Kentucky Derby Festival kicks off
in April with two weeks of fun
Annual festival is among the nation’s top events
The Board of Directors and staff, the 4,000 volunteers and more than 400 sponsors welcome you to one of America’s greatest community celebrations – the 2016 Kentucky Derby Festival. The festival is a private, not-for-profit, community organization dedicated to providing unique entertainment for the Greater Louisville area. Entertaining more than 1.5 million people, the festival is one of the nation's top festivals. With nearly 70 special events, there is something for everyone.
Here’s a rundown of the upcoming major events:
Friday, April 15:
• Basketball Classic. 7 p.m. at Freedom Hall. Tickets $18 in advance and $20 at the door. Tickets on sale at all TicketMaster locations, www.ticketmaster.com or call 1-800-745-3000 or the Freedom Hall box office at (502) 367-5144.
Photos courtesy of the
Kentucky Derby Festival
The 2016 Kentucky Derby Festival Royal Court includes (from left) Adrienne Poole, Madison Orman, Stephanie Dooper, Andi Dahmer and Millicent Cahoon. The reigning princess will be crowned at the annual Fillies Derby Ball, set for April 15 at the Downtown Marriott hotel.
Saturday, April 16:
• The Fillies’ Derby Ball. Cocktails at 6:30 p.m., doors open at 7:15 p.m. at the Louisville Marriott Downtown. Featuring the Derby Festival Queen Coronation at 7:30 p.m., dinner at 8 p.m. Dancing from 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. Dance entertainment by Burning Las Vegas. Tickets $175 each or a VIP table of 10 is $2,500. Includes appetizers, dinner and dancing. Produced by The Fillies Inc. For tickets call (502) 572-3856.
Thursday, April 21
- Sun., May 1:
• $1 Million Dollar Hole-in-One Golf Contest. Semifinals 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. on May 1, with finals at 6 p.m. at Seneca Golf Course Driving Range. $1 per shot and free for spectators. April 24 is Kids’ Day for under 18 competitors. 2 shots for $1. Grand prize is $1 million.
Friday, April 22:
• “They’re Off! Luncheon.” 11:30 a.m. at the Galt House East Grand Ballroom. Tickets are $680 for a table of eight or $85 each. This year’s speaker is ESPN broadcaster Kenny Mayne.
Saturday, April 23:
• Derby Festival Opening Ceremonies: Thunder Over Louisville. FoodFest and Ford’s Thunder On the Ground open at 11 a.m. Air show at 3 p.m. Fireworks at 9:30 p.m. Along the downtown Louisville riverfront, Waterfront Park, River Road and southern Indiana shoreline. 2016 Theme: No Strings Attached. Soundtrack recorded by The Louisville Orchestra directed by Teddy Abrams. Visit: www.ThunderOverLouisville.org. Featuring the Thunder Chow Wagon at Waterfront Park, and the East River Road Beer Garden. Admission is free with a 2016 Pegasus Pin. (Open 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. No food, drink, tents, stakes, tape or pets.) Meijer Family Fun Zone on the Belvedere. Admission is free with a 2015 Pegasus Pin (Open 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.). North Great Lawn area opens at 9 a.m. Admission is free with a 2016 Pegasus Pin. (No tents, stakes, tape or pets.)
Tuesday, April 26:
• “Taste of Derby Festival.” 5:30-8:30 p.m. at Louisville Slugger Field. Tickets $80 (limited availability). Coordinated by Dare to Care Food Bank. All proceeds to benefit Dare to Care. Features exquisite fare from more than 65 of Louisville’s finest restaurants and beverage companies. Bourbon tasting, bloody mary contest, wine tasting and a silent auction.
Thurs., April 28
– Friday, May 6:
• Kroger’s Fest-A-Ville on the Waterfront. Open daily from 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. at the Louisville Waterfront Park. Featuring free music concerts with national talent, family fun, food, kids’ inflatable playground, midway rides and more. Happy Hour Weekdays 4-6 p.m. with $2 beers. Admission is free with a 2016 Pegasus Pin. (Food, drink and pets are not permitted). Chow Wagon open daily from 11 a.m. - 11 p.m., except Sunday noon - 11 p.m. Featuring the Miller Lite Music Stage. Free admission with a 2016 Pegasus Pin.
Thursday April 28
– Saturday, April 30:
• April 28: Great Balloon Charity Race. 7 a.m. launch at Bowman Field.
• April 28: Great Balloon Glimmer. 8:30 p.m. at Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront.
