Even in your not originally from here or ever been to a horse race, you can’t help but get caught up in all the excitement that is Derby. Once a year on the first Saturday in May, Louisville is the center of attention around the world. Don’t try to fight it, enjoy the spotlight, drink it up, celebrate with over a 100, 000 of your closest friends.
There are a ton of pre-Derby events that can honestly be quite overwhelming for the newbie. Lucky for you, we have your back and created a short list of top pick events to not only get you in the Derby-mood, but help build up your eating and drinking tolerance for the big day at the track.
Friday (4/27) – Bacon Ball 2012 - an evening of bacon, art and bourbon, need I say more?
Thur (4/26) – Fri (5/4) – Kroger Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront Concert Series – live music at Waterfront Park, admission is free with a Pegasus Pin. Our top pick on the lineup this year is Walk the Moon on Wed (5/2).
Saturday (4/28) & Sunday (4/29) – Cherokee Triangle Art Fair - two-day event free and open to the public, held in Louisville’s historic Cherokee Triangle neighborhood. Ok, so maybe this isn’t technically a pre-Derby festivity, but we think it’s pretty cool, so you should go.
Tues (5/1) – Thur (5/3) - Dawn at the Downs – grab some breakfast and watch the Oaks and Derby contenders morning workouts on the Churchill Downs track. I attended my very first year in town, received some amazing insider tips and ended up winning big at Derby!
Wednesday (5/2) – Great Steamboat Race - 14-mile race up and down the Ohio River between historic steamers Belle of Louisville and Belle of Cincinnati. Thousands line the waterfront to watch the race. If you are feeling adventurous, purchase a ticket to ride on one of historic steamboats during the race.
Thursday (5/3) – Republic Bank Pegasus Parade - colorful floats, marching bands, giant inflatables, equestrians and celebrities parading down Broadway in downtown Louisville. Word on the street is Cyndi Lauper will be in the parade this year, so you know you want to be there.
Thursday (5/3) – Taste of Derby - a celebration of cuisine, racing and style at Louisville Executive Aviation Hangar at Bowman Field
Looking for more pre-Derby festivities? View the entire Kentucky Derby Festival line-up here.