Sunday June 24, 2018
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With the traditional spin of a wheel Tara Dunaway of Leitchfield, KY, was named the 2018 Kentucky Derby Festival Queen at the 60th annual Fillies Derby Ball at The Galt House. Tara, 21-years-old, is a Junior at the University of Louisville where she is majoring in Business Marketing with a minor in Management. She is a College of Business Student Council Member and serves as the Chairman of Outreach, has been named to the Dean’s List multiple times, and has studied in numerous countries including England and Austria. Tara also volunteers at Portland Elementary and has participated in mission trips to Central America.

This year’s Derby Festival Princesses anxiously awaited the traditional spin-of-the-wheel, performed by Fillies President Glenda Thome. The other members of the court include: Katie Bouchard of Owensboro, KY, a senior at Western Kentucky University; Logan Howard of Louisville, a senior at the University of Kentucky; Morgan A. Redmond of Louisville, KY a senior at the University of Chicago, and Caroline Will of Louisville, a senior at the University of Kentucky.

The members of the Royal Court have been representing the Festival at a variety of events since their selection in January, including Festival Unveiled, the Ford Motor Company Spelling Bee and Macy’s Spring Fashion Show. They were selected as Royal Court members out of more than 130 young women who applied to participate in the program last fall.

Criteria for selection included knowledge of the Derby Festival, poise, intelligence, personality and campus/community involvement. Each woman receives two $1,000 scholarships (one from the Fillies, Inc., and one from the Kentucky Derby Festival Foundation) and an official wardrobe.

The Princesses act as ambassadors for the Derby Festival and the city as they represent the community at a variety of functions. The Fillies, Inc. was established to support the Kentucky Derby Festival. Their mission is to organize the traditional Fillies Derby Ball, coordinate the “Royal Court Program,” produce the “Children’s Tea” event, and publish the Official Derby Festival Program. Membership is limited to 250 ladies of our community.

Past Derby Festival Queens include Martha Layne Collins – Kentucky’s first woman Governor, the late Gail Gorski – the first female pilot for United Airlines and a number of other community leaders. Many say their Derby Festival experience helped them prepare for their future careers.

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, 400 businesses and civic groups, Pegasus Pin sponsorships and event participation.  It entertains more than 1.5 million people in a two- week period and has a local economic impact of more than $127 million.  This involvement has made the Festival the largest single attended event in Kentucky and one of the leading community celebrations in the world.

In celebration of the Kentucky Derby Festival’s Opening Ceremonies, Thunder Over Louisville, Four Roses has released a Limited Edition Single Barrel Bourbon Bottle featuring the iconic Thunder Over Louisville logo. Four Roses is also the Official Bourbon of Thunder Over Louisville.

The limited edition bottle, priced at $44.99, is exclusively available now at Cox Smoker’s Outlet and Spirit Shoppe, as well as Cox’s Evergreen Liquors. Thunder fans and bourbon connoisseurs will also have the opportunity to have their bottles signed by Four Roses Master Distiller Brent Elliott and Senior Brand Ambassador and Bourbon legend Al Young.

The signings are scheduled for April 13 and April 18:

  • Friday, April 13 – Senior Brand Ambassador and Bourbon Legend Al Young will be signing bottles at Cox’s St. Matthews from 4 – 7 PM.
  • Wednesday, April 18 – Master Distiller Brent Elliott will be signing the Thunder bottle at Evergreen Liquors from 5 – 8 PM

Thunder Over Louisville – the Derby Festival’s Opening Ceremonies – is one of the more than 70 events produced by the Derby Festival in the spring. The 2018 Thunder Over Louisville, themed “A Disco Thunder,” is set for Saturday, April 21, and will be the 29th annual production.

