Kentucky Derby Festival Events

Kentucky Derby Festival Events


The Kentucky Derby festival stretches "the most exciting two minutes in sports" into a month-long party! Celebrating Spring and the Kentucky Derby with fun and exciting events including Thunder over Louisville, a marathon, Hot-Air Balloon events, The Great Steamboat Race, and the Pegasus Parade. This past weekend kicked off the festival with the Fillies Derby Ball, and the upcoming weekend is packed with some of the most popular events of the festival. Here is a little run down of what to expect and when.

April 19-29: Stock Yards Bank $1 Million Dollar Hole-In-One Golf Contest at Seneca Golf Course Driving Range

April 21: Thunder over Louisville is one of the largest annual fireworks show in the country and features one of the nation’s top air shows. Entertainment begins at 11:00am and lasts all day and night. Enjoy the Thunder FoodFest, Interactive Display Area, or one of the many Kid’s Play Areas.

April 26-28: U.S. Bank Great Balloon Fest is recognized as the “Best Event” according to Louisville Magazine. The Balloon Charity Race begins at 7:00AM April 26 on Bowman Field. The Balloon Glimmer begins at 8:30PM. This is a “mini-glow” which kicks off the ballooning weekend. The Rush House Race is on April 27 at 7:00AM and is one of the most beloved family traditions. The Balloon Glow gates open at 6:00PM April 27th. Finally, the Great Balloon Race is April 28th at 7:00AM.

April 26- May 4: Chow Wagon will return to the Waterfront on the Ohio River and will features live concerts with local and regional entertainment. Musical genres include jazz, R&B, country, rock, and blues.  Open 11:00AM-11:00PM Daily, and 12:00PM-10:00PM Sunday. Enjoy lunch, or dinner and a concert. Food booth fare offered: BBQ Pulled pork, roasted chicken, brisket with Derby sauce, rib-eye sandwiches, gyros, kabobs, Italian meatball subs, funnel cakes, ice cream, fried candy bars, strawberry shortcake, fresh lemonade, fajitas, frozen daiquiris, frozen margaritas, corn dogs, sausages, hamburgers, and more.

May 1: Pegasus Parade Preview Party is the great family event that gives a sneak peek of each float and inflatable of the Pegasus Parade. Each float will be displayed with people who make the parade spectacular. Stroll through the indoor carnival of fun. Private Tours 10:00-1:00, Open admission 5:00PM-9:00PM

May 2: Beerfest

May 2: Great Steamboat Race will begin at 6:00 (boarding begins at 4:30PM). Tickets may be purchased for the Belle of Louisville for $150 - includes food, drinks, and entertainment. The Belle of Cincinnati tickets are $60 for the cruise only, or $95 for cruise, food, and bourbon tasting. This event has changed over the years and is now a contest of 5 tasks assigned to each vessel.

Be sure to check he official Kentucky Derby Festival website for updated information.

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