The Highlands Fest usually draws quite a crowd. | Courtesy of Highlands Fest

As we usher out the summer humidity and welcome in a slight chill, Louisvillians come out in full festival force, if this weekend is any indication. Four big arts and crafts festivals are planned separately in locations all over town — from the Highlands to Portland.

And we’re only getting started. We’ll take a closer look at these, but on the horizon we have bourbon fests, music fests, bourbon and music fests, and, of course, the Mac Daddy of all art fests — the St. James Court Art Show in October.

But let’s just take it one weekend at a time, shall we?

Portland Art & Heritage Fair — Saturday, Sept. 9

This annual art fair celebrates four years on Saturday, and activities and booths stretch along the historic Portland Avenue corridor from the Warehouse District (15th and Lytle streets) to the Stroll District (25th and Montgomery streets).

Along with numerous art vendors, there will be food, music and activities for the entire family — like UofL’s mobile planetarium that’ll be set up at the Tim Faulkner Gallery.

The art fair is free and runs from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Highlands Festival — Saturday, Sept. 9

This annual fest, which shuts down the 900 block of Baxter Avenue, features more than 100 local arts and crafts booths, bands, food and much more. Now in its 13th year, organizers have decided to donate proceeds to The Arrow Fund.

The event gives you an opportunity to mingle, shop, eat and drink at some of the Highlands’ mainstay establishments, and it’s a great place to people watch — trust us. Bands this year include the Lepolion Effect and Shawn Lacy, and we hear there’s a new and improved family fun area.

The Highlands Fest is free and runs from 1-11 p.m.

Mellwood Arts Center’s September Art Show — Sept. 9-10

The ninth annual September Art Show takes place over two days and features artists of all ages in all types of mediums. From drawing and painting to digital art and sculpture, organizers make it as accessible as possible so more artists can exhibit their works.

And along with all the creativity that’ll permeate the air, you can expect food, drinks and much more.

The event is free and runs from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9, and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 10.

Big Four Arts Festival — Sept. 9-10

And last but certainly not least is this newish shindig downtown at Waterfront Park near the Big Four Bridge. The two-day show features more than 120 juried artists, plus international cuisine, children’s activities and live music.

Organizers promise that it’ll become an annual event, and with an ideal location like the waterfront, we have no doubt it’ll take off.

Musicians include Hound of Buskervilles, Dave Cottrell, Jim Dishman, Janis Pruitt, The Porch Possums and The Whiskey Bent Valley Boys.

The event is free and runs from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9, and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 10.

Sara Havens is the Culture Editor at Insider Louisville. She's known around town as the Bar Belle and updates her blog (barbelleblog.com) daily. 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."


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