St. Agnes Carnival
The St. Agnes Carnival is the second-largest Catholic picnic in town. | Courtesy of St. Agnes

Yes, summer is the season of vacations, pools, long days, fireflies and lemonade, but it also signifies the start of the Catholic picnic season, which we look forward to more than we should admit. One of the first big picnics comes courtesy of the St. Agnes Parish off of Newburg Road in the Highlands.

The 25th annual St. Agnes Carnival takes over the grounds of the church starting Friday, July 19, and continuing through Saturday, July 20 — along with a few events held before and after those main two days.

As always, attendees can partake in cake walks, blackjack, carnival rides, a hole-in-one tournament, lots of food and drinks options, including several beer trucks, and booths where you can win anything from plants and restaurant gift certificates to stuffed animals and candy.

St. Agnes posterAlso unique to St. Agnes is nightly live music, featuring some great local bands, which makes losing at blackjack not sting as much. The full schedule is below, but highlights include Louisville mainstays like The Pranksters and Nervous Melvin & The Mistakes.

And while the event has numerous food booths throughout, there’s also a home-cooked meal option, featuring pulled pork, corn on the cob, green beans and more on Friday, and a grilled barbecue chicken breast, mashed potatoes, green beans and more on Saturday.

Leading up to Friday, there will be a Carnival Parade on Wednesday, July 17, starting at 6:30 p.m., and a Ride Night with craft beer, carnival rides and a hole-in-one tournament on Thursday from 6 to 10 p.m.

The event is staffed completely with volunteers, and proceeds go to parish outreach as well as parish support and capital projects. St. Agnes is free to attend and runs 5 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. both days.

St. Agnes Carnival concert lineup:

Friday, July 19

  • 5:30-7:30 p.m. — Nervous Melvin & The Mistakes
  • 8-10 p.m. — The Pranksters
  • 10:30 p.m.-12:30 a.m. — Eric & The Iconics

Saturday, July 20

  • 5-7 p.m. — Johnny Doughnut Experience
  • 7:30-9:30 p.m. — Bleu Phonque
  • 10-12:30 a.m. — Doc Rock & The Test Tubes
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Sara Havens
Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville, known around town as the Bar Belle (barbelleblog.com). She's a former editor of LEO Weekly and has written for Playboy and The Alcohol Professor. Havens is the author of two books: "The Bar Belle" and "The Bar Belle Vol. 2."