28 Years of Bardstown Road Aglow

By CHRISTIE LEIGH MUELLER
Copy Editor 

Bardstown Road is synonymous with unique small businesses.  Since 1985, spanning the length of the infamous boulevard from Douglas Look to Lexington Road and Baxter Avenue, Bardstown Road Aglow has been the Christmas event of the season to bring out an eager crowd to support the mom and pop shops, bars and restaurants that adorn the strip.

 Larry Rother, president of the Highland Commerce Guild, is the man behind the scenes this year.  Although, he says his predecessors, most notably, Kelly Milligan of Renaissance By Design, have truly paved the path to continued success every first Saturday of December.

“I originally got involved by helping stores sign up to be a part of Road Aglow. Being a part of Aglow has been a large part of my holiday season for years,” explains Rother.  Now, in his new role of president, among other things, he has the joy of helping get Santa on the Trolley and the welcomed responsibility of wondering around with photographers making sure they capture and showcase the right moments of the event.

Caroline Knop, of Simply PR, has the distinct honor of adding this event to her resume and to her social calendar. “The Aglow is one of my favorite events of the season. I’m honored to work with the Highland Commerce Guild and Four Roses Bourbon in making merriment magic happened and seeing people AGLOW.”

In addition to celebrating the season, Bardstown Road Aglow was created to help generate traffic through the highlands’ business district and to have a great time supporting local business during the holidays.

Bardstown Road Aglow is a kid-friendly, free, event with an enormous Spruce Fir tree lighting, an abundance of outdoor decorations and photos with Santa available at the Bearno’s Pizza wonderland.  However, Rother is quick to point out, “Now, the later you stay, the less kid-friendly it’s going to be.”

After all, the presenting sponsor of this holiday business district event is Four Roses Bourbon.  To keep the imbibers warm and the sponsor in front of the crowds, there is the 4th Annual Four Roses Bourbon Battle to keep the local waterholes on their toes.  Participants—of the legal age—are invited to try out the Four Roses specialty drink at each of the participating bars on the Aglow tour and to either Facebook, tweet, or text in their vote for best Four Roses cocktail.  The competition begins on November 22 and ends on December 7.

 In addition to the not-so-kid-friendly bourbon competition, Four Roses has also generously shared their Master Distiller, Jim Rutledge, with the event to serve as one of the celebrity judges for the decoration competition.  Participating stores, bars and restaurants are encouraged to ramp up their outdoor electric decorations to not only add to the ambiance of the event but to up their chances to win a $250 prize.

The highly anticipated Bardstown Road Aglow is a great holiday tradition for the entire family. Shoppers can check items off of their list, children can be introduced to Santa Claus and those just looking to be a part of the community and share in the holiday spirit can find a brown colored spirit near by or simply have more than enough people watching to entertain them throughout the evening.  There is a promise of impromptu entertainment by the variety of Grinches, Santa Clauses and Elvis characters who come out to celebrate.

Rather says, “unless the weather is absolutely miserable, there is a crowd. Somewhere around 12,000 people.”  And even if there is inclement weather, there are plenty of trolleys that run from Douglas Loop to the intersection of Bardstown Road and Baxter Avenue providing shelter and warmth.

Combining the glories of the holiday in one unforgettable event—local shopping, Kentucky bourbon, twinkle lights and plenty of merriment, Bardstown Road Aglow is a must-attend for all of your holiday needs.

Not sure which businesses are participating? Visit www.BardstownRoadAglow.com to see the various specials offered by different shops and restaurants.