Five Ways To Enjoy The Great Steamboat Race : GoToLouisville.com Official Travel Source





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Five Ways To Enjoy The Great Steamboat Race

Beginning in 1963 with a head to head battle between two historic vessels, the Belle of Louisville and the Delta Queen, the Great Steamboat Race is one of the Kentucky Derby’s oldest festival traditions. Scheduled annually for the Wednesday before Derby day, this half a century-old tradition has seen its fair share of participants. This year’s race will include Louisville’s Belle of Louisville, BB Riverboats Belle of Cincinnati, and for the first time, the American Duchess. 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.

  1. Take it to the Waterfront
    • Grab some friends, a bucket of KFC and some refreshing beverages and pop a squat along the river to enjoy a picnic style afternoon of boat racing. We suggest the Big Four Lawn or Cox’s Park as fun, free viewing areas.
  2. Stroll the Big Four Bridge
    • Recently opened to the public in 2013, the Big Four Bridge is a great place to get a birds eye view of the action. It’s near the races start and finish line, so you’ll have time to grab some grub in Southern Indiana in the down time. Be sure to wear walking shoes, the span of the bridge is close to a mile from start to finish.
  3. KDF BeerFest
    • Returning to Kroger’s Fest-A-Ville at Waterfront Park, BeerFest lets you enjoy the race while sampling both regional and national craft beers. Tickets for the event are $45 each and include tastings, a souvenir sampling glass and a BeerFest pin. BeerFest will be open from 6 PM to 9 PM on race day. Find a list of breweries or purchase tickets here.
  4. Ride a Riverboat
    • While it may not be feasible every year, riding the Belle of Louisville during the Great Steamboat Race is something to definitely put on your Derby bucket list. Guests dress in Derby-wear for this 2-hour event, which includes fancy hors d’oeuvres and an open bar, aboard a century old historic landmark. Tickets start at $130 on the Belle of Louisville, but the Belle of Cincinnati and Mary M. Miller also have ticket options available.
  5. Take Cover Indoors
    • Worried about the weather? There are limited, but good options to catch the race while dining indoors. RIVUE at the Galt House, River House at the Levee, Joe’s Crab Shack and King Fish on the River are all places to catch a glimpse of the slowest two hours in sports.

The race begins at 6pm at the 2nd Street Bridge which is considered both the start and the finish line. All boats typically come racing back (at 10mph) around 8pm, so 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. Be sure to tag your photos with #LouisvilleLove.

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