Thursday March 22, 2018
News Topics

The Kentucky Derby Museum announces a $6.5 million renovation and expansion project, adding over 11,000 square feet of brand new space and renovation of an existing 5,000 square feet. It will be the largest expansion of the Museum’s footprint since the building was constructed in 1985 and one of the largest renovations since a major refurbishing project following damaging flooding in 2009.

The expansion will provide a greater visitor experience for guests with an emphasis on new exhibit space. The recently acquired D. Wayne Lukas collection will be featured in its own permanent gallery. It also creates space to display key pieces of the Bill Shoemaker collection, which has been housed in the Museum’s archives for many years. The expanded second floor will feature other exhibits, plus additional meeting and rental space.

The Museum will build an entirely new third floor within the expansion footprint to house administrative offices, a large conference room and storage areas.

On the ground level, a new stable will house the Museum’s resident Thoroughbred and miniature horse. The area will include seating for educational programming. It also features more than 7,400 square feet of covered space that can be set for various events, including outdoor weddings, dinners, parties and more. With the addition of the new rental space, the Museum will be able to host events with as many as 1,300 people.

The Museum closed out fiscal year 2017 with a record-setting attendance number, welcoming more than 230,000 visitors through its doors, an increase of 5.6 percent over the previous fiscal year. The energy of that success compelled the Museum’s Board of Directors and leadership team to pursue an expansion project and enhance the overall visitor experience.

“We wanted to build upon the momentum of our recent growth and take the Museum to the next level. With this expansion, we’ll create a new, dynamic way to present our mission to engage, educate and excite everyone about the extraordinary event that is the Kentucky Derby to guests from around the world,” Kentucky Derby Museum President and CEO Patrick Armstrong said.

“The Kentucky Derby Museum is one of the city’s iconic attractions drawing both leisure and convention travelers looking for an authentic Louisville experience,” Karen Williams, President & CEO of the Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau said. “The expansion and renovation will offer our visitors even more one-of-a-kind opportunities to enjoy the thrills and traditions of the legendary Kentucky Derby.”

Construction is set to begin after Kentucky Derby 2018 and is expected to be complete by November, in time for the 2018 Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs Racetrack.

Winner Gets Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience

Taking a lesson from Willy Wonka, the Kentucky Derby Festival’s Foundation is giving away a Golden Ticket for the 2018 Festival. The lucky winner (and a guest) will experience the Derby Festival like never before! The Golden Ticket includes a Derby Festival package valued at $3553. This is a once in a lifetime chance to attend many of the Festival’s most anticipated (and often sold out) events. Raffle tickets are 50 dollars each and ONLY 500 will be sold. Taking a lesson from Willy Wonka, the Kentucky Derby Festival’s Foundation is giving away a Golden Ticket for the 2018 Festival. The lucky winner (and a guest) will experience the Derby Festival like never before! The Golden Ticket includes a Derby Festival package valued at $3553. This is a once in a lifetime chance to attend many of the Festival’s most anticipated (and often sold out) events. Raffle tickets are 50 dollars each and ONLY 500 will be sold.

The Golden Ticket raffle is also for a good cause. Proceeds benefit the Kentucky Derby Festival’s Foundation – the charitable arm of the Derby Festival. The Golden Ticket raffle is coordinated by The Fillies, Inc., a volunteer organization that works closely with the Derby Festival year-round.

The Golden Ticket package includes:

  • 2 Grandstand Box tickets to 2018 Kentucky Oaks on May 4, 2018
  • Hot air balloon ride for 2 people during the U.S. Bank Great BalloonFest™
  • 2 tickets to The Fillies Derby Ball®
  • 2 tickets to They’re Off!® Luncheon
  • 2 VIP tickets to Thunder Over Louisville
  • 2 tickets to the Great Steamboat Race on the Belle of Louisville
  • 2 tickets to Kentucky Proud WineFest
  • 2 VIP viewing seats at the Republic Bank Pegasus® Parade
  • 2 tickets to The Children’s Tea® with the Derby Festival Princesses
  • 2 signed 2018 KDF Official Posters
  • $100 gift card for Official KDF Merchandise
  • 2 complete sets of 2018 Pegasus® Pins – including a Gold Pin!
  • 2 memberships to KDF’s Thorobred® VIP program in 2019

Raffle tickets are on sale NOW. They can be purchased at the Derby Festival office at 1001 S. Third Street in Louisville, by calling (502) 584-FEST, or online at The winner will be drawn at the Macy’s Derby Festival Spring Fashion Show at Horseshoe Southern Indiana in March.