This year’s Republic Bank Pegasus Parade will be a blast from the past for Festival fans. Festival officials announced the Grand Marshals and set the line-up for the parade at a special event tonight at Mark’s Feed Store. In honor of this year’s parade theme “ThrowbackThursday,” former coaching rivals and basketball fan favorites Joe B. Hall and Denny Crum will serve as the parade’s Co-Grand Marshals. It’s a familiar role for the coaches who also participated in the 1975 parade.

“The parade is the event that started the Festival 63 years ago and this year’s march will be a trip down memory lane,” said Mike Berry, KDF President and CEO. “Who better to evoke great memories than two coaches responsible for nine of the Final Four trips and three of the NCAA championships for UofL and UK.”

In addition to announcing the Grand Marshals, floats and inflatable units participating in this year’s parade drew for positions for annual march down Broadway. This year’s theme of “ThrowbackThursday,” will be used by sponsoring companies to help direct the building of floats and costuming of the inflatable handlers and crew. Participants were invited to pick their favorite parade themes from years past to decorate their units. The floats and inflatables compete for various awards based on originality, eye appeal, theme representation, animation, attention to detail and enthusiasm. Marching bands use the theme to help with musical selection and it is the basis of costume and concept design for the other marching units.

The 2018 Parade will feature 10 floats, many of them built by the employees of the companies sponsoring them. The following companies drew for their float position in the parade at tonight’s event, as well as the sponsors of the five participating inflatable character balloons.

Floats:
City of St. Matthews
Grand Lodge of Kentucky
Hwang’s Martial Arts
Kentucky Proud
Kosair Shriners/Kosair Charities
Louisville Parks & Recreation
Norton Healthcare
Second Chance @ Life
Shirley’s Way – Ride to Ride Out Cancer
The Fillies, Inc.

Inflatable Balloon Characters:
CareSource “Cookie Monster”
Horseshoe Southern Indiana “Horseshoe”
LG&E “Louie the Lightning Bug”
Republic Bank “Peggy Bank”
Waystar “Star”

Before the parade, fans can see the floats, inflatables, equestrian units and much more on display at the Pegasus Parade Preview Party Presented by Louisville Mega Cavern on Tuesday, May 1, at the Kentucky Exposition Center, in South Wing C. Admission is a 2018 Pegasus Pin.

Tickets for the Parade are on sale now online at KDF.org. Ticket prices are $10 for bleacher seats, $12 chair seating and $30 VIP seats. Republic Bank is the Title Sponsor of the parade with Contributing Sponsor, KentuckyOne Health. Official Hotel: The Galt House.

The Kentucky Derby Festival is heading to Southern Indiana for one of its newest events – Horseshoe Foundation FamFest. The Festival is partnering with the Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County to bring the family friendly event to New Albany on Wednesday, April 11. Showcasing a special preview of the 2018 Festival and offering fun for the whole family, the event will take place from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Downtown New Albany next to the YMCA located at 47 Pearl Street.

“We’re fortunate to have Festival fans on both sides of the river,” said Mike Berry, Kentucky Derby Festival President and CEO. “We’re all ready for spring and this event will help get everyone in the spirit of Festival season. Plus, we’ll have activities and fun for kids of all ages.”

Highlights of the event include autographs with the 2018 Royal Court, a hot air balloon, inflatables, mini golf, a miniature bed racing course, a Belle of Louisville Steamboat replica, face painting and more. Plus, the first 1,000 attendees will also receive a custom Pegasus Pin.

Other participants at the event include:

  • Baptist Health & Fitness Activity Center
  • Louisville Mega Cavern
  • Louisville City FC
  • Mighty Titans Adventure
  • US Marine Corps
  • New Albany Fire Department
  • Samtec MakerMobile
  • And many more!

Guests will also have the opportunity to purchase Kentucky Derby Festival Official Merchandise as they gear up for the Festival season. Concessions will also be available from Mark’s Feed Store and Papa John’s.

Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County is title sponsor of the event with Media Sponsors 102.3 Jack FM and Extol Magazine.

