This Saturday from dusk until 10 p.m., the 27th Annual Bardstown Road Aglow will light up The Highlands as the Christmas season gets underway. The event began on the first Saturday of December in 1985 with a single candle lit and placed before each storefront along Bardstown Road, as well as Baxter and Barret avenues, symbolizing the warm, welcoming spirit of the season.
Here are a few events to check out during this year’s holiday gathering:
From 5 to 9 p.m. at Mid City Mall, the 4th Annual Highlands Beer Festival will have over 100 craft and import brews for guests to sample. A dollar is all you’ll need per 2-ounce sample, while $30 will give you unlimited opportunities. If you’re one of the first 500 to attend this festival, a free souvenir pint glass is in the offing. $5 will get you inside, the admission fee benefiting the Academy at St. Andrews for children with developmental disabilities.
At 5:30 at the Wendy’s on Grinstead, Santa will lend his magic to light up the big spruce tree in front of the restaurant, which also will be offering free small Redhead Roasters Regular Coffee all day, as well as free small Frostys between 5 and 10 with purchase.
Santa will then head over to Bearno’s at 1318 Bardstown, where he will be available for photos from 6 to 8 at $5 per photo. The fee benefits Gilda’s Club Louisville, a support group for those with cancer and their loved ones named after the late comedienne and “Saturday Night Live” alum Gilda Radner.
A van carrying celebrity judges – including our own Zach Everson , as well as WHAS-TV’s Andy Treinen, “The Bar Belle” Sara Havens of LEO, Christa Ritchie of The Courier-Journal, and Four Roses Master Distiller Jim Rutledge – will be patrolling The Highlands for the Aglow Holiday Decorating Contest, where businesses will be judged on their decorating skills and presentation. Three award categories – Grand Prize, Business Appropriate and The Griswold Award – will be given to the three businesses that best represent their holiday spirit. The van is provided by Winston’s Restaurant, who will also provide shuttle service from their location at Sullivan University to Bardstown Aglow.
Speaking of competition, the Four Roses Bourbon Battle kicked off on Black Friday. Continuing through December 2nd, 15 participants will have their own signature holiday cocktail available for judging by the general public. The public can then vote on their favorite by either texting 23333 with the name of the restaurant or bar, or by visiting the Four Roses Bourbon Facebook page  and liking their favorite. Winners will be announced during the week of December 3rd, with the winning holiday cocktail’s creator receiving $500 cash, an engraved Four Roses decanter, and a plaque for their bar/restaurant. The participants are: Asiatique , Monkey Wrench, Boombozz, The Bard’s Town, The Bristol, Ramsi’s, Lynn’s Paradise Café, Lilly’s, Seviche, Big Bar, Winston’s, O’Shea’s, Flanagan’s, Bearno’s and Impellizzeri’s.
If you’re on Barret, Revelry Boutique Gallery  (980 Barret Ave.) will have a one-night opening of “Scenes for the Season,” featuring accessible art, as well as spiced rum apple cider and cookies.
If you’re on Baxter, Focus Salon  (950 Baxter Ave.) will host a 1920s-themed speakeasy cocktail party, where guests can play roulette for freebies and discounts, and models will circulate through the crowd in 1920s fashions.
Aside from his appearance at Bearno’s, Santa will also bend reality to appear at Fairleigh Pet Center (1212 Bardstown Road), where guests can have photos taken for free with Old Saint Nick and clinic cat Cyrus, as well as partake in refreshments, face painting and tours. Dogs and puppies from Derby City Dog Rescue will be available for adoption, also.
Between Eastern Parkway and Bonnycastle, there will be karaoke in front of the Doo Wop Shop , Life Bar (1570 Bardstown Road) will have vegetarian food tastings, and Urban Attic (1608 Bardstown Road) will have a goodie basket raffle, 80 percent off sale items, and plenty of refreshments.
Around the Speed Avenue area, Destiny Church (1979 Richmond Drive) will have free refreshments and acoustic carols, The Highland Dog (1962 Roanoke Ave.) will offer tours of their dog hotel, and you can visit two of the Bourbon Battle competitors (Asiatique and The Bard’s Town) in the space of a few hundred feet.
Within Douglass Loop, Dundee Candy Shop  (2112 Bardstown Road) will be open until 8 p.m. to celebrate Aglow with free samples, children can make their own reindeer food at St. Paul UMC (2000 Douglas Bvld.), and visitors to Gariepy Group Realtors will receive a free ornament while supplies last.
With plenty of entertainment, specials and merriment, Bardstown Road Aglow has something for everyone.
For more information, visit http://www.thehighlandsoflouisville.com/HCGBRAglow.php . The event begins at dusk, and lasts until 10 p.m.