Spread along the south side of a deep bend in the Ohio River, Kentucky's fourth-largest city is famous for its barbecue and bluegrass. Ownesboro's signature barbecued mutton (sheep) and burgoo (stew made from mutton base, featuring other meats and vegetables) is showcased each year in the International Bar-B-Q Festival, one of the city's more than 20 annual festivals. It's events like these that hone the skills of Owensboro event venues.
Owensboro-Daviess County Regional Airport, located three miles southwest of downtown, is served by Allegiant Airlines and Cape Air Airlines. Louisville International Airport is an 80-mile drive from Owensboro.
Considered Western Kentucky's premier meeting venue, Owensboro Convention Center is a full-service meeting facility overlooking the scenic Ohio River in revitalized downtown. The multi-purpose center boasts 92,000 square feet of function space consisting of a 44,000-square-foot exhibition hall and more than 48,000 square feet of ballroom and meeting space.
Complementing that facility are other meeting venues like Owensboro Sportscenter arena, which has 5,000 seats; the Hines Center, which can seat up to 1,000 people and has a ballroom with 16-foot ceilings; and RiverPark Center, a bustling regional performing arts and civic center with spaces such as a 1,500-seat, multi-purpose auditorium and a patio overlooking the river.
Six hotel venues in Owensboro cater to meeting business: Hampton Inn & Suites Downtown, a LEED-certified hotel adjacent to the convention center, has 150 guest rooms and three meeting spaces; the 140-room Ramada Inn can handle up to 30 people for a meeting; the 109-room Courtyard by Marriott has meeting space for up to 60 people; the 100-room Fairfield Inn offers meeting space for up to 30; the 66-room Comfort Suites has meeting space for up to 50; and the 64-room Sleep Inn has meeting space for up to 50.
For special events, the Owensboro area has a variety of options. Western Kentucky Botanical Garden has several different locations for group events and The Clubhouse at Summit Golf & Country Club has a ballroom that can host a banquet for 250, plus several smaller rooms and a scenic overlook where a party for 300 can be staged. Also in town is Kentucky's second-largest art museum, the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art, and visitors can take in a Broadway play or an Owensboro Symphony Orchestra Concert at RiverPark Center.
Moonlite Bar-B-Q, a locally owned restaurant known for its bugoo and homemade sides and deserts, can host a private dinner for up to 100 people in its Oak Room. It is one of Owensboro's three restaurants where the famous Daviess County pit barbecue is served, along with Old Hickory BBQ and Henry's Boogalou BBQ. Owensboro offers more than 20 locally owned restaurants featuring styles from authentic Greek and Italian to Southern fusion and farm-to-table cuisine. Among the most popular with meeting groups are the Miller House, located in one of the town's beautifully restored homes, Colby's Fine Food & Spirits, and Creme Coffee House. All three welcome individual attendees and also offer private dining and reception space.
Other fun activities for groups include ROMP: Bluegrass Roots & Branches Festival, Big O Music Fest and the Western Kentucky Botanical Garden Daylily Festival. Known as the culinary and cultural hub of western Kentucky, the community is home to the International Bluegrass Music Museum, the world's only facility dedicated to the history of the genre that originated in western Kentucky.