Showcasing the Arts

Government Award

City of Beaver Dam, Kentucky

Ohio County

Located at the crossroads of I-165 and the Western Kentucky Parkway, Beaver Dam, a small, rural community in western Kentucky’s Ohio County, is a leader in the region when it comes to the arts. The amphitheater, community farmers market, and other annual events and festivals are shining gems and have received accolades from artists, industry professionals, locals, tourists and media at the regional and national levels. The success Beaver Dam has enjoyed is directly due to its unflinching commitment to supporting arts and entertainment and tourism-oriented projects and events. A short list, but certainly not comprehensive, of local and regional events, venues and organizations that the City of Beaver Dam has supported or continues to support financially includes:

  • Beaver Dam Amphitheater (5,000 seat world-class facility presenting nationally famous artists)
  • Beaver Dam Community Farmers Market
  • Sounds on 2nd outdoor concert series (annual, weekly free concert series on Friday nights May-September)
  • Strawberry Festival (annual four-day festival in downtown Beaver Dam featuring concerts, arts, crafts, food and rides)
  • Octoberfest (annual two-day festival in downtown Beaver Dam featuring bands, beer and food)
  • Ohio County Artists Guild (various projects, programs and attractions)
  • Ohio County High School Band Fest (Longest running band festival in the state)
  • Ohio County Courthouse Players (community theatre)
  • Jerusalem Ridge Homeplace and Bill Monroe Museum, as well as The Rosine Barn Jamboree
  • Annual AmpedUP Brew Fest at the DAM, in conjunction with our local microbrewery

Beaver Dam’s commitment to funding and supporting these programs and events present opportunities to provide arts and entertainment for our local community, as well as drive tourism and inject dollars into the local economy.

What does this distinction mean to your city?

This distinction is incredibly exciting for Beaver Dam, Ky. The award recognizes the vision, determination, and years of hard work and steadfast commitment by city and community leaders. It also validates the investments the city and community have made towards arts and entertainment programming. This recognition will certainly shine more light on our efforts, our programming and our community, thereby bringing even more travelers and tourists to Beaver Dam. This award acknowledges that even small, rural communities can have a major impact. We are honored to be selected for this prestigious award.

Why are the arts important to Beaver Dam?

The arts are of great importance to Beaver Dam. They are a foundational aspect of our local economy and certainly critical to the success our tourism industry. Beaver Dam and Ohio County have a rich, storied arts heritage. Beaver Dam is the home of The Crabb Family, including Grammy Award winning Southern gospel artist Jason Crabb. Additionally, Ohio County is the birthplace of Bluegrass legends Bill Monroe and Arnold Shultz. Beaver Dam has built upon those deep roots and is writing a new chapter in the arts today. A visitor to town might enjoy fabulous musicians who entertain at the community farmer’s market, weekly free concerts in downtown with local and regional bands, world-class entertainment with the top names in entertainment at the amphitheater, or annual festivals that showcase visual artists. Many local businesses have begun to present arts programming and events, both in conjunction with city events and independently. We’re seeing the seeds that were sown for the arts continue to grow and produce. Indeed, Beaver Dam embraces the arts.

What is the most prominent example of the city leveraging its creativity and community of artists to the benefit of its residents?

In October for 2014, Beaver Dam Amphitheater opened, and to date it has seen visitors from all 50 states and 13 countries. The “Field of Dreams” type venue is nestled on a quaint hillside within Beaver Dam City Park. It’s a fascinating dynamic to have a world-class entertainment venue in small town Kentucky. That small town charm only adds to the experience fans from all around the world continue to experience. Joe Diffie and Lonestar were the first to perform in 2014. Since then, the venue has presented some of the biggest names in the music business including John Prine, Tyler Childers, Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, The Temptations, The Beach Boys, Ricky Skaggs and more. The results of the community investment in the amphitheater include a substantial increase in tourism. Visitors frequent the city’s many restaurants. They fill hotel rooms and frequent local shops. These efforts to draw tourism have undoubtedly established Beaver Dam as the leader in the region for arts and entertainment.