Tomorrow kicks off the two-week Kentucky Derby Festival with one of the largest fireworks displays in the country. Thunder Over Louisville is a fun family event that features music, food, an air show, and a very large fireworks display at the end of the day. Unfortunately, the weather will not be so cooperative, and there is no rain date. As long as it is safe to be near the river, the show will go on. We are currently looking at a high near 50 degrees with nearly 100% chance of rain.
Visitors to the main viewing area on either side of the river will need a Pegasus pin for entrance. The official program for the day will be available tomorrow in the local newspaper. The day begins when many displays open at 11:00 AM. The US Military will have multiple interactive displays on the South Great Lawn, including a dog tag machine, a fitness challenge, an obstacle course, and a 4D virtual reality simulation of a Navy rescue mission. The South Lawn will have activities geared towards children, such as the ninja jump and Meijer will be sponsoring a Family Fun zone that will feature face painting, bounce houses and a beer garden for the parents.
The famous air show does not start until 2:30 PM (recent time change from 3:00 PM). The line up of acts will feature aircraft from the US and other foreign countries’ militaries, both past and present. The show usually features a couple of stunt pilots that will display their skills in the cockpit by performing stunning, and dangerous, maneuvers in the air at various heights. If you have not been to a Thunder Over Louisville event with cloud cover, the ability of the planes to fly close enough to be seen is dependent on the ceiling level and the pilot’s discretion. The entire line up of airshow can be seen online, but it is subject to change.
The air show ends when the fireworks start. As with the previous 27 events, the 28-minute fireworks show has a theme. This year it is “Local & Original”. Along with the fireworks, there is a musical score to go along with the show and as always, there will be a salute to the US that usually features the US flag being flown by aircraft in the viewing area and a few well-known, patriotic songs. The fireworks are currently scheduled to start at 9:30 PM.
If you plan on attending the event, some useful information can be found at the Kentucky Derby Festival webpage. You should plan on leaving any personal drones, tents, canopies, glass containers, alcoholic beverages, pets, bicycles, and grills at home. Lawn chairs are permitted and so are tarps (as long as they are under 10′ x 10′). Event organizers also recommend that you dress for the weather (possibly consider a change of clothes in a waterproof bag or in the car), make sure you gas tank is full (traffic after the event can be slow moving at best and many routes that may be familiar will be blocked), and plan to park as far away as you can comfortably walk. A map of the viewing area is also available on the website.
If you do not want to drive to the event, the local public transit provider, TARC, will have extra buses on certain routes and alternate loading spots following the event. More information, including route changes and detours, can be found on their website. If you are unable to attend the event or do not desire sitting in the rain all-day, you can listen to the show all day on WVEZ 106.9 and many local news stations will air the event as well.