What is the Kentucky Derby Festival?
Only the greatest party in the world! It’s an action-packed month-long party leading up to the World Famous, greatest 2 minutes in sports, Kentucky Derby! The Kentucky Derby Festival® is the largest and most extravagant community celebration of its kind, and a proud winner of the International Festivals & Events Association award for Best Overall Festival eight times!
Started as a single parade in 1956, the not-for-profit Kentucky Derby Festival has grown in 61 years to become a whirlwind of over 70 special events. This year’s Festival blasts off on April 23 with the Opening Ceremonies - Thunder Over Louisville, the nation’s largest annual fireworks extravaganzas!
Sports fan? There are basketball, volleyball, golf and the Tour De Lou cycling events. Music enthusiasts? There’s a long list of free concerts at Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront. With two-thirds of the Festival events free, it’s budget friendly entertainment for people of all ages.
Other highlights include a half and full marathon, hot-air balloon events and live bed racing! The Great Steamboat Race buoyantly glides old-time paddle-wheelers down the magnificent Ohio River on May 4. The event that started it all, the Republic Bank Pegasus Parade marches down Broadway in colorful fashion on May 5.
The Festival includes several formal affairs, as well as casual, down-to-earth, good times all around the Louisville area. From elephant ears and funnel cakes, to tasty ethnic foods and cocktail hours, plus local wine-tasting and a regional craft beer showcase, there’s a little something for everyone 😉
Highlighted 2016 Kentucky Derby Festival Events:
- March 2: Festival Unveiled Presented by Citizens Union Bank & Four Roses Bourbon
- April 15: Basketball Classic Presented by Papa John’s
- April 16: The Fillies Derby Ball
- April 21: Stock Yards Bank $1 Million Dollar Golf Hole In One ContestSM Opens
- April 22: They’re Off!® Luncheon
- April 23: Opening Ceremonies: Thunder Over Louisville® - ENTER TO WIN VIP TICKETS
- April 28: Kroger’s Fest-a-VilleSM on the Waterfront Opens
- April 28-30: U.S. Bank Great BalloonFestSM
- April 30: Marathon/miniMarathon® Presented by Walmart and Humana®
- May 1: PNC Tour de LouSM
- May 2: Thorntons Great Bed Races
- May 3: Republic Bank Pegasus® Parade Preview Party
- May 3-4: Kentucky Proud WineFest - ENTER TO WIN TICKETS
- May 4: Great Steamboat Race
- May 5: Celebrity Day at the Downs Presented by Kentuckiana Honda Dealers
- May 5: Republic Bank Pegasus® Parade
Get Involved, Sign Up 2 Volunteer!
No better way to get connected in your new city then by volunteering! You’ll get to meet cool new folks and give back to the community, win-win. And the Kentucky Derby Festival is looking for cool new folks like you! You can sign up to serve on event committees and/or one-day events performing duties such as handing out water at the Marathon/miniMarathon, pouring beer at BeerFest and more!
Interested? Click on the volunteer button below 👇