Top 10 Tips for the Kentucky Derby Festival in Louisville, KY


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The Kentucky Derby Festival is an amazing two week celebration leading up to the Kentucky Derby. It’s a fun time for families and the events are very affordable. Here are our tips to help you have a great time!

The most popular FAQ qet receive is, how old does a child have to be to need a Pegasus Pin? The answer is: 6 years old. Children ages 5 and under do not need Pegasus Pins. 

1) Download the Kentucky Derby Festival App: You can find out all kinds of information on this app such as maps, start times, event dates, and you can buy tickets to events. I have used this app several time already this year. You can click the links below to download.

2) Have a plan: Phones might not work. With some events having 100,000+ people cell towers get overloaded. You might not be able to call or text out or receive calls or texts. Have a meeting spot picked out and have a lost child plan. Many of the bigger events will have a “lost child” area where kids can go, be safe, and wait for mom and/or dad to come get them.

3) Label your child:  Have some sort of identification on your child with your contact information on it as well as someone’s info (whom you trust) who is not attending the event (remember: your phone might not be working). If you are looking for a good option that is great for kids and can be reused I would go with a slim band from Road I.D. They are affordable, colorful and kids like them.

4) Pick the events you want to do: With over 30 free Kentucky Derby Festival (with Pegasus pin for adults and kids 6 and over, kid under age 6 …… no pin needed) it can get overwhelming. Look at the app and see what is offered each day of the week. Ask your kids what they think sounds fun and go from there. For a list of events you can go to click here.

5) Pegasus Pins are a must: Make sure you have your Pegasus Pin on and visible, or $5 cash per person 6 and over to get one at the event. All the “free” event require that you have a pin. The good news is that your pin is good for all the free events, you do not need a new one each time. You can also register each pin for a prize by going to They are giving away prizes each week of the Derby Festival and they are all pretty nice.

6) Do something NEW:  Pick an event that your family has not done before. A few years ago I went the Bed Races and had a blast. It was an event that I would have never gone to before but a friend wanted to check it out. It turned out to be so much fun.

7) Plan for all kinds of weather:  We are talking spring in Kentucky where it can be 85 and sunny at noon and 40 and raining by 8pm. Dress in layers, take a few rain ponchos and have jackets. Remember if you are going to an event on the river it might be a few degrees different than home and it is almost always windy.

8) Take cash:  Unless you want to pay high ATM fees. At most events it is cash only. Taking cash will also help you stay on a budget. Decide on how much you want to spend and only take that much cash. It is easy to get caught up buying trinkets, souvenirs and other stuff when you don’t have a budget in mind.

9) Splurge on an event:  I know I just talked budgets BUT it is worth picking one event that you can buy tickets to and get good seats. You can get Pegasus Parade bleacher seat tickets, go to The Great Boat Race party at the Water Tower, and a whole lot of other things. I would not do this for all events, but pick one or two that you can afford and really enjoy a Derby Festival event.

10) Enjoy it!
Put your phone away and have fun at the Derby Festival events. Enjoy being with your family, taking in the most wonderful time of the year in Louisville, see the kids’ faces as a balloon lights up, a bed flies by, or a Derby Princess waves to them. I promise it will all be worth the smile on their face to miss that email.

By guest contributor: Christine


Be sure to check out our Spring Fun page for more ideas.

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