and within 25-30 you can be in the lower mountain region. Take a little longer drive, about 2 hours, and you will be in the mountains whose red sandstone cliffs allow some of the best rock climbing in the Nation. It is easy to see why Louisville is an excellent choice for a new outdoor super center. With all the hunting, fishing, and outdoor activities that go on in Kentucky there is always a want and a need for more outdoor merchandise. 

 Cabela’s will be an excellent addition to the growing East End retail district. The 80,000-88,000 square foot store will create an estimated 200 much needed jobs for Louisvillians. The store will be filled with displays to give the customers an outdoor experience while indoors. Products include camping items, hiking items, boating items, clothing, home furnishings, wildlife-watching gear, outdoor-themed gifts, hunting items, and fishing gear. In addition to the thousands of items available in the store, the Louisville Cabela’s will feature a gun library, bargain cave, and what I am looking forward to, a fudge shop.  

 Cabela’s main competition will be Bass Pro Shop. I have been to Bass Pro Shop a couple times to buy my son his Winter snow suit and boots and my husband a few odds and ends. I have to admit that it is a pretty fun place to go. I love being outdoors, I love to camp, hike and generally be outside but hunting is not my thing. I am a realist, and for those hunters out there who eat your catch, I support you all the way. Everyone has got there thing and hunting is just not mine. I was reluctant to go to Bass Pro Shop for the first time when my husband  wanted to take my son for pictures with Santa. I didn’t want my son sitting on Santa’s lap while holding a pair of antlers and a gun. Of course I had no idea what the store was really like. These outdoor superstores like Bass Pro Shop and what I’m sure Cabela’s will be like are like an adult’s mini Disney World. With so many exhibits to look at and gadgets to peruse, you could spend all day walking the floors.  

 Even if the outdoors aren’t your thing everyone needs Winter boots or gloves, so check it out when it opens, it is sure to be a spectacle. 

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And on to Le Gallo Rosso...

I want to preface my review of Le Gallo Rosso by saying that this is the first time I have will be writing on a negative experience at a restaurant. I will only say this once and then whatever your opinions may be, I will accept as part of my job. I will always be honest, to a fault, on my experiences. It is harder for me, especially with locally owned places such as Le Gallo Rosso, as I never wish to dislike any place or pass on any negative words. If I am going in to a restaurant planning on reviewing it I will follow through regardless of my experience, positive or negative.

Last Saturday night’s date night started off with amazing dinner and drinks at St. Charles Exchange. My husband and I wanted to sample a new Louisville restaurant and then wanted to get dinner somewhere that we have been wanting to go for a long time but have never had the chance, Le Gallo Rosso. Le Gallo Rosso is a rustic Italian restaurant in the heart of Bardstown Road’s Restaurant Row. Located in an old Victorian home, Le Gallo Rosso opened it’s doors six years ago and shares it’s building with the Roost Inn, a Bed and Breakfast that has two suits.

 Our reservations were for 8:30, so we arrived shortly before. Our table wasn’t ready so we directed ourselves toward the unmanned bar. The restaurant is in a converted Victorian house so there are several small rooms to maneuver through. The atmosphere is immediately quaint and warm. The walls are painted with murals of waiters adding to the old school Italian restaurant feel. After waiting several minutes at the bar, our server came over and introduced himself to us. We ordered a bottle of wine and shortly after were directed to our table. At first I am a little thrown off, as I was told it was a romantic setting, and it is anything but. The plastic tablecloths and loud server meetings in the middle of the dining room are anything but romantic. Our appetizer was great, a Margareta Pizza that was crisp on the bottom and made with fresh tomatoes and basil. Simple, delicious Italian food, just what I wanted. Our salads were next, I had a Mediterranean and my husband a house salad with blue cheese. The salads were simple and fresh. Our entrees were extremely disappointing. I ordered the chicken parmesan, wanting to see Le Gallo Rosso’s take on a staple Italian dish, and my husband ordered the sea bass and mushroom risotto special.   The chicken parmesan was overwhelming on the plate. The large breasts of chicken were covered in an inch of tasteless mozzarella cheese which was not only unappetizing, but made the fried chicken underneath soggy. The red sauce or “gravy” was practically non-existent, and the capellini noodles were bare and right out of the box. My husband’s fish was cooked to perfection but was lacking in the taste department. The real problem with his dish was the risotto, the Italian elements of the dish. Risotto is supposed to spread on the plate and you could build a wall with his because the consistency was so think. Needless to say, we didn’t order dessert.