The Derby Festival is an independent community organization supported by 4,000 volunteers, 400 businesses and civic groups, Pegasus Pin sponsorships and event participation. It entertains more than 1.5 million people annually. This involvement has made the Festival the largest single attended event in Kentucky and one of the leading community celebrations in the world.

The Kentucky Derby Festival’s bourbon tasting event – King Southern Bank BourbonVille – returns next week. Celebrating Kentucky’s home-grown spirit, the event is set for Thursday, April 12th at 6 p.m. at the Louisville Palace.

“BourbonVille helps showcase two of Kentucky’s favorite things – bourbon and the Derby Festival celebration,” said Mike Berry, Kentucky Derby Festival President and CEO.  “Whether you like your bourbon neat or prefer a bourbon cocktail, it’s an event you don’t want to miss.”

BourbonVille will feature signature cocktails from several Kentucky Bourbon Distilleries. Participants include Evan Williams, Jim Beam, Four Roses, Flat Boat, Bulleit Bourbon and Jeptha Creed, to name a few. New for 2018, Angel’s Envy will host the VIP area. The different brands will present the spirit straight, of course, but also in specialty drinks, food and other variations. There will also be opportunities to mix and mingle with the Master Distillers and Brand Ambassadors.

Guests will be able to enjoy a wide-selection of Bourbon-inspired cuisine. The menu includes bourbon BBQ pork sliders; chicken’n waffles with bourbon syrup; smokey bourbon BBQ meatballs; gourmet cheese boards with bleu cheese, bourbon poached pears, cheddar, and smoked gouda; and more. For a full menu, visit KDF.org.

Each of the distilleries will build custom bars for the event inside the Louisville Palace. There will be a silent auction featuring bourbon inspired packages with everything from bourbon cocktail mixes and apparel to barrel heads and collectibles. Liquor Barn is also hosting a special Desserts Lounge.

Tickets for the event are still available.  General Admission Tickets are $50. Each ticket includes bourbon and food tasting, as well as a swag bag with commemorative mason jar, BourbonVille event Pin, and other bourbon themed items. Tickets can be purchased online at KDF.org.

BourbonVille is sponsored by King Southern Bank, with Contributing Sponsors Liquor Barn/Party Mart, and RunSwitch PR. Media Sponsor is 107.7 The Eagle.

The Derby Festival is an independent community organization supported by 4,000 volunteers, 400 businesses and civic groups, Pegasus Pin sponsorships and event participation.  It entertains more than 1.5 million people annually. This involvement has made the Festival the largest single attended event in Kentucky and one of the leading community celebrations in the world.

Through a special second chance promotion sponsored by the Kentucky Lottery, Louisville resident Bob Paxton won the opportunity to be this year’s Festival Fanatic for the 2018 Kentucky Derby Festival. As part of his big win, Paxton will serve as the Thundernator for the Derby Festival Opening Ceremonies: Thunder Over Louisville on Saturday, April 21.

At age 62, this will be Paxton’s first ever Thunder experience. He will have the opportunity to provide the Thunder countdown and “zero” ignition to activate the launch system sequence in the Command Center at the Galt House Hotel. Additionally, Bob receives nine other Festival VIP experiences. This includes a ride down Broadway in the Republic Bank Pegasus Parade, a hot air balloon ride, seats on Millionaires Row during Celebrity Day at the Downs, and $500 in spending money!

This is a special win for Paxton, “I was standing in line at Cane’s Chicken getting lunch when my phone rang and the call was from the Kentucky Lottery. I got so excited when I found out I was going to be the Festival Fanatic – everyone in the restaurant knew I’d won! I loved the idea of being the Festival Fanatic, and really wanted to win last year because the experience sounded so terrific.”

Over 5,000 fans entered the promotion which kicked off on February 5th. Players signed in or registered for a Fun Club Rewards account at www.kylottery.com. Once logged in, they were able to submit an eligible non-winning KENO ticket worth $5 or more for a chance to be named the 2018 Festival Fanatic.

