Retire in Owensboro, Kentucky

Retire in Owensboro, Kentucky

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Barbeque, Blues, and Bluegrass is serious business in Owensboro with several festivals and competitions  featuring big name chefs and musicians.  As the self proclaimed “Barbeque Capital of the World”, the Owensboro Barbeque Festival is the second weekend in May.  The Big O Music Festival (also known as the party of the year) draws over 12,000 country music fans and the River of Music Festival  (Bluegrass) draws over 20,000.   And all summer long, the city hosts Friday After 5 – a 16 week long concert at the downtown riverfront park. Those who retire in Owensboro, Kentucky can get lost in bluegrass, the blues, and barbeque.   

Another fun festival is the ‘Men Who Cook’ event where celebrity chefs compete for the coveted silver spoon awards.  The whole day event (charity auction, music, etc.) is a benefit for the Glenmary Sisters who help some of the poorest people in rural America.  For a $25 entry fee, you can sample amazing dishes such as brown butter bourbon chocolate chip cookies, Cajun turtle soup,  all kinds of barbeque sauces, fried chicken, ribs, and more.   Stake out a tree in the shade!

Owensboro is a community of about 60,000 and sits right on the Ohio River in northern Kentucky.   The other side of the river is Indiana and Evansville is 32 miles to the east.   There are several private and state colleges in town adding to the cultural events and youthful feel to the city.   There are several industries in town including the Glenmore Distillery.  

You will find plenty of other things to do in Owensboro.   There is the Museum of Fine Art, the Museum of Science and History, the Symphony,  the Western Kentucky Botanical Barden, and the Theatre Workshop of Owensboro with 6-7 shows per year.  Go volunteer!

So here’s the good news.   The median home price is $129,000.   (So even if Kentucky has a higher property tax, the assessed valuation is low!)   Rent runs in the $500-700 range. 

The violent crime rate is 2.16 per 1,000 while the national average is 3.9.    The property crime rate, however is 43.1 compared to the national average of 28.6 – so we recommend the safer neighborhoods like Dermot/Oak Ridge.   Please do some research before purchasing a home. 

If you just want to come for a season, there are several campgrounds in the area and you can easily find a bed and breakfast or furnished apartment.  

Winter in Owensboro sees a low of 23 degrees F and a high of 41.   In the summer, you will find a low of 66 and a high of 89.   They see 48 inches of rain per year. 

If you are only in Owensboro for a short time, don’t miss a visit to the International Bluegrass Music Museum.  If you are a fan, this is bluegrass heaven with several displays on the music itself as well as celebrity musicians.   Bluegrass is all about the music, rather than the lyrics, and this is where musicians come from all over for workshops, jam sessions, to perform and to just enjoy the music.   A truly American sound. 

Photo Courtesy of the Visitor’s Bureau

Zoom in and out on the map below to see roads and attractions!


Cheryl and her husband have just recently retired and live in the Pacific Northwest. She has been enjoying her herself by traveling around the world, playing with her grandchildren, and she frequently volunteers in her community. There is certainly never a dull moment with Cheryl. She cheerfully co-founded RetireBook and wants to share her energy, hoping that it inspires her readers to live life at its fullest.