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Metro Newsroom

Louisville Honored by International Festival & Events Association

Friday December 10, 2010

Louisville’s diverse and dynamic annual series of festivals and special events and the city’s support of those organizations were recognized today as the best in North America. At a press conference this afternoon at the KFC Yum! IFEA World - Festival & Event City AwardCenter, Louisville was designated as a “World Festival & Event City” by the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA) – a not-for-profit organization for members of the special events industry around the globe. Louisville joins Sydney, Australia, as the only two cities to receive the inaugural World Festival & Event City designation in the "population over 1 million" category.

“The IFEA is pleased to recognize and fly the flag of those cities and markets who have worked, through concerted efforts, to provide an environment conducive to successful festivals and events,” said Steven Schmader, IFEA President and CEO. “The city of Louisville and a dedicated core of event planners and volunteers has established themselves as the very best in North America for producing and supporting a wide variety of festivals and special events. This is an achievement that was many years in the making and is richly deserved. Through this award, the IFEA hopes to create a dialogue between events and cities around the world, at a time when each needs to be supporting the other more than ever.”

At the press conference a crystal IFEA Award was presented to Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson. Louisville Metro Government received an IFEA Award for its Light Up Louisville, WorldFest, Hike & Bike and Mayor’s Healthy Hometown events and programs.

“Festivals and special events not only bring people together, they strengthen our economy and add to our quality of life,” Abramson said. “It is a tribute to the events honored today, along with many others, to receive international recognition that, in Possibility City – we have some of the best, the biggest and most unique festivals in the world.”

City entries were judged by an international panel of industry experts and divided into population categories and global region. Each city entry was considered based on a compilation of detailed information in the following areas: Community Overview; Community Festivals and Events; City/Government Support of Festivals and Events; Non-Governmental Community Support of Festivals and Events; and Market Leveraging of the Community Capital Created by Festivals and Events.

Representatives of the following festivals and events received individual IFEA Awards for their role in the award nomination: Abbey Road on the River, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville (Humana Festival of New American Plays), Forecastle Festival, Gaslight Festival, Harvest Homecoming, IdeaFestival, Kentucky Derby Festival, Louisville Zoo (World’s Largest Halloween Party), NuLu Festival, Southwest Community Festival, St. James Court Art Show, West Louisville Appreciation Festival and WFPK Radio (Waterfront Wednesdays concert series)

Also recognized at the press conference were Mayor-Elect Greg Fischer; Marcheta Sparrow, Kentucky Tourism Secretary; George Burgess, Executive Director of the Office of Administrative Services in the Cabinet for Economic Development; Joe Reagan, President and CEO of Greater Louisville, Inc.; and a representative of the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau.

For a complete list of 2010 IFEA World Festival & Event City Award recipients, visit

Also see images of Louisville and events on Flickr: