Kentucky Derby Festival Back in Full Swing this Spring
Events will span several weeks from mid-March through Derby week and include signature favorites such as Thunder Over Louisville, the Great Steamboat Race and the Pegasus Parade.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (February 3, 2022) – The Kentucky Derby Festival plans to come out of the gate strong this spring with a return to live and in-person events after having to limit spectators in 2021 and a slew of cancellations in 2020.
The Festival, known for producing more than 70 events leading up to the first Saturday in May, has released dates for its upcoming season with a few updates to the conventional schedule. Events will span several weeks from mid-March through Derby week and include signature favorites such as Thunder Over Louisville (returning to the banks of the Ohio), Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront, the Great BalloonFest, the Great Steamboat Race and the Pegasus Parade.
The Festival’s event schedule has been extended through the month of April, which will help with overall production timelines and improve accessibility for Festival fans. Events like the Tour de Lou, $1 Million Hole-in-One Golf Contest and the renowned Pegasus Parade are moving to new dates for 2022.
The annual Pegasus Parade is the founding event of the Kentucky Derby Festival and for the first time will take place on a Sunday instead of parading on the traditional Thursday. This year’s parade will kick off Derby Week Sunday, May 1 with a customary march down Broadway in downtown Louisville. The first parade, produced in 1956, was created as a way for the community to celebrate before the Derby horse race and has become one of the Festival’s largest events. A Touring Parade – a smaller traveling display that takes the Festival into the community – will return in 2022 after its debut last year and will help kick start the Festival celebrations around the city on Saturday, April 2.
Other dates for Festival events include:
BourbonVille – April 14
$1 Million Hole-in-One Golf Contest – April 14-24
Tour de Lou – April 16
They’re Off! Luncheon – April 22
Thunder Over Louisville – April 23
Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront – April 28-May 6
Great BalloonFest – April 29-30
miniMarathon & Marathon – April 30
Pegasus Parade – May 1
Great Bed Races – May 2
WineFest – May 3
Great Steamboat Race – May 4
Festival Day at the Downs – May 5
Derby Eve Jam – May 6
For tickets and more information about all Kentucky Derby Festival events visit www.kdf.org.
The events of the Derby Festival lead up to the running of the legendary Kentucky Derby at historic Churchill Downs. General admission tickets can still be purchased at www.kyderby.com. In addition, live racing begins on Opening Night (April 30) and continues with the spring meet through July 4. The weeks before and after the Kentucky Derby can still garner visitors a “Derby experience” with a visit to the Kentucky Derby Museum for a Mint Julep and a slice of Derby-Pie®.
Visitors traveling to Louisville this spring will have an opportunity to celebrate Mint Julep Month throughout April as well as experience several other large-scale events including Wild Lights at the Louisville Zoo, the Cherokee Triangle Arts Fair, and Kentucky Shakespeare Festival or take in Memorial Day weekend’s Forecastle Festival and Abbey Road on the River, the world’s largest Beatles and classic rock music festival.
Planning a trip to Louisville? Guests can use Louisville Tourism’s annual Visitor Guide to help plan an itinerary around Louisville’s top experiences. Travelers also can get attraction, lodging and dining assistance at www.gotolouisville.com along with information on the state’s current covid-mitigation guidelines.