There were aspects to our meal that were good, but the bad definitely outweighed the good. When Le Gallo Rosso opened, they made their own pasta. Although making homemade pasta for the masses is very difficult, other restaurants like Palermo Viejo are doing it, and it makes all the difference. Le Gallo Rosso is still doing well, they were very busy Saturday night while I was there, and there are many people that enjoy their food. I personally would not recommend Le Gallo Rosso.     

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A Night out at St. Charles Exchange

If you are a lover of food, Louisville is a great place to visit, or better yet, live. Louisville has been named one of the best foodie towns in several publications over recent years including Bon Appetit and the Zagat Survey. Louisville support’s it’s locally owned staple restaurants that have been around for years, and is constantly opening the doors to exciting new restaurants that entice Louisvillians’ appetites again and again. 

 This past Saturday night my husband and I decided to indulge in a much needed date night.  We wanted to go somewhere new, but also wanted to try something in contrast, that had been a staple restaurant in Louisville. We decided on the three month old St.Charles Exchange for appetizers and drinks and then on to one of Bardstown Roads older restaurants, Le Gallo Rosso, for dinner.  

 St. Charles Exchange opened it’s doors to the public the end of May this year, and have been bombarded by diners ever since. The upscale hotel lobby restaurant and prohibition style ambiance creates a relaxed setting that makes you want to hang around for hours. All the servers and staff members were dressed in period wears, and everyone was on their game. From the hostess greeting me, to the bartenders behind the oversized wood and mirrored bar, everyone was welcoming, helpful, and knew the answers to my questions (which I cant say for most places I dine). My husband and I were seated at the end booth in the bar which was intimate and comfortable. The drink menu was incredible. Easily the most impressive aspect of the night was reading the ingredients in each cocktail. As much care was put into the drink menu as was put into the dinner menu, and I am in love with it. We ordered our drinks with help from our server. My husband ordered the Old Fashioned and I ordered the Regime Change Punch that contained Old Granddad Bonded Bourbon along with several other liquors, juices, spices, teas and bitters. I had a chance to watch the bartenders make a few of the drinks, and it is almost like a science project, measuring and cutting. With three different types of ice, rums that have to be measured to the quarter teaspoon, and endless ingredients, the few extra minutes it took to get our drinks were totally worth the wait. My husband said his Old Fashioned was unlike anything he has every had and the last drink he ever wants to have.  My punch was complex and delicious and every ingredient had its place in the cocktail. St. Charles Exchange uses all local bourbons and liquors when they can as well as local food ingredients. You can also get all of the punches in various sizes as well as in a pitcher. They will also concoct a special punch for you if you are having a special occasion if you let them know ahead of time.  

 With all this drinking, we were ready for some delicious food. For our appetizers, we ordered the Deviled Eggs and the Smoked Chicken Wings which were both delectable. The Smoked Chicken Wings came out piping hot and glistening red, like candy. With my first bite I felt an explosion in my mouth of flavor of extreme sweetness and saltiness at the same time, while neither flavor was overbearing. The wings are cooked with a three day process and you can tell as the chicken just fell off of the bone. The Deviled Eggs were a much milder flavor, very enjoyable and allowing a different eating experience, forcing us to slow down, take in each flavor, examine it and enjoy it, opposed to the sweet, salty and piping hot chicken wings that I wanted to eat on top of a bowl of vanilla ice cream. 

 Overall St. Charles Exchange was spot on. The service, ambiance, food, and drinks were extraordinary. There will always be small things about any restaurant you could pick apart, but what you take away is your experience, did you have a good time and was the food good? Yes! I can't recommend St. Charles Exchange any higher. I will be doing another review soon when I go for dinner, so stay tuned!

 

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A Girls Night out at Volare

Last night, I decided to beat the heat indoors, when my sister invited me to have dinner with her at Volare on Frankfort Avenue. For those of you who are keeping up with my blog, you will know that I was supposed to participate in a 5K race last night. I wasn’t so gung ho about the running part of the event, but I did want to support the West End School which the race’s proceeds supported. Although I missed the race, I have plans of my own to help the school, which I fully intent on filling you in on. Okay, now that I have the guilt and shame off my back, I will proceed with informing you on my wonderful night.  

