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Inaugural Jefferson Street Soirée Set for September 10

Published: 08/22/2014

Keeneland, VisitLEX and the restaurant and bar owners on Jefferson Street in downtown Lexington, KY, have collaborated to create the inaugural Jefferson Street Soirée. The event is scheduled for Wednesday evening, September 10th from 6 - 10 p.m. with Jefferson Street closed from Short to Second.

The Jefferson Street Soirée will be presented by VisitLEX's Beyond Grits initiative in conjunction with Keeneland's September Yearling Sale. Beyond Grits celebrates Lexington's robust and diverse food culture, showcasing traditional and cutting-edge Southern cuisine by local chefs and artisan entrepreneurs. Keeneland's September Sale, to be held September 8-21, is the largest Thoroughbred auction of its kind, annually attracting major buyers from across the U.S. and the world.

The intent for the Jefferson Street Soirée is to showcase one of Lexington's culinary and cocktail hot spots to benefit visitors and locals.

The restaurants and bars along Jefferson will offer food and beverage tastings, and live regional entertainment will be featured on a stage between The Grey Goose and Wine + Market. Aly'An, a female country duo from Burgin, KY, will take the main stage at 6 p.m. to open the festival, followed by Lexington's own, Tee Dee Young at 8 p.m. Restaurants and bars not within the enclosed area will have booths to serve customers tastings from their menu and/or bar. Parking will be available at the Cox Street Lot behind Rupp Arena. Shuttle service provided by LexTran's COLT Trolley will be available.

Over the last several years Jefferson Street has evolved into a true restaurant and entertainment district and is now home to a variety of locally owned and celebrated businesses including: The Grey Goose, Stella's Kentucky Deli, Nick Ryan's Saloon, Wagon Bones Grill, Wine + Market, Enoteca, The Blue Heron Steakhouse, Chase Tap Room, The Green Lantern Bar, County Club Restaurant, West Sixth Brewing and Smithtown Seafood. Prior to 2008, The Green Lantern and Stella's were the only two establishments in operation. Bookended by West Sixth Brewing at the north end of Jefferson and Stella's and Wagon Bones on the south end, patrons can explore everything from white tablecloth dining to eclectic music venues and tap rooms.

Bill Thomason, Keeneland President, stated: "Keeneland is the No. 1 Thoroughbred auction house in the world and our September Yearling Sale is a major economic driver for Central Kentucky. With clients coming in from nearly every U.S. state and more than 50 countries, we wanted to find a way to better connect our sales clients to Lexington's vibrant downtown. We are delighted to partner with our friends at VisitLEX and the restaurants and bars along Jefferson Street to create an event that will showcase the rich culinary heritage of Lexington and the evolution of one of the city's hippest areas."

Mary Quinn Ramer, Vice President of Marketing for VisitLEX stated: "Keeneland has always been a tremendous partner and we are thrilled with all of the activity and excitement surrounding the Jefferson Street corridor. The festival will further our Beyond Grits culinary initiative and will showcase the thriving businesses along Jefferson to a very important set of visitors to Lexington."

Keith Clark, owner of The Blue Heron and The Grey Goose, stated: "We are delighted to partner with VisitLEX and Keeneland to showcase the hospitality found along Jefferson Street. There are many of us who have been passionate about this area of town for a while now and we couldn't be more excited to showcase the nightlife along Jefferson to the Keeneland sales clients, visitors and residents of Lexington who might not be as familiar with downtown Lexington."

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About VisitLEX

VisitLEX is a destination sales and service organization charged with distilling the spirit of Lexington's Bluegrass Region and "Horse Capital of the World" to champion the brand, generate economic benefit and serve as a role model and educator. For more information:

About Keeneland

For more than 75 years, the Keeneland Association has devoted itself to the health and vibrancy of the Thoroughbred industry. As the world's largest Thoroughbred auction company, Keeneland conducts sales every January, April, September and November. Its sales graduates dominate racing across the globe at every level. In April and October, Keeneland offers some of the highest caliber and richest Thoroughbred racing in the world. Keeneland will host the 2015 Breeders' Cup World Championships on Oct. 30-31. Uniquely structured, Keeneland is a private, for-profit corporation that returns its earnings back to the industry and the community in the form of higher purses, as well as millions of dollars in charitable contributions for education, research and health and human services throughout Central Kentucky. To learn more about Keeneland, visit us online at