Paxton will also be in town on Friday, April 20th. He will visit the Command Center for the first time at 10 a.m. that morning. Media is invited to the Command Center to meet him in person on April 20th.

Paxton won a VIP Experience package that includes: an invitation to the Festival’s annual They’re Off! Luncheon on Friday, April 20; a Second Street Bridge and Command Center Tour also on Friday, April 20; Overnight accommodations for a family of 4 at the Galt House Thunder weekend; and a front row seat in the Command Center on Saturday, April 21, to flip the switch.

Thunder Over Louisville – the Derby Festival’s Opening Ceremonies – is one of nearly 70 events produced by the Derby Festival in the spring. The 2018 Thunder Over Louisville, themed “A Disco Thunder,” is set for Saturday, April 21, and will be the 29th annual production. The show is sponsored by Horseshoe Southern Indiana, LG&E, Meijer, UPS, and Valero.

We’re less than a month away from the kick off of the 2018 Kentucky Derby Festival – and there will be even more Festival events for fans to enjoy. New additions to the ever-growing schedule include a new steamboat cruise, flag football, a gala, kickball, zombies, a community-wide clean up, and a move to Southern Indiana. They will be part of the Festival’s schedule of more than 70 events produced each year in the weeks leading up to the first Saturday in May.

“It’s the Festival’s mission to make sure our schedule has a little something for everyone,” said Mike Berry, KDF President & CEO. “We continue to build on the tradition that started in 1956 with a single parade for the community.”

The new events for the 2018 Kentucky Derby Festival include:

  • A Derby Festival event in New Albany, Indiana. The Festival is partnering with the Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County for the new Horseshoe Foundation FamFest on April 11. The family-friendly event will have a special preview of the 2018 Festival, featuring a hot air balloon, inflatables, mini golf and bed races, face painting and more. The first 1,000 attendees receive a custom Pegasus Pin.
  • An effort to help keep the city cleaner and greener. Louisville’s Brightside is making their Community-Wide Cleanup an Official Kentucky Derby Festival event on Saturday, April 14, and will be recruiting volunteers to participate. Contact Brightside for more information.
  • Zombies at Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville. Derby of the Dead Presented by the Louisville Zombie Walk will take over the North Great Lawn on Friday, April 27 complete with live entertainment, zombie themed wares, zombie car show and a zombie make-up demonstration. Admission is free with a 2018 Pegasus Pin.
  • Another chance to ride Louisville’s steamboat. The Derby Festival is partnering with Trilogy to host the Steamboat Race Trial on Monday, April 30. The two hour cruise on the Belle of Louisville will be a relaxing way to start Derby Week, including brunch and live entertainment. Plus it’s a practice run for the Belle, as she prepares for the Great Steamboat Race later that week. Tickets $45. Purchase online at KDF.org or call (502) 584-FEST.
  • Kickball and flag football tournaments on the Great Lawn. LXC Sports will bring their Flag Football and Kickball Showdowns to Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville Derby Week and they’re looking for teams to participate. For more information, check out www.lxcsports.com.
  • A Derby Gala with a grand cause. Louisville Urban League’s Derby Gala is now an Official Kentucky Derby Festival Event. Themed Casino Royale, the 2nd annual Derby Gala will be held at the new OMNI hotel on Wednesday, May 2, Tickets: $250. Purchase online at www.lul.org/events/derby-gala or call (502) 585-4622.

The 2018 Kentucky Derby Festival officially kicks-off on Saturday, April 21, with the Opening Ceremonies – Thunder Over Louisville. Over the course of two weeks each year, the Festival attracts an estimated 1 million patrons to the city for its events. But, more than just fun and entertainment, the Festival also generates in excess of $127 million annually for the local economy. More information on all the events can be found at KDF.org.

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