Mayor Greg Fischer and Ocala (Florida) Mayor Kent Guinn today made their annual wager on the Kentucky Derby, placing a new Louisville bourbon and Ocala brandy on the line.

This is the fourth year for the friendly wager between the mayors of the two cities, both steeped in thoroughbred tradition.

Mayor Fischer chose J Boys Echo, trained by Louisvillian Dale Romans, as his winning horse. “It’s time for this Louisvillian to get into the Derby Winner’s Circle,” the Mayor said.

Mayor Guinn is predicting favorite Classic Empire will emerge victorious in the Derby. Classic Empire, son of Pioneer of the Nile, has traditional Florida bloodlines of Unbridled, Fappiano, Dr. Fager and In Reality. But mostly, Mayor Guinn said he chose him because he is a big fan of trainer Mark Casse, who grew up in Ocala.

“With Mark’s hometown roots and farm in Ocala, I hope he brings the Kentucky Derby trophy home,” Mayor Guinn said. “The first Florida winner, Needles, has had his trophy prominently displayed in the city for a long time, so it is only fitting that the latest winner’s award also be on display so residents here in Horse Capital of the World can celebrate the honor.”

Last year, Mayor Guinn’s pick, Gun Runner, finished third, and Mayor Fischer’s selection, Brody’s Cause, finished seventh. So no spirits were exchanged.

Mayor Fischer’s bet this year is a bottle of the new Old Forester Statesman from Louisville’s Brown-Forman Corp. The company announced earlier this week that Old Forester Statesman will debut in acclaimed filmmaker Matthew Vaughn’s upcoming 20th Century Fox film, “Kingsman: The Golden Circle,” and will available for film fans and bourbon aficionados to enjoy in August.

Mayor Guinn again bet Marion Black 106 —the Spirit of Florida Tangerine Brandy, distilled by Fishhawk Spirits of Ocala.

“We love our traditions in Louisville, and nothing is more traditional than Derby and bourbon,” Mayor Fischer said. “This bet with Ocala has become fun annual wager – and yet another tradition!”

Photo: B4L website

Approximately 100 bicycle parking spaces will be available during Derby Week at Wayside Park near Churchill Downs, thanks to a partnership between Bicycling for  Louisville and Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation.

Bike parking will be free of charge at the park, which is located in the 3100 block of S. Third Street, on Thursday (Thurby), Friday (Oaks Day) and Saturday (Derby Day). No motorcycles will be allowed in the parking area, and cyclists who leave their bikes at Wayside Park should bring their own locks, as the park will not be monitored during those three days.

The bike parking option gives those interested an alternative way to get to avoid high parking fees and traffic congestion when going to the track.

“We’re hoping a lot of people use this option — as a way to save money and time, but also as a fun way to get to and from Churchill,” said Chris Glasser, Executive Director of Bicycling for Louisville. “Taking a bike to the track ends up being a far more convenient option than sitting in traffic all day.”

Wayside Park has a historic tie-in with cycling in Louisville. In 1897, the Cycle Carnival – a huge bicycle parade that included about 10,000 cyclists viewed by 50,000 spectators – passed Wayside Park en route to Iroquois Park from Broadway.

The Louisville Bicycle Club has adopted Wayside Park under the Metro Parks and Recreation Adopt-A-Park program.

“The park has a very interesting history as it relates to cycling in Louisville, and we’re pleased to be able to call attention to that once again,” said Seve Ghose, Director of Metro Parks and Recreation. “It’s great to be able to use it in this fashion during Derby Week.”

Mayor Greg Fischer endorsed the idea too, noting that it’s a way to promote health and have fun, though he cautioned Derby go-ers to “hold on to your hat!”

