Kentucky Derby Festival
‘Thunder Over Louisville’
kicks off Derby on April 20
Two weeks of events lead up to the big race
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 2013) – The Kentucky Derby Festival has stretched a famous “two minutes” of horse racing into a month-long party. What the Run for the Roses is to horse racing, Louisville’s Kentucky Derby Festival is to community celebrations.
The festival is one of the premiere events of its kind in the world and a proud winner of the International Festivals & Events Association award for Best Overall Festival six times. It brings fun, excitement, international recognition and a spirit that is unmatched anywhere. When 1.5 million people gather to celebrate spring and the unique vitality of their community, the focus is on fun and the whimsical.
“We are a community organization of 4,000 volunteers who work all year to provide quality entertainment that enhances the community,” said Festival President and CEO Michael E. Berry. Produced annually since 1956, the not-for-profit Kentucky Derby Festival has become a whirlwind of nearly 70 special events.
The 2013 Festival blasts off on April 20 with the Opening Ceremonies – Thunder Over Louisville, one of the nation’s largest annual fireworks extravaganzas. The ensuing two weeks of excitement and entertainment promises something for everyone.
For sports fans there is basketball, volleyball and golf. For music lovers the concerts are almost non-stop. With two-thirds of the festival events free, families can enjoy numerous just-for-kids activities without stretching their pocketbook.
Other highlights include a half and full marathon, hot-air balloon events and live bed racing. The Great Steamboat Race pits paddle-wheelers on the mighty Ohio River. The event that started it all, the Republic Bank Pegasus Parade marches down Broadway on May 2.
With outdoor concerts at Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville and the elegant Derby Ball, dance and dress range from frivolous to fancy. The festival includes several formal affairs, as well as casual, foot-stomping good times all around the community. From elephant ears and corndogs at the Chow Wagon to ethnic foods and pet-friendly cocktail hours at Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville and local wine-tasting at the WineFest, culinary adventures abound.
More than just being entertaining, the Derby Festival generates in excess of $127 million annually for the local economy. Events on the Festival schedule also help to raise nearly $500,000 for area charities each year.
The Commonwealth’s largest single annual event, and one of Louisville’s most popular entertainment attractions, the celebration is produced by Kentucky Derby Festival Inc., a private, not-for-profit civic organization with a professional staff of 23 and a volunteer board of 75.
“We know we have done our job well by the smiles of the people who attend our events,” said Berry.
Highlights of the 2013 Derby Festival Schedule:
• April 18: Stock Yards Bank $1 Million Dollar Hole-In-One Contest Opens
• April 19: Basketball Classic presented by papajohns.com and Fifth Third Bank
• April 19: They’re Off! Luncheon and The Fillies Derby Ball
• April 20: Opening Ceremonies: Thunder Over Louisville
• April 25: Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront Opens
• April 25: Chow Wagon at Waterfront Park Opens
• April 25-27: U.S. Bank Great BalloonFest
• April 27: Marathon and miniMarathon presented by Walmart and HumanaVitality
• April 29: Great Bed Races
• April 30: Republic Bank Parade Preview Party
• April 30-May 1: WineFest
• May 1: Great Steamboat Race
• May 2: Republic Bank Pegasus Parade
• For more information about the Kentucky Derby Festival and all 70 events, visit www.kdf.org or call 1-800-928-FEST.
Kix Brooks to headline Derby Eve Jam
Kix Brooks, formerly of Brooks & Dunn, will close out the 2013 Kentucky Derby Festival at the Derby Eve Jam on Friday, May 3, at Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront. Special guest Greg Bates will open the show, starts at 7:30 p.m.
Admission to the show is a 2013 Pegasus Pin. Military personnel with a valid ID will receive free admission to the venue from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. 97.5 WAMZ is a contributing sponsor of the event.
Brooks will also perform later that night at the Barnstable Brown Gala, where he will join country music’s elite, legendary Motown and rock star chart toppers. “We are ready to Kix up our boots on Derby Eve!” said Patricia Barnstable Brown. “Kix puts on an awesome show, and we’re thrilled to have him for our 25th Anniversary Barnstable Brown Gala.”
The platinum selling artist has been performing since age 12 and started writing songs in high school. He eventually landed in Nashville working with artists like Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Highway 101, before teaming up with Ronnie Dunn in 1990. They became the highest selling duo in the history of country music. Since 2006, Brooks has hosted the long-running syndicated radio program, American Country Countdown.
Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront opens on Thursday, April 25, and will run through Friday, May 3. The venue will once again be located at Waterfront Park. It will be open weekdays from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. This ultimate entertainment experience offers national act concerts, family fun, food vendors, a children’s inflatable playground, midway rides and more. Admission is a 2013 Pegasus Pin.
Kroger is title sponsor of the event, with contributing sponsor Miller Lite.
Since 1956, the Derby Festival has worked to bring the community together in celebration.
The Festival is an independent community organization supported by 4,000 volunteers, 375 businesses and civic groups, Pegasus Pin sponsorships and event participation. This involvement has made the Festival the largest single attended event in Kentucky and one of the leading community celebrations in the world.
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