Volare is one of those restaurants that I have driven by one-hundred times, every time saying I want to try, but never having a reason to or never thinking of it amongst the many other dining options. So when my sister called me with an invitation to go with her to Volare, I jumped at the opportunity. My sister and I are both mothers of two boys and so it is imperative that we get out for dinner and drinks every once in a while. Every Wednesday night at Volare is “Ladies Night,” and when my sister was sent an invitation via email to the event, she picked up the phone immediately to make sure we would be the first two women sitting at the bar with wine glasses in our hands.  

We arrived separately to the restaurant and when I walked in, my sister was seated at the crowded bar.  The large bar has four sides and takes up half of the entire restaurant.  There is a large mural of Florence, Italy on the back wall that sets the scene for the upscale, yet rustic and comfortable interior. When I arrived at 7:00pm, the bar was obviously the hot spot. One of Louisville’s favorite female singer’s Robbie Bartlett, was performing, sending my sister into a tailspin, transporting her back to her Robbie Bartlett groupie days. I attempted to take a seat next to my sister at the bar when an older gentleman who was chatting her up decided that he wasn’t going to budge, but that he wanted to sit in between us. This man seems nice enough, persistent, but kind, and obviously was at Volare for Ladies Night as well, so we obliged. I soon learned that this gentleman, along with many others around the bar, was a regular. Volare is full of regulars, so many regulars, and so regular in fact, that they will cork your bottle of wine and keep it for you for the next time. I call that service! At the bar for Ladies Night they offered half priced bottles of wine, discounted glasses of wine and martinis, and signature cocktails. There were also several drawings for  giveaways like massages and spa treatments, which unfortunately I did not win.   

Now lets talk food.  After looking over both the small plates menu, and the full dinner menu, I was perplexed to say the least. There were so many delicious looking choices. My sister is a vegetarian, which for me, is like dining with my hands tied behind my back. My sister and I did however compromise on a good menu. We decided to stay at the bar, because I didn’t want to leave my Pinot Noir, and she, her Riesling. We shared several small plates, including Bruschetta which was simply delicious, made with creamy goat cheese, white truffle oil, red peppers, and oyster mushrooms, the spicy calamari, and a tomato, cucumber and feta salad that we ordered off the menu. My sister ordered an eggplant and ricotta cheese dish that was to die for, while I had to feed my carnivorous desires with the tenderloin slyder that melted in my mouth. I was very impressed with the food at Volare, and I am not always the easiest to please. I cannot wait to go back for a full meal in the dining room and order off of the dinner menu.

One Wednesday out of the month, the “Ladies Night” proceeds go to support a good cause. Check with the Volare website for information. August 29th, Volare will be putting on an event to support Brooklawn Child and Family Services. I will get more information to you as I get it. 

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Mark Your Calendar - The Flea Off Market

I’m getting this one to you a little a head of time because you need to clear your schedule! If you’re in to decorating your home with unique oddities, repurposing or using already repurposed finds, or like to sample some local grub, you have got to come and check out The Flea Off Market on August 11th. The pop up flea market magically appears every second Saturday of the month, and the 11th is Augusts’ day for Louisvillian’s to mix, mingle, eat, and enjoy.

If you are anything like me, every once in a while you will get the itch to go to a flea market, drive to Indiana or at least 30 minutes outside the city to check out one of the “Largest Flea Markets in the World” and then end up coming home empty handed or with some china bowl you will never use. The Flea Off Market will be nothing like that experience. With quality and uniqueness in mind, this market will offer something different than what you could find everyday. With nearly 80 local vendors gathering at the outdoor bazaar selling everything from used tools to fresh cut flowers, to fine art, antiques, and kittens there will be something for everyone. There is live entertainment, plenty of food provided by several of Louisville’s favorite food trucks, and adult beverages to keep the party atmosphere going. The Flea Off Market is a special event that I encourage everyone to be a part of.   

There are estimated to be close to 3,000 patrons walking through the market next Saturday, and that number is growing. The popularity of these pop-up flea markets is astounding and other “Pop-Up” flea markets have been successful around town too. There have been markets in the parking lot of the Monkey Wrench and at the NachBar in Germantown, both bringing around 30 vendors each. Many vendors love these markets because it gives them a place to unload inventory with low overhead costs. Some of the most popular items at the markets are records, antique scarves, and antique clothing. Books and art work are also some of the more popular items. Louisville is also well known for it’s amazing artisans, so keep your eyes peeled for some original pieces. Some vendors own stores in Louisville and sell at the markets as well. Harold Maier is the former owner of beloved Twice Told Books, and is a repeat vendor at these markets. Patrons love the markets because they can find rare things, in a unique environment, for reasonable prices. At the market, everybody wins. 

