People from all over the world travel to Louisville, Kentucky each year to take part in the Derby Festival and experience the legendary Run for the Roses on the first Saturday in May. With more than 70 events ranging from one of the country’s largest half-marathons to the Pegasus Parade to an old-fashioned steamboat race, the Kentucky Derby Festival® offers a wide spectrum of activities for both local residents and visitors. Annual attendance of events has exceeded 1.5 million in recent years. The festival is also a mirror of the community – events are attended by people representing all age, educational, geographic and income groups.
Two weeks before the Derby, the festival’s opening ceremonies kick off with Thunder Over Louisville – the largest annual fireworks show in North America. The massive pyrotechnic spectacular and air show on the Ohio River can be seen for miles, attracting 500,000 spectators to the Kentucky and Indiana shorelines. Thunder Over Louisville sets the stage for a whirlwind of eagerly awaited festival events that not only provide a huge economic impact on the community, but help define the city’s character and traditions.