Why Kentucky is the Bluegrass State?

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Kentucky is known as the Bluegrass State due to the prevalence of the bluish-purple tinted grass called bluegrass. The state legislature approved the nickname in the 1960s, and it has become closely linked to the state’s identity. Bluegrass music, derived from Scottish, Irish, and English traditional music, also originated in the state. Kentucky is divided into five regions, with the northernmost region known as the Bluegrass Region, where many thoroughbred horse ranches are located.

Kentucky’s official nickname is “the Bluegrass State” because of how prolific the type of grass known colloquially as “bluegrass” is on most lands in the state. Bluegrass is a specific type of grass belonging to the scientific genus Poa, and takes its name from the bluish-purple tint that the stems take on when they go to seed. A genre of music from the region also bears the name, and the state’s northernmost region, where grass is perhaps most prolific, is commonly known as the “bluegrass region”; while significant, none of that is the reasoning behind the moniker, though. Fields of blue waves in the distance are often a point of pride for residents, and the association has become closely linked to the state at large. The legislature passed it as an “official” nickname in the 1960s, and by the late 1970s it was printed on most Kentucky licensing locations and tourist materials as a matter of course.

State nicknames in general

Most states have a couple of different nicknames, some of which are more popular at certain times in history than others. Many of these are informal, but “official” nicknames — like Bluegrass State in Kentucky — usually carry a little more weight. Most of the time they have to be approved by the state legislature, often via a vote. The biggest difference between official and unofficial nicknames is how they are used, especially when it comes to marketing materials and information formally published by the state.

Different legislatures have different criteria when it comes to what makes a nickname worthy of approval, but in general they look for something that is timeless and permanent, and likely to hold relevance for a long time. In Kentucky, choosing a natural phenomenon that holds a place in the imagination of most residents and is associated with the region at large on a national and international scale seemed like a likely choice.

Plant basics
Bluegrass is native to Europe and Asia and arrived in the United States with some of the first settlers. It has generally adapted well to the new terrain, perhaps due to how rugged and weather resistant it is. By most accounts, Kentucky is grown more today than in most other parts of the United States, but this was not always the case; settlers brought it to the region from elsewhere, though it took off quickly.

This type of grass grows particularly well in the limestone soil of Kentucky and the state’s bluegrass pastures feed many of the thoroughbred racehorses that are bred in the area. Some people are surprised to learn that strands of bluegrass aren’t actually blue, they’re green like most other grasses. Its name comes from its purple-blue buds which give bluegrass fields a bluish tint in spring. When grass is cut or mowed and not allowed to go to seed, this effect may never be seen; as such, many people in the area may actually be growing bluegrass without even realizing it.

As musical style Musical
Bluegrass music is an acoustic genre derived from Scottish, Irish and English traditional music. In bluegrass bands, players playing instruments such as the Appalachian guitar, banjo, fiddle, backing track, and dulcimer take turns improvising on the melody while the other players provide backing and rhythm. The commercial pioneer of this type of music was Bill Monroe, originally from the state of Bluegrass. His band, known as Bill Monroe & His Blue Grass Boys, was popular for several decades starting in the 1930s. This style of music continues to be celebrated at annual festivals throughout Kentucky.
State divisions and regions
Kentucky is usually divided into five regions for geographical and agricultural purposes. The northernmost region is known as the Bluegrass Region, and is further divided into two parts, called Inner Bluegrass and Outer Bluegrass. The Outer Bluegrass consists mostly of steep hills and is not conducive to horse ranches. However, hundreds of Thoroughbred horse ranches are located within the Inner Bluegrass and the region is widely known within the equestrian community.

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