I am so looking forward to seeing what I find at the Flea Off Market. I will let you all know what I end up finding and I would love to hear what you find as well!

The Flea Off Market is located along Shelby Street in the parking lot next to Salvo Collective at 216 South Shelby Street (between Market and Nanny Goat Strut Alley). The Market will be open from 10:00am to 4:00pm and is open to all ages.

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Dealing With Crime as a New Louisville Homeowner

When most people move in to a new neighborhood they would like to believe it is relatively safe.You have attended an open house on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, seen the house the following week, gone to inspections, and driven past the house a few times, maybe even in the evening. All the while nothing dangerous, noisy, or worrisome got in the way of you buying your dream home. You move in, meet the charming neighbors on either side and you think life in this new house is perfect… that is until you find out about the apartment building behind your garage. As it turns out, not only was there an apparent murder in the building two years ago, but several gun shots have been fired off in the building’s parking lot in just the past couple of weeks alone. You immediately begin to question your decision to ignore that apartment building out back, Surely something like this couldn’t happen in a neighborhood in East Louisville!  

Unfortunately many Louisvillians are unaware of the reality of crime in our city. Our local news stations only cover what is told to them by local law enforcement or is written on the Associated Press Wire. The majority of the crime that happens in Louisville, even with police involvement, goes unreported. The less crime the officers can keep reported in their district, the higher they get paid, it’s as simple as that. That’s why for homeowners it’s very important to work closely and be persistent with your police officers, document everything crime related that happens in your neighborhood, and look out for your neighbors.

Many new homeowners will become unpleasantly surprised by their new neighbors. More often than not there will be one bad apple on the block, or a cluster of run down homes or apartment buildings. There are endless neighborhood related problems, including street maintenance, littering, and noise control, but crime is one of the most menacing and challenging to control. Having just moved in to my home in the Highlands a few months ago, I am new to our block watch. There is an apartment building in the alley behind my house that has had the neighborhood very nervous for quite some time. My block is having a neighborhood crime meeting tonight with our councilman, Tom Owen, and several big hitters in the community to discuss the apartment building. As a mom to two young children, I am anxious to attend the meeting to learn my rights as a homeowner and what I can do, legally, to protect my children from the tenants. It has been a learning process, but so far I know that unfortunately there is not much I can do. In the Limerick neighborhood of Old Louisville, off-duty police officers were hired to maintain a safe neighborhood. I am going to recommend this model at tonight’s meeting, because of Limerick’s success. I am hopeful that tonight’s meeting will open up a discussion that will lead to some changes. I will let you know how it goes.  

Whether it is my neighborhood working on our back alley crime, our another neighborhood trying to plan a Summer picnic, I think the one thing every neighborhood needs is a block watch. I was watching an interview the other day with a convicted felon who was in jail for burglary. He said the one thing you can do to protect your house from burglars is to watch out for your neighbors. Be good to your neighbors, and look out for your neighbors, and your entire community will benefit. 

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My Night at Akikos

My body is still recovering from the celebratory outing I put it through this past weekend.  For my cousin’s 25th birthday, she invited me to join her for a night out with some of her girlfriends, and I agreed.  I figured dinner and drinks with the girls would be just what I needed.  It turned out that she had something a little more…creative, in mind.  After meeting at my house for several glasses of wine, my cousin insisted we head up the street to Akikos Karaoke Bar. I have lived in Louisville my entire life and had never been to Akikos before. Some of you reading this may be thinking that by now, Akikos is old news, but to me, it was a brand new experience, and to those who have not been, or have not heard of Akikos, it is well worth me passing along the details of my night. 

Akikos Karaoke Bar Louisville HighlandsAs a parent of two young boys, I don’t go out to the bars much.  A night out for me usually consists of either a date night with my husband or dinner with the girls. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my  occasional glass or two of wine, martini, or bourbon and coke, but a full night on the town are few and far between.  

