Shake Rag Festival and History

By: Anna Smithson Email
By: Anna Smithson Email

The 4th annual Shake Rag Heritage Festival was held Saturday evening at the Riverfront Park in Bowling Green.

You could find vendors and local organizations with booths set up.
The event is held by the New Era Planning Association and celebrates the Shake Rag District of Bowling Green.

Don C . Offutt says if you could had only seen this area, you might not have believed your eyes.

"It's so quite now, a day like today it was a thriving community", says Don C. Offutt, who grew up in the Shake Rag community.

The Shake Rag District is located in downtown Bowling Green and runs from the Barren River to Seventh Avenue, and from Kentucky street to High Street.

"People would be coming in from all over the community it is so quiet now it's unbelievable it was such a thriving community in it's day", says Don C. Offutt.

The Shake Rag neighborhood was once home to schools, churches, grocery stores, hotels and even the nightlife of the African American community.

"It was a place where I saw role models living next door, the teachers, the doctors, dentist, preachers, businesses people we all lived in this community", says Offutt

Offutt remembers the Shake Rag district as a haven from the pressures of living in a segregated Bowling Green.

"It was a place where I knew I could reach all the human potential that the creator made possible for me to be. You have to know where you came from in order to know where you are going", says Offutt.

Don says he knows it won't ever be the same but it is part of history and should always be remembered.

The Shake Rag district was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in September of 2000 and it is Bowling Green's first national register district recognized for it's significance to African-American history.

For a brochure of the Shake Rag District, call (800) 326-7465

To see a list of places in Warren County on the National Register of Historic Places, click on the following link:

To see a list of places on the National Register of Historic Places on your county in Kentucky, click on the following link:

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