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The Spirit of Derby Festival

The Spirit of Derby Festival

How Louisville will be celebrating this year (and you can too)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 18, 2021) – With the Kentucky Derby scheduled to run on its time-honored first Saturday in May at reduced capacity and several of the traditional events of the Kentucky Derby Festival reworked, the city of Louisville is celebrating its famous “two minutes” in sports for the entire month of April in new ways that visitors can also enjoy.

Familiar Kentucky Derby Festival events will have some new twists this year but will continue to keep the Derby Festival Spirit alive as the city counts down to the 147th
Run for the Roses.

Mint Julep Month, April

The Mint Julep is a fine Southern tradition dating back to the 18th Century, as well as the official drink of the Kentucky Derby since 1938. Since 2013, Louisville has designated April as "Mint Julep Month®" celebrating the famous Bourbon cocktail along with the arrival of Spring in Kentucky. Typically, 120,000 mint juleps are served over the two-day period of Kentucky Oaks and Derby at Churchill Downs.

The community-at-large is invited to participate in Mint Julep Month® by photographing and posting Mint Julep beverages to social media using the hashtag #MintJulepMonth with the opportunity to be featured on Louisville Tourism’s social media. Follow along at @GoToLouisville on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Touring Pegasus Parade, April 10 and 11


The annual tradition that started the entire festival in 1956 will continue with a touring version. The touring Pegasus Parade, themed “A Tribute to the Community,” will feature nearly 20 units, including some colorful inflatables, mascots and Festival VIPS, like the 2021 Royal Court. It will travel over 60 miles through more than 35 neighborhoods around Louisville in the afternoon on both days.

Pegasus Porch Parade


The Festival is also calling on residents to decorate their porches, yards and homes in honor of this year’s Derby Festival season and post photos on social media using the hashtag #PegasusPorchParade or #DerbyFestivalSpirit, as part of this year’s festivities.

Derby Festival mini & marathon races, April 22-25 and April 24

The miniMarathon will take place over four days, from April 22-25, while the Marathon will take place on April 24. The Derby Festival is offering a virtual and an in-person (socially distanced) race option. The in-person race will start and finish at Lynn Family Stadium, home of Louisville City FC and Racing Louisville FC. Participants will run a looped course including the Big Four Bridge, Ohio River Greenway and parts of the Louisville Loop.

As the countdown continues to May 1, there are many ways to get in the Derby spirit, from shopping for over-sized ornate hats or brightly colored pinstripe suits to indulging in the famous Derby-Pie® and visiting the Kentucky Derby Museum, which offers tours of Churchill Downs and a newly expanded exhibit featuring Black Jockeys in horse racing. Additional events and exhibits will be posted at www.gotolouisville.com/spiritofderbyfestival

For information on planning an itinerary around these events or to plan your Kentucky Derby experience, travelers can get attraction, lodging and dining assistance at www.gotolouisville.com including the state’s covid-mitigation guidelines. Additional Kentucky Derby Festival event information can be found at www.kdf.org.

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Rosanne Mastin

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