5 Kentucky Derby Festival events not to miss


The best Kentucky Derby Festival events for families

KDF is such an amazing opportunities to get out together and enjoy our city. Sometimes, it can seem like such an undertaking to figure out which events are the best for kids and families. Here are some suggestions of events we know and love! 

Kentucky Derby Festival events 2024 are getting back to the traditional events of the past. Here are some updates! 
Kentucky Derby Festival has created a special “Thunder at Home” section at ThunderOverLouisville.org which includes tips for planning a Thunder party at home, Thunder inspired cocktail and food recipes, coloring pages, Zoom backgrounds and more! This is fun any year for families who like to celebrate events with parties at home. 
1. 2024 Thunder Over Louisville 
April 20 air show and fireworks. 
  • The 2024 Thunder Air Show will celebrate the 77th anniversary of the United States Air Force with a packed line-up of military and civilian aircraft. Scheduled performances include:
  • Air Force Viper Demo and Heritage Flight
  • Air Force C-17 Demo (with an aerial refueling demonstration)
  • Navy Growler with Legacy Flight
  • U.S. Air Force Wings of Blue
  • Matt Younkin’s “Magic by Moonlight” performance
  • Vintage Champion Air Racer “Mr Mulligan”
  • Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer Demo
  • Numerous aerobatic routines and unique custom aircraft in formation and upon the water
  • Appearances by international partners like the Canadian CF-18s and German A400 “Grizzly”
  • Spectators will witness fly bys from the B-52, a flight of Kentucky Air National Guard C-130s, and numerous rotary aircraft, including a helicopter infiltration and extraction demo accomplished by the Kentucky Army National Guard and the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron.
  • Thunder’s fireworks show is choreographed to an original soundtrack each year. Zambelli Fireworks will design the show again in 2022. On Thunder Day the FoodFest and Ford’s Thunder On the Ground open at 11:00 AM, the air show starts at 3:00 PM, and fireworks roll at 9:30 PM.

Kentucky Derby Festival events 2021

2. Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville BACK FOR 2024!

April 25-May 3 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM: Daily Hours, Sundays 12:00 PM – 10:00 PM: Sunday Hours.

Entry is free with a Pegasus Pin. This is a family-friendly area with tickets rides, food, and drinks.

Pegasus PlayVille, sponsored by Norton Children’s, features a variety of kid-friendly activities, including Charlie Chopper, Rainbow Rock, Fun Slide, Lil Wheel and more. 

There are a variety of free concerts- many of the acts are family friendly. Dance the night away while enjoying the waterfront. A fantastic concert lineup. 

Kentucky Derby Festival events 2021

BONUS for Kentucky Derby Festival events 2024! Instead, go to Churchill Downs and watch the horses workout in the morning. It’s free. A lot of families typically do this Derby week for Dawn at the Downs, they still have this. But, they also have the track open for visitors daily now and you can bring in breakfast some days. Click here for info. 

3. Caesar’s Foundation FamFestApril 5, 2024, 4-8pm.

This new-ish event is taking place in New Albany as a special preview of the festival. Details to come. It’s great they are able to do this as part of the Kentucky Derby Festival events 2024. Enjoy FREE indoor and outdoor activities with the entire family including:Inflatable obstacle course, Face Painting, Live Music, Food Trucks and more. 

First 1,000 attendees receive a custom Event Pin.


4. Republic Bank Pegasus® Parade– April 28 starting at 3pm down Broadway. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Derby 150.”


Kentucky Derby Festival events 2021

Along the route, you will see 4 Inflatable balloon characters: Zoeller Pump Company (Goldie Pegasus), Caesar, Gobo, and Daniel the Tiger

Festival VIPs: The 2024 Royal Court riding the Derby City Express.

Specialty Units: Kosair Shriner’s Calliope, TARC Design-A-Bus showcasing local student artwork, on route music provided by Zoeller Pump Company and the KDF Spirit Squad will be onsite at the noon start, as well as a few stops along the route!

5. Great Balloon Glow

April 26 at 9pm at Waterfront Park (At Fest-a-Ville). See the balloon up close either at the Glow or for the race – the Great Balloon race is April 27 at 7am. For the race, the balloons launch from Bowman Field. The kids are always memorized with them. Be sure to check the weather and news because these events can get canceled due to certain weather conditions.

For more SPRING FUN ideas from LouFamFun, click here
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