One of the Kentucky Derby Festival's oldest traditions, the original Great Steamboat Race took place in 1963 with a head-to-head battle between two historic vessels, the Belle of Louisville and the Delta Queen. Now scheduled annually for the Wednesday before Derby Day, this half a sixty-year old tradition has seen its fair share of participants. The 2023 race takes place on May 3 and will include Louisville’s Belle of Louisville, BB Riverboats Belle of Cincinnati, and a special guest, the American Countess. Since we love every reason to celebrate all things Derby, here’s a list of 5 ways you can enjoy this year’s Great Steamboat Race.
The race begins at 5:45pm at the 2nd Street Bridge, which is considered both the starting and finish line. All boats typically come racing back (at 10mph) around 8 pm, so be sure to be there for the photo finish. Also, don’t forget to bring a jacket because once the sun goes down, being on the river can get chilly! Let us know how you enjoy the Great Steamboat Race this year, and be sure to tag your photos with #LouisvilleLove.
You can find more events happening around town by visiting our event calendar.