Families are invited to the North Great Lawn inside Kroger’s Festival today, Sunday, April 30, from 1-4 p.m. for the YMCA Healthy Kids Day Presented by Humana.  The Derby Festival joined forces with the YMCA of Greater Louisville and Humana to bring free family fun to the Waterfront.

“We are excited to join forces with the award-winning Kentucky Derby Festival team,” said Steve Tarver, President and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Louisville. “It’s community partnerships like this and the support of Humana that make YMCA Healthy Kids Day a truly unique family event that emphasizes the value of health and fitness for everyone during an exciting time of year in our city.”

Geared toward children ages 3 and older, plus adults, the event will feature interactive and family fitness activities, inflatables and giveaways. The fifth annual miniFun Run for Kids will also be a part of the festivities. The best part is, admission is free!

“This partnership allows us to expand on our miniFun Run event for kids, which started in 2013,” said Mike Berry, KDF President and CEO. “There will be activities for children and adults alike, all while promoting healthy lifestyles and healthy families.”

The event is coordinated by YMCA of Greater Louisville with Presenting Sponsor Humana.  Joining them are Media Sponsors Today’s Family Magazine and 102.3 The Max.

Food, drink and pets are not permitted. For more information, visit or call 502-587-9622.

The Kentucky Derby Festival’s Celebration Sunday returns this weekend with a Christian Contemporary concert and gospel choir showcase. Featured on the Music Stage at the Chow Wagon, the Passport GospelFest will begin at 2 p.m with performances until 7 p.m. Celebration Sunday presented by WJIE, which will feature Sidewalk Prophets with John Tibbs and Hannah Kerr starts at 5 p.m. on the Great Stage inside Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville. Admission to both shows is a 2017 Pegasus Pin.

Packed with powerful performances, the Passport GospelFest will showcase choirs from around the State. Grammy-nominated artist Jason Clayborn and the Atmosphere Changers, St. Stephen Youth Choir, and Sensational Bentleys will headline the event. GospelFest is sponsored by Passport with Contributing Sponsor Kentucky Department of Tourism and Media Sponsors B96.5 and WLOU 104.7.

This year’s Celebration Sunday concert features headlining artist, Sidewalk Prophets, an award-winning Contemporary Christian band. The 2010 Dove Award winner for New Artist of the Year will bring their energetic live-performance to the Great Stage with singles from their latest album like “Prodigal,” “To Live Is Christ,” and “Impossible.” John Tibbs and Hannah Kerr will open the show for the second year in a row. Tibbs, originally from Lexington, KY is a rising songwriter and worship leader whose signature southern heartland roots shine through in his first studio album, “Dead Man Walking.” Kerr, a breakthrough Christian singer from New York is sure to lift the crowd with her latest album, Overflow. Celebration Sunday is sponsored by WJIE.

Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville is open through Derby Eve, Friday, May 5. Hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, except Sunday 12 p.m. to 11 p.m.  This ultimate entertainment experience offers national concerts, family fun, food vendors, a children’s inflatable playground, midway rides and more. Admission is a 2017 Pegasus Pin. Kroger is title sponsor of the event, with contributing sponsor Miller Lite and media sponsor The Courier Journal.

Festival Officials planning for tonight’s balloon glow, winds could still be a factor.

Derby Festival Officials continue to monitor the weather for the U.S. Bank Great Balloon Glow, which was rescheduled for tonight at 9 p.m. at the Kentucky Exposition Center. While no inclement weather is expected, there is still a potential for high winds. Festival Officials want to make sure patrons know the winds could impact how much the balloons will glow.

“We want balloon fans and their families to come out and join us for our final ballooning event. But, we also want to make sure they know if there are high winds in the area, it could prevent some balloons from glowing or limit access to the balloon field,” said Mike Berry, KDF President and CEO.

The Glow is scheduled for tonight at 9 p.m. at the Kentucky Exposition Center. Gates will open at 6 p.m. and the parking fee is $8. Admission to the event is free with a 2017 Pegasus Pin. If wind conditions are good, the balloon pilots will fire their burners, making the balloons glow against the night sky synchronized to a musical score provided by 106.9 PLAY. The event will also be broadcast live by WLKY TV on MeTV Louisville 32.2.