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Kentucky Derby Festival

Tuesday, April 11, 2017   /   by Ryan Fellows

Kentucky Derby Festival

If you are from around the Louisville, Ky area, you are fully aware of the Kentucky Derby and the preceding Kentucky Derby Festival!

If you are not from around here....let us teach you a few things.

The Kentucky Derby is a nationwide famous horse race that takes place at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky, also known as "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports". People from all over the world visit to attend the race, famous and fanatics. This race is the first leg of the Triple Crown that kicks off on the first Saturday in May.  The horse that wins this race will go on to race in the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes. If the horse happens to win all three races, like our prestigious American Pharoh from 2015, they will be placed in the short list of Triple Crown winners.

So if you ask anyone from this area, they can surely explain the Kentucky Derby to you. However, if you ask them their favorite part, it probably is an event that is part of the Kentucky Derby Festival. This festival is a 2 week long series of events leading up to the final race day (the first Saturday in May).


Two weeks before the Derby, the Kentucky Derby Festival is kicked off with Thunder Over Louisville. This is one of the nation's largest firework shows that attract patrons from both Indiana and Kentucky.

From that moment on, the festival begins. We have listed a few of our favorite events below and the dates on which they will be held this year!

Chow Wagon- Beginning April 27th - Derby

An abundance of food trucks and games. Bring your big pants! You will need the room.

The Great Balloon Glow & Race- April 28th & 29th
An event prior to the Great Balloon Race when you can visit all of the hot-air balloons participating in the race and see them light up in the night sky. Then wake up extra early to see the balloons race across the skyline.

Great Steamboat Race- May 3rd
Come down to the Ohio River to witness the regional steamboats race down the river to claim the next victory!


Pegasus Parade- May 4th
Head down to Broadway in Downtown Louisville to see our local businesses, vendors, and KDF supporters march throughout Louisville.

These are just some of the few exciting events to enjoy throughout the Kentucky Derby Festival. The list goes on and one including races, wine fest, beer fest, concerts, and cook-offs. Be sure not to miss the outfits and big hats at Oaks & Derby either!

Click HERE for the full Kentucky Derby Festival Schedule so you don't miss a thing. 

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  derby, events, festival, kentucky, louisville