Franklin’s Festival on the Square – Cars, crafts, food, music & more!

submitted by Franklin-Simpson Chamber of Commerce

As the days shorten, the temperature moderates and the leaves begin to turn, Franklin, Ky., prepares for the Festival on the Square presented by Vanderbilt Heart and the 55th Annual Franklin Car Show. Hundreds of cars, thousands of people and many arts and crafts and food booths make this one of the premier festivals in South Central Kentucky. Mark your calendar for September 16 for this year’s event.

The Franklin-Simpson Chamber of Commerce has coordinated the Festival for the past 12 years. Over 75 arts and crafts booths as well as market booths will line Kentucky Avenue, while a dozen or more food vendors will temp you with everything from funnel cakes to BBQ, lemonade to ice cream. Booths open at 9 a.m. and remain open until 4 p.m., so come early and stay late. In the handcrafted area you’ll find everything from jewelry to wooden toys, custom metal work to hair bows. Come even earlier and enjoy a pancake breakfast benefiting the Franklin-Simpson High School Cheerleaders. The breakfast is held in the Christian Life Center of the First United Methodist Church on the Square just a few steps from all the action. Pancakes start flying off the grill at 7 a.m. and continue to 10 a.m. Take a walk through the various booths, settle down in the shade of the 100-year-old maple trees in the courthouse yard and enjoy a refreshing treat before moving into the area of fascinating cars. While resting, enjoy the music from the different eras represented by the cars displayed.

Again this year, the Southern Kentucky Street Rods will produce a great show while carrying on the tradition of the previous 54 years. Typically, over 400 cars have lined the streets of Franklin for this popular show. In recent years, cars from all across the southeast have come to be a part of the excitement of this show.

Registration for the car show begins at 8 a.m. and runs to noon with a registration fee of $15. The presentation of trophies begins at 3 p.m. Trophies presented include Rat Rods and motorcycles and the top 25 in stock and modified. Trophies for the event are sponsored by Napa Auto Parts in Franklin and dash plaques to the first 200 registered cars by Simpson County Tourism. Several trophies will be presented by local organizations based simply on the fancy of the organization. For car show and swap meet information, contact Mason Barnes at 270-598-1428 or at

While in downtown Franklin, stroll along the sidewalks, step into the shops that line the square and be amazed at the variety of items available. Chat with the shop owners; learn some of the history of the building the store occupies. Many of the buildings are over 100 years old and have exciting histories. During the festival, the shop owners are conducting sidewalk sales, so here is your chance to pick up a bargain, purchase Christmas presents and find something special for yourself.

Don’t wait to begin your weekend with the event on Saturday; come in on Friday night for the Cruise-in. Dance as live music by Teacher’s Pet pumps up the crowd from the community bandstand. Get a snack from the various non-profit groups in our community and stroll through the menagerie of cars, some old, some new, some just plain odd. Cruise-in registration begins at 5:30 p.m. with the band playing from 6 to 9 p.m. Bring your lawn chairs and your dancing shoes; there is a dance floor and plenty of room for sitting with friends and enjoying the evening under the stars of Simpson County. Everything is free except for the food you might purchase from the non-profits, and we encourage you to support their worthy causes with your patronage.

There is something for everyone during this Sensational September Weekend in Simpson County. So pack your folding chairs and blankets and come on over. Enjoy a perfect fall weekend with the friendly people of our community. It will be an experience you will never forget.