♥ Kentucky Derby Festival ♥

Ahhh, the Kentucky Derby! It is a rite of Spring for Louisville. Known throughout the world, the Derby is more than just a day at the races. For the (typically) two weeks between Thunder Over Louisville and the Kentucky Derby, Louisville is abuzz with outdoor festivals, traditions, and live music. Here, I will touch on a few of the events that I did not make it to this year. I'll talk more about the events I did make it to in future blog entries.

Among the events of the Kentucky Derby Festival is the Great Balloon Fest. This consists of three separate events and takes place the weekend before the Derby. The Great Balloon Glimmer occurs on Thursday evening. It serves as the kick-off to Fest-a-ville on the Waterfront and the Chow Wagon (which I will explain in a future blog entry). Balloons light up against the evening sky as locals and visitors drink and eat to their hearts' content! The Balloon Rush Hour Race and Glow are on the Friday before Derby weekend. The race is very early in the morning, but it exciting to see the balloons take off and race to the finish line. You never know where the wind will blow them! The Glow is later that night and features the balloons lighting up to music. On the Saturday before Derby, the official Great Balloon Race occurs. Again, it is early in the morning, but quite the sight to see dozens of balloons across the sky! (Photo from Wikipedia)

Another Derby Festival tradition is the Great Steamboat Race. Unfortunately, this year, the race had to be postponed until late June because of the flooding and high water levels on the Ohio. This is a 14 mile race between at least two Steamboats, beginning and ending at the Second Street Bridge. I hope to be able to see it in June! (Photos from Wikipedia)

One other big event is the Bed Races. It was held at the new KFC Yum! Center this year. I didn't go, but I did watch it on TV! Haha! My friend, Rob, was there and he got this hilarious photo... (I hope you don't mind me using your photo, Rob!! :-)
It's pretty self-explanatory, but basically, the races consist of teams (some with crazy names and costumes) racing homemade bed-cars. There are four pushers and one driver. Needless to say, it is pretty hilarious and gets really competitive! There were a couple of spills on the slick floor, but I'm sure it was fun to be there watching it all happen!

Of course, there are many other events in the Derby Festival. It is essentially an excuse to party for two weeks! No one around here complains about it too much, though! :-)

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