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Celebrating the best hearts and minds in our Bluegrass, every year!

Our annual Awards and Party Night started back in 2011, with the first Most Encouraging Kentuckian Award presented to Lexington's Mr. Ernie Peel, famed in Central Kentucky for transforming dozens (maybe hundreds) of lives through the sport of distance running. Since then, our Awards and Party have grown considerably, and for 2017-18, we're going to honor six different amazing Kentuckians!

2017-18 Winners

Most Admired Entrepreneur

Nate Brown, Old World Timber


Most Inspirational Social Advocate

Devine Carama, Community Organizer


Most Impactful Artist

Bryce Oquaye, Illustrator


Most Encouraging Kentuckian

Brian Hall, Kentucky High School Basketball Coach


Favorite Local Restaurateur

Ilias Pappas, Athenian Grill


Most Admired Kentucky-Bred

Erin Childress (Connecticut)

Kristofer Fegenbush (Florida)


 Lesme Romero of Lexington Pasta Garage. 2015's Most Admired Entrepreneur!

Lesme Romero of Lexington Pasta Garage. 2015's Most Admired Entrepreneur!

"I was really humbled and surprised to win this award from the community and from everybody that supports Lexington Pasta and Pasta Garage Italian Cafe. I looked at it as “We are a Team,” “We are a Family,” for what we have created in Central Kentucky. We are bringing something new, something fresh and I can't take all the credit. It’s the team that we have built - they believe in what we do.

The passion that I have, I carry that on with my employees. We value what we do and we value our customers. I think it shows in our business. And being involved with the Bluegrass shows that we’re in a community that cares about local businesses. Being local, supporting local. That’s huge for us. Being Kentucky Proud, being a local company that cares for other businesses. That’s what it’s all about."

- Lesme Romero, 2015's Most Admired Entrepreneur


Most Admired Entrepreneur: Jill Bakehorn and Kelly King Bakehorn, The Grand Reserve

Most Inspirational Social Advocate: Analisa Wagoner, Dress for Success

Most Impactful Artist: Gerry James

Most Admired Kentucky-Bred: Green Cawood

Most Encouraging Kentuckian: Debbie Miles


Most Admired Entrepreneur: Lesme Romero, Lexington Pasta Garage and Italian Cafe

Most Inspirational Social Advocate: Darlene Thomas, Greenhouse 17

Most Impactful Artist: Enrique Gonzalez

Most Encouraging Kentuckian: Bob Baney, Race Rise


Most Encouraging Kentuckian: Liz Davenport, A Running Start


Most Encouraging Kentuckian: Chris Ortiz and Salvador Sanchez, Cup of Common Wealth Coffee


Most Encouraging Kentuckian: Russell County, Kentucky's Sarah Roberts Hart Family


Most Encouraging Kentuckian: Ernie Peel, John's Striders