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DeaFestival - Kentucky

So...what is DeaFestival-Kentucky?

A one-day FREE event for ALL that celebrates the language, art, diversity and talents of the deaf and hard of hearing community. DeaFestival gives those who are deaf and hard of hearing an opportunity to fully experience and participate in a comprehensive program of cultural enrichment, activities, and artistic performances. Everyone who attends will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in a world of visual wonders and gain a better awareness about the deaf and hard of hearing community. The rich encounters with the artistic talents have people continuously coming back for more.

Four main attractions include:

  1. The main stage SpotLights, which displays the creative talents of storytellers, dancers and theatrical performances.
  2. The Children's Program, allows children to open up their imaginations and travel with artists through a colorfuland visual world while participating in interactive craft projects and mesmerizing visual stories.
  3. The Cookie Williams Visual Artist Studio is a collection of unique works from deaf and hard of hearing artists all over the United States.
  4. In 2010, a new stage - Jam Tent - was born. This new performance venue broadcasts the talents of deaf and hard of hearing musicians of all styles.

History:

  • 1990 Los Angeles, California -3,000 individuals attended the first ever DeaFestival in Los Angeles, California. The concept was brought to Kentucky in 1995.
  • 1996 Danville, Kentucky - 1st DeaFestival 3,000 attended, held at the Kentucky School for the Deaf.
  • 1997 Frankfort, Kentucky - 2nd DeaFestival 4,500 attended, held on the State Capitol grounds.
  • 1998 Louisville, Kentucky - 3rd DeaFestival 7,500 attended, held at Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts/Belvedere.
  • 2000 Covington, Kentucky - 4th DeaFestival 8,500 attended, held at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center. This was the first indoor DeaFestival
  • 2002 Lexington, Kentucky - 5th DeaFestival 9,000 attended, at the Kentucky Horse Park.
  • 2004, 2006, 2008 Louisville, Kentucky at The Kentucky Center/Belvedere -DeaFestival decided to make Louisville its temporary home with 10,000+ attendees their first year and keeping the attendance strong the following years.
  • 2010 - Horse Cave, Kentucky - 9th DeaFestival was held at the downtown square which included the historic Thomas House and the Kentucky Repertory Theatre. The number of attendees was not as high as previous festivals; it was anticipated to be lower with the new venue and the declining economy. Even with those adverse factors, DeaFestival was able to bring an economic boost to the Horse Cave economy.
  • 2012- Louisville, KY - 10th DeaFestival was held on July 7, 2012 at the Kentucky International Convention Center. This edition of DeaFestival was held in conjunction with the weeklong National Association of the Deaf (NAD biennial conference. Piggybacking our premiere event on top of this major gathering of leaders in the deaf and hard of hearing community brought new visitors from across the country, many of whom had never experienced the DeaFestival or Louisville!
  • 2014-Louisville, KY - 11th DeaFestival will be held at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts! We are excited to partner again with the Kentucky Center and WorldFest on the Belvedere, which will allow a mixture of deaf culture and world culture and create an elevated atmosphere of harmony among attendees.
  • 2016 Louisville, KY - 12th DeaFestival was, once again, held at the Kentucky Center in Louisville in a partnership with the Kentucky Center and Worldfest on the Belvedere. "You've Always Had the Power Within You" was the theme woven throughout the programs to emphasize that deaf and hard of hearing people CAN do anything.

Regardless of where DeaFestival is held, the goal is the same: to encourage others to understand deafness, showcase the strengths of the deaf and hard of hearing artist and performers, and provide positive role models for the youth in the community.

For more information contact the Kentucky Commission on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing at 1-800-372-2907 or www.kcdhh.ky.gov