Akikos is rather small, with the front room consisting of the bar itself and a pool table, and the back room acting as the karaoke space. Upon entering the bar, we naturally stopped in the front room first, loaded up on drinks, and then headed on toward the back. We walked up about six steps and entered the dark, black lit room, filled with chairs and small tables, a DJ booth in the corner and a small platform stage with two microphones. I immediately grabbed the table in the corner where I felt I could hide if I needed to, and pulled two other tables close by so that we took up a good chunk of the room. Sitting in the corner allowed me to take in the entire room, observing all the different people that come to a karaoke bar at 11:00pm on a Saturday night.   Akikos was probably the most diverse bar I had ever been to. Folks of all ages, races, and social and economic backgrounds were all gathered together, enjoying their surroundings.  

The Karaoke itself was everything I expected and more. There were those singers that had excellent voices, and those whose voices were less than desirable to hear. There were singers who thought their voices were amazing, and were in reality, less than stellar, and those who were obviously just there for a good time and to entertain the crowd. For the most part, the feeling in the room was encouraging and respectful, although there was the occasional bad apple who was hideously rude to those singing. On the whole, the audience made it easy to get up on stage. 

Unfortunately there were a few negatives. If you are in the mood to sing song after song, I would recommend renting a machine and having a party at home. It took about an hour and a half between the time we requested a song and actually sang it.  I’m not sure if the DJ was playing favorites or if he was really backed up, but they have got to do something about that system. You also have to buy a drink to sing. I obviously didn’t have a personal problem with this because I had a drink in my hand all night, but there were many people that weren’t as interested in the booze that wanted to enjoy themselves.  

Akikos is located at 1123 Bardstown Road in the Highlands, across from Dragon Kings Daughter and Dittos. They are open 9:30pm-4:00am daily and have recently started serving a full bar. If you have never been to a Karaoke bar before, go into it with an open mind and a forgiving heart, and you may want to have a few cocktails before you go. 

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Louisville Art's Scene this Week

Louisville is an amazing arts town and this week is an excellent example of why. This weekend is packed with a wide range of local theatre, visual art, and music performances that are sure to have you remembering why you are glad to call Louisville your home.  

Thursday, August 2 is the Shamrock Foundation’s Art for Animals fundraiser. The Shamrock Foundation has been helping curb annual overpopulation for 20 years with their spay and neuter program. This will be the 16th year of Shamrock’s Art for Animal’s event, where local and national artists create original art for a live and silent auction. The event will also have live music, food, beer wine and bourbon and us sure to be a blast. The fundraiser will be at the Mellwood Arts and Entertainment Center Thursday night at 6pm. Tickets are $75. For more information go to Shamrockpets.com/afta

August 2nd through August 4th, the Bardstown Road theatre venue, the Bard’s Town, is bringing a new play to Louisville. Samuel D Hunter’s “A Bright New Boise” is an award winning play about a former evangelical who takes a job at a  Hobby Lobby store to reconnect with his son. For more information on the play, and ticket information, for to thebardstowntheatre.org

“Gruesome Playground Injuries” is at the top of my list for the weekend. The play at Actors Theatre, is a dark comedy balancing the childish play between friends with the harsh realities of the pains of life. “Rajiv Joseph is such a smart writer and with “injuries’ he carefully guides us through two complete lives, encompassing the incredible highs and devastating lows that come with trying to love somebody, love yourself, and to just live through it all. It turns on a dime from hilarious to tender to brutal. A real feast for audiences.” say Theatre 502’s Co-Artistic Director Gil D Reyes in is his interview with Leo Weekly.“Gruesome Playground Injuries” runs from August 3rd to August 11th at Actors Theatre. For more information on play times and ticket info go to theatre502.org.  

There is an art exhibit at Zephyr Gallery that has been getting a lot of buzz around town. “Pressure” is not only a visual exhibit but an experience. Created by the Ground Floor Gallery, there are several elements to the exhibit working together to create the overall feel of “pressure.” The artist, JMS, has created large, polished wood structures, and text on the walls by AJB is used as another medium. There is a bumping soundtrack playing overhead by talented local DJ Alex Ferguson-Bell, half of OKDeeJays  and 91.9 Nightvisions Radio DJ. The closing reception is being held August 3rd, during the trolley hop from 6pm -9pm and cocktail and bar snacks will be served compliments of MEAT.

This is just the beginning of the art and entertainment going on this week in our city. The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft have two exhibits going on, Rufus Wainwright is playing at the Iroquois Amphitheatre on Sunday, and the Squallis Puppeteers are performing on Saturday. Don’t forget also about the many places that have exhibits all year round, like 21c museum and the JB Speed Art Museum. 

Take advantage of Louisville’s excellent arts resources!

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