For Louisville residents and local businesses like us, it’s the most wonderful time of the year! That might sound like a Christmas song sung by Andy Williams, but we’re actually talking about Derby season in the Ville! Some great things have happened the past week, and much is still to come! We want to share some of our favorite Kentucky Derby Festival events. If you’re trying to decide what to do around Louisville this week, maybe this will help.
Recent Derby Highlights
Thunder Over Louisville, though rainier than last year, was still a huge success as the largest annual fireworks show in North America. There’s something about an array of bright lights and different colors, then the expected boom that resounds deep within your chest. We just love it! It officially rings in the Derby season. This past Tuesday, Taste of Derby Festival showcased over 65 restaurants and beverage companies from Louisville. That’s one of the greatest parts about this party and why there’s a huge turnout every year. It’s a beautiful night of all the finer things from the best talent you can find in Louisville.
Exciting Derby Events Ahead
Yesterday, the BalloonFest began with the Great Balloon Charity Race in the early morning and the Great Balloon Glimmer last night. Tonight, the Great Balloon Glow begins at 9:00 pm at Kentucky Exposition Center. Gates open at 6:00 pm. All you need is a Pegasus Pin to attend. There is an $8 parking fee if you park at the Expo Center. To cap of this unique event of hot air balloons, the Great Balloon Race takes place Saturday, April 29th at 7 am at Bowman Field. Go here for more info on these BalloonFest events.
If lifting off into the great big blue is not your style, maybe you’re planning to sprint from the starting point of the Kentucky Derby Marathon and Mini-Marathon also on Saturday morning. Or maybe you’re content to just watch. Either way, this race is so exciting. We’re proud of all the runners who’ve been preparing for this day. Running that distance is not easy for even the most experienced runner. If you plan to be one of the spectators, it’s such a cool moment to watch a runner cross that finish line. It’s your job to cheer for them –loudly! It makes a huge difference. Here’s more information on these races.
Fest-a-Ville is going on all this week offering something fun for all. There are free concerts each night and the daily chow wagon nearby for any guilty pleasure food you want. We personally love the red velvet funnel cake. What about you? There are also midway rides and inflatable playgrounds, if you want to bring the whole family. A pegasus pin is all you need to enjoy these activities, too. There are many more activities, big and small, in the Fest-a-Ville venue. Check it here for every detail. And don’t forget about the Pegasus parade on Thursday, May 4th at 5 pm. It’s on Broadway heading West, starting at Campbell St. and ending at 9th Street.
Kentucky Horses and Kentucky Businesses
Of course, all of this pomp and partying is preparing us for the big races – the Kentucky Oaks and the Kentucky Derby. We personally know several people attending one or both. But we love learning more about behind the scenes, especially the horses. We’ve had the privilege of working with organizations whose heartbeat is horses. One of our customer’s, Gainesway Farm, is known for their thoroughbred and Derby champions. They are also known for their passion for conservation and horticulture. If you want an inside look at a farm quintessential to Kentucky or the daily life of these beautiful horses, you’ll enjoy checking out Gainesway Farm.
Our other horse farm partners who are busy this week are Claiborne Farms (you really need to take the tour there sometime!) and Godolphin. Godolphin is a global breeding and horse racing team who has a horse in the Derby this year– Thunder Snow. We wish him well in the race next week!
We have a few other partners still to mention. AAEP (American Association of Equine Practitioners) is focused on the health and well being of Kentucky’s horses. Our customers, Green Hill Therapy, do amazing work providing hippotherapy, or therapy on horseback, for children. Check out their horse heroes– precious animals who’ve improved the lives of many families and continue to do so. Also here’s a blog post about them. This is an important time of year for many of these organizations. We love working with them and supporting them.
If you plan to attend Oaks or Derby –or any party that celebrates these events – we encourage you to wear your best, most exciting fashion and take lots of pictures. We have a lot to celebrate. Local businesses sponsor a lot of the events we’ve mentioned or they plan to participate in full. We’ve taken our team to the races in years past. We think that’s how it should be. Not only does it promote your business to be present at these cultural events, but even more importantly, a business should invest in it’s own community. We love being active in Louisville. We’re certainly proud to be a local business from the place that’s home to the Kentucky Derby.