Louisville may be soggy from all the rain, but nothing stops the Derby. As we move in the last two weeks before the big event on May 7, the horses are practicing on a drenched Churchill Downs and other festivities are proceeding on schedule.
If you have lived in Louisville a while, you know that many Derby events are held inside and have little to do with the race itself, but aim to promote congeniality. Case in point? The 12 Days of Derby at The Bard's Town has nearly two weeks of music and comedy, topped with a special drink each night. The event starts out with a comedy contest, bourbon, and cigars, moves on to more nights of entertainment with Jack Daniels, rum, gin, Bloody Mary's, etc - all culminating in mint juleps on Derby night. Nothing repeats but the fun.
Starting April 28 and running through May 6 Fest-a-ville on the Waterfront will offer an exciting lineup of concerts, a kids' inflatable playground and corn toss, lots of food, and special events like movie night, Bourbon Country, WineFest, the Volleyball Classic ,and of course, the U.S. Bank Great Balloon Glimmer. Weather permitting, the balloon send off that day will kick off a weekend of balloon events and the Fest-a-ville itself. Although the 28th is supposed to be windy, we are expecting a few days' reprieve from the rain from Thursday though Sunday, when there is a 50% chance of scattered thunderstorms. This should make for a few good days of balloon events, food, and Louisville-style fun.
No Louisville event is complete without food, so the Mega-Chow Wagon will provide an array of American, Greek, Italian, and Mexican food including BBQ pulled pork, brisket with Derby sauce, ribeye sandwiches, gyros, kabobs, Italian meatball subs, fajitas.etc. You can finish off the meal with funnel cakes, ice cream, fried candy bars, or strawberry shortcake and wash it all down with soda, beer, or frozen drinks.
Not surprisingly, Kentucky bourbon will take center stage at the event, with different distilleries featured over the course of the event and drink specials available from 4-6 each day in a barrel-shaped tent open from 3 pm through closing. The line up is
On Saturday, April 30, before Fest-a-ville starts for the day, over 13,000 runners will complete a 13.1 mile mini marathon, while over 2,000 will run the full course of 26.2 miles. Now in its 10th year, the race course will wind through two city parks designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, historic Churchill Downs, Louisville's newly designed Waterfront, the Extreme Skate Park and several eclectic neighborhoods. The race is considered one of the top 50 races by USA Track and Field and serves good course. Every year, Louisville charity benefit from sponsorships. While it is too late to sign up to run, spectators are welcome
It's hard to dampen Louisville spirit, so all the exciting Derby events will be held, rain or shine. Come out and enjoy a good time in the weeks before the big event.