• April 29: Great Balloon Rush-Hour Race and Balloon Glow. 7 a.m. launch for race at Bowman Field. Public entrance off Pee Wee Reese Road. Great Balloon Glow at 9 p.m. at the Kentucky Exposition Center. Gates open at 6 p.m. Entry fee is $8 KEC parking fee.
• April 30: Great Balloon Race. 7 a.m. launch at Bowman Field. Public entrance off Pee Wee Reese Road.
Saturday, April 30:
• Marathon and Mini-Marathon. 7:30 a.m. at Main Street near Slugger Field. Start via 13.1-mile route or 26.2-mile route to Preston & Witherspoon Streets finish. Free for spectators. Entry fees and registration information located at www.DerbyFestivalMarathon.com.
• “Magic! at Waterfront Jam. 9 p.m. at Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront. Admission is free with a 2016 Pegasus Pin.
Sunday, May 1:
• Tour de Lou Cycling Event. Staggered start based on distance: 62.1 Metric Century – 8:30 a.m.; 35-mile ride - 9 a.m.; 20-mile ride – 9:15 a.m. Cycling event for all ages and levels of experience, with start and finish near Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville at Waterfront Park. 20-mile ride for intermediate riders and 35-mile ride for experienced cyclists. Entry fees and registration info at www.kdf.org.
• Mayor’s Brunch on the River. 11 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at Riverside, the Farnsley-Moremen Landing. A festive brunch featuring a traditional Kentucky breakfast, live riverboat jazz, and tours of the property including the Moremen Family Chapel. Tickets $65 or $500 for table of eight. For tickets or information call (502) 935-6809 or www.riverside-landing.org.
Monday, May 2:
• Great Bed Races. 4 p.m. tailgating, 6 p.m. Parade of Beds, 7 p.m. racing. At Broadbent Arena. Admission is free with a 2016 Pegasus Pin. Entry fee $130 for a team of five.
• Derby Festival Happytail Hour. 5-9 p.m. at Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront. Admission is free with a 2016 Pegasus Pin. A pet-friendly (leashes please!) social event featuring entertainment by Hot Brown Smackdown.
• Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick at Waterfront Jam. 8 p.m. at Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront. Free admission with a 2016 Pegasus Pin.
• Derby Winefest. Wine tasting sessions daily from 5-9 p.m. on the Belvedere. Tickets: $45. (21 and over only. Must present ID upon entry.) Tickets available by calling (502) 584-FEST or online at www.kdf.org.
Wednesday, May 4:
• Great Steamboat Race. 4:30-5:30 p.m. boarding. 5:45 p.m. departure. Race begins at 6 p.m. Awards presentation immediately following at the Chow Wagon in Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville. Tickets on the Belle of Louisville $130 (limited availability). Tickets on the Belle of Cincinnati $60 Cruise Only; $85 dinner, Four Roses Bourbon Tasting and Cruise. For tickets call (502) 584-FEST. Free spectator viewing at Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville and along the banks of the Ohio River.
• BeerFest. 6-10 p.m. Beer tasting sessions featuring regional craft beers. Overlook at Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville. Tickets $45 advance, $50 at the gate. $75 for VIP experience starting at 5 p.m. Tickets include beer tastings, sampling mug and BeerFest pin. Tickets available by calling (502) 584-FEST or online at www.kdf.org. (21 and over only. Must present ID upon entry.)
• The Bright Light Social Hour at Waterfront Jam. 8 p.m. at Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront. Psychedelic rockers The Bright Light Social Hour with special guest Vessel. Admission is free with a 2016 Pegasus Pin.
Thursday, May 5:
• Pegasus Parade. 5 p.m. on Broadway from Campbell to Ninth Street. Grand Marshal: Jordan Smith, winner of The Voice Season 9 and Republic Records recording artist. Bleacher tickets $10 and chair seating $12. Review stand seating $30. This annual spectacle of colorful floats, marching bands and inflatables is broadcast live on WAVE 3 TV.
• Waterfront Jam featuring Cold War Kids. 9 p.m. on the Great Stage at Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville. Admission is free with a 2016 Pegasus pin.
Friday, May 6:
• Waterfront Jam featuring Audien. 9 p.m. on the Great Stage at Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville. Admission is free with a 2016 Pegasus pin.
Saturday, May 7:
• 141st Running of the Kentucky Derby. For Derby information contact Churchill Downs (502) 636-4400.
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