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Kentucky’s Edge Bourbon Conference & Festival to give back through Horizon Community Funds of NKY

By Mark Hansel
NKyTribune managing editor

Northern Kentucky will showcase its history and rising influence as a bourbon region with the launch of the inaugural Kentucky’s Edge Conference & Festival in October.

In keeping with the momentum associated with the event, founders and key stakeholders/investors have committed to a long-term philanthropic partnership with Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky.

Nancy Grayson, president of the Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky, said the partnership with Kentucky’s Edge will help the organization achieve its mission (photos by Mark Hansel).

Beginning this year, 10 percent of Kentucky’s Edge profits will be directly allocated to Horizon Community Funds’ Community Impact Fund. This investment is envisioned to catalyze support of current, and future Northern Kentucky community needs.

“Our vision is to create a preeminent regional, national, and global event. Just as bourbon, and all things Kentucky serve as our creative inspiration, we are also inspired to give back, to ensure Kentucky’s Edge fuels prosperity economically, and socially,” stated co-founders Kevin Canafax and Bill Donabedian.

Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky is a 501(c)(3) organization established as a community foundation in 2017 by Northern Kentucky leaders. Its mission is to unite resources to raise the quality of life for all people in the Northern Kentucky community.

“This is Northern Kentucky’s own community foundation and we really are working to deliver on our mission,” said Horizon Community Funds President Nancy Grayson. “The partnership that we’re announcing today allows us to help deliver on that mission.”

The new partnership was announced Wednesday morning at The Globe Bar on East 5th Street in Covington.

“The Community Impact Fund is truly ‘the people’s fund’, and allows us to come together for the common good,” said Grayson. “Kentucky’s Edge is also a chance to celebrate our commonwealth’s treasured staple, Kentucky bourbon, in Northern Kentucky.”

The Community Impact Fund is also the most flexible option.

Bill Donabedian of the Kentucky’s Edge Bourbon Conference and Festival, said he and co-founder Kevin Canafax, saw the partnership as a way to give back to the community.

“It’s a way for us to support the needs of the community, both now, and maybe even unforeseen needs of the future,” Grayson said. We’re really making that lasting impact for generations. Through the fund we’re able to fuel acceleration toward solutions, to spark innovation and to really leverage resources in the community to have even deeper impact.”

The partnership will allow everyone who participates in Kentucky’s Edge to know that they are also investing in the region’s future.

The Kentucky’s Edge Bourbon Conference & Festival will take place Oct. 4-5 at venues throughout Covington and Newport and will include a free music festival on the river, a Kentucky artisan market in MainStrasse Village, and a bourbon conference at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center.

The partnership announcement provided an opportunity for Donabedian to share some new details about Kentucky’s Edge.

“It is hard to believe that only a few moths ago, we first announced Kentucky’s Edge and today we want to announce some of the developments,” Donabedian said.

As with any bourbon event, Donabedian said, visitors can expect the “big names,” such as Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam and Four Roses.

“But we’re really excited because we’ve got the local and the little guys, brands like Boone County, Old Polk, New Riff, along with some of the micro-distillers like Mill Rock, Dueling Ground and MB Rowland,” Donabedian said.

Supporters of the Kentucky’s Edge Bourbon Conference and Festival were on hand for Wednesday’s announcement at The Globe Bar in Covington.

Donabedian was also able to provide a glimpse at some of the musical entertainment already lined up for the event.

For the free music festival on the river, the Friday headliner will be local favorites, the Rusty Griswolds, in what Donebedian hopes will be an ongoing affiliation. Saturday, Hayseed Dixie will headline the festivities. The band gained fame performing a series of AC/DC songs in what they describe as “Appalachian Mountain hillbilly rave-ups.” It has since expanded its portfolio to include other classic rock favorites, including Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Electronic musician Com Truise has been booked to headline the Friday show at the Madison Theater.

Inhaler Radio will be broadcasting live at the Block Party at Rookwood Point, which will feature popular local entertainer DJ ETrayn.

Speakers and panelists at the Borbon Conference include Bill Samuels, Jr., the chairman of Maker’s Mark Distillery, Brian Haara, the author of “Bourbon Justice.” Local author and bourbon expert, Molly Wellman, owner of Japp’s Since 1879 in Over-the-Rhine and Myrtle’s Punch House in East Walnut Hills, will also be a prominent participant in conference events.

For more information about pairings and activities, and to stay current on new acts and events at the Kentucky’s Edge Bourbon Conference & Festival, click here.

Contact Mark Hansel at mark.hansel@nkytrib.com

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