Onlookers browse past vintage cars and trucks during the opening event of the Sunset Cruisers’ ninth season of its Downtown Cruise-in on April 3 in downtown Owensboro.

With an increased vaccination rollout and pleasant weather on the horizon, Owensboro’s entertainment scene is awakening after a year of shuttering its doors due to the pandemic, and several events are taking place this weekend for families to enjoy.

Most venues are returning for the first time since 2019, like Kentucky Fried Pickin’, which began Thursday and will run through Saturday, with some musicians playing almost non-stop, according to organizer and Kings Highway mandolin player Mark Hargis.

Weekend festivities are free, though many musicians do check into the hotel. They prop their doors open and invite others to join them in jam sessions that sometimes last until 4:30 a.m., he said.

There will also be a stage set up outside in the courtyard behind the hotel to allow for safe playing and physical distancing. Bands will be performing throughout the weekend, and all are welcome to stroll up from the Riverfront to check out the festivities.

“This will hopefully loosen things back up and get the COVID behind us,” Hargis said.

Kristy Whiteside, another organizer for the event, said there will also be a hat contest on Saturday and anyone who attends should bring their finest headwear.

For more information about this event, visit its Facebook page @Kentucky-Fried-Pickin’.

Mamma Mia!

The RiverPark Center is one venue that has been successful in offering events throughout the pandemic, with some mandated closures and cancellations due to high COVID-19 numbers. One thing the venue had to manage, along with many others across the world, was the cancellation and rescheduling of big shows that travel the country, like those in its Broadway series, and musical acts. With productions like that not coming, officials at the center put their heads together and came up with safe alternatives, like its interactive show series.

Interactive shows allow audiences to participate while viewing. The ones that have been, and will be, performed at the RiverPark are based on films. While the film is being shown on a big screen on the Cannon Hall stage, a “shadow cast” is acting out iconic moments from the movie.

Grae Greer, RPC director of marketing and education, said the shows that have taken place so far have been a hit, and she expects the same for the one coming up Friday, April 30, “Mamma Mia!”

Patrons will receive a goodie bag filled with items to use during the show, as well as a drinking game sheet if they want to participate in that.

“This will be the 11th interactive film of 2021,” Greer said. “We’ve had a blast creating these and I hope the audience has loved them as well as we have. I think we have created a new audience base for the RiverPark Center. These experiences bring something new to the RPC; something completely different than what has been presented in the past.”

“Mamma Mia!” kicks off at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $12 each and can be purchased at the RiverPark box office, or at

Lip Sync Battle

Puzzle Pieces will have its annual Lip Sync Battle on Saturday, but this year it will be presented differently to allow for safe viewing.

The event is not open to the public this year, and virtual tickets are available to allow people to view it from home, according to Ashley Wedding, Puzzle Pieces public relations director.

Virtual tickets can be purchased from the Owensboro’s Lip Sync Battle Facebook page, where an Eventbrite link is available.

Downtown Cruise-in

Owensboro’s classic car Downtown Cruise-in will take place Saturday, with all makes and models of MOPAR being featured.

Steve McNatton, spokesman for the cruise-in, said last year was really rough, but the Sunset Cruisers are hopeful to get all seven of their events in this year, from April through October.

The vintage vehicles, and some newer ones, line Second Street and side streets between Daviess and Frederica streets during the event that kicks off at 4 p.m. It is open to the public, and restaurants downtown will be open for patrons to enjoy.

Cork & Cuisine

The Owensboro Convention Center will host a Cinco de Mayo-themed Cork & Cuisine on Sunday from 6 to 8 p.m.

Chad Benefield will be the guest emcee, while patrons enjoy a five-course meal of Mexican-inspired dishes, paired with wines and spirits.

Tickets for this event at $62.25 per person, or two for $115. All tickets include wine and spirits, and they are available at

Bobbie Hayse,, 270-691-7315

Bobbie Hayse,, 270-691-7315

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