KY Derby Festival Events

This post is from old………..but thanks for visiting our site.
 For our updated recommendations, see here
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Tune into our podcast with Aimee Boyd from the Kentucky Derby Festival and hear about it first hand!


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We have partnered with the Kentucky Derby Festival to make sure that you know everything there is to know about the abundance of fun that leads up to The Kentucky Derby on May 3rd at Churchill Downs.Follow Kentucky Derby Festival on Facebook and Twitter

What is a Pegasus Pin?  They are nifty little annual pins that you wear to gain admission to some of the events.  Events will list if they require a Pegasus Pin for admission.  You can find them at Kroger, that’s the easiest. They are sold individually or in family packs. Kids under the age of 6 do not need pins!

 photo pegasuspin_zps25fbdec4.jpgNew this year: Any Pegasus Pin is your chance to win one of 8 Weekly Grand Prizes. The prizes will be given away on Fridays beginning Friday, March 14 through Friday, May 2. Pegasus Pin purchasers also have a chance to win a gold pin. The odds of finding a gold winner pin are 1 in 12, with 20,000 of these pins in circulation. In addition to the Weekly Grand Prizes, the Gold Pin Winners are eligible for a chance to win a new Honda CRV, which will be given away on Friday, May 9. Inside each pin envelope are 3 coupons with discounts from local retailers. The envelope also includes the Pegasus Pin registration card. Consumers used the unique code on the card to register their pins online at or through the KDF App. All pins must be registered online to be eligible for the prize drawings.

On Monday, March 3, the pins will be available at more than 1000 retail outlets and participating financial institutions. Family Fun Packs of five pins will also be available at retail locations for $20.

LouFamFun's Kentucky Derby Festival album on Photobucket


McDonald’s Thunder Preview Party – one our favorite festival events! Read our past review here.  April 3rd at Bowman Field from 5-8pm.  Entry is a Thunder Funder Cup from McDonald’s (Kentuckiana locations) or a Pegasus pin.
Thunder Over Louisville – one of the largest annual fireworks displays in North America! April 12th on the Waterfront. Click here for information about the air show and fireworks!  The air show starts at 3pm and the fireworks are at 9:30pm.   You can find parking info here, special event rates.  This is a great day for families to spend the entire day downtown, claim a spot in the sunshine with some friends, bring snacks and food and watch the air show and then finish the night with fireworks.  Read our review from last year by one of our writers who went to Thunder and Thunderblast at the Kentucky Science Center.

  • Meijer Family Fun Zone at Thunder on the West Belvedere.  It open 11AM
    Admission is free with a 2014 Pegasus Pin. (NO TENTS, STAKES, TAPE OR PETS.) Coolers are permitted. Food/Beer for purchase are also available in the area
    Additional activities for families will be available between 3-8pmActivities include;
    Kids Zone featuring bounce houses, face painting and lawn games.
    Meijer’s Refuel Station – sampling snacks & cookies. Kentucky Beef Council sampling
    Special Meijer Promotions throughout the day

Children’s Tea with the Kentucky Derby Festival Princesses – April 13th at the Crowne Plaza from 1-4pm.  Tickets tend to sell out, reservations required. 502-299-0708

The Basketball Classic – April 18th at 7pm at Freedom Hall. This is the opportunity to see premier high school basketball talent. Tickets are on sale here.

Fest-A-Ville on the Waterfront – Starting April 24th from 11 AM – 11 PM at Waterfront Park through May 2nd. Concerts with national talent, family fun, food, kids’ inflatable playground, midway rides and more. Pegasus Play-Ville features a wide variety of activities for children, including an expanded midway and attractions such as an inflatable playground, rock-climbing wall and zip line. Helicopter rides return this year for $40. Admission is free with a 2014 Pegasus Pin. See the full detailed calendar here.
Also, April 27th is Family Day and the 28th is Discovery Day featuring educational and interactive activities for kids!

Great BalloonFest – April 24-26th  This consists of FIVE events.

  • U.S. Bank Great Balloon Crew Challenge  April 24 5pm | 5:00 pm | Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront
  • U.S. Bank Kentucky Derby Festival Great Balloon Glimmer
    April 24 | 8:30 pm | Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront
  • U.S. Bank Kentucky Derby Festival Great Balloon Rush-Hour RaceApril 25 | 7:00 am | Bowman Field
  • U.S. Bank Kentucky Derby Festival Great Balloon GlowApril 25 | Gates open at 6:00 pm | Kentucky Exposition Center$8 KEC parking fee
  • U.S. Bank Kentucky Derby Festival Great Balloon RaceApril 26 | 7:00 am | Bowman Field

miniFun Run – a new event! – Sunday April 27th at 1:00pm near Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront. Registration is $20 ($15 with an adult registration in the Marathon/mini Marathon). It’s for kids ages 3-14.It is a non-competitive fun run! Participants receive a runners bib, finishers medal and a 2014 Kentucky Derby Festival Family miniFun Run t-shirt. You can register the day of the event starting at 10:30am

The Louisville Youth Orchestra Concert is April 27th at 4pm at the Iroquois Ampitheatre and admission is a pegasus pin. Relax with your family in this lovely setting, bring a picnic and enjoy the music.

The Pegasus Parade Preview Party – April 29th Kentucky Exposition Center South wing.  Admission requires a Pegasus Pin (and don’t forget the $8 KEC parking fee) – a great way to get up close to the parade floats and get excited about the event!  Click here to read our past review.  Private Group Tours 9:00 am – 1:00 pm. Open to the Public 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm.  To schedule a private group tour call 502-572-3828.

The Great Steamboat Race – April 30th – 4:30pm, race starts at 6pm.  The Belle of Cincinnati and The Belle of Louisville compete on the Ohio River! You can ride the boats for a ticketed fee or you can find a spot on the river to watch the race!

The Pegasus Parade – May 1st at 5pm along Broadway from Campbell to 9th in downtown Louisville.  A wonderful parade celebrating our city and the Kentucky Derby.  You can get tickets for seats or bleacher seats but you can also find a spot along the parade route at no cost.  Here’s our review so you can learn more about the experience. My tips: Go early, park on the east side of the route near the start,  take a friend to sit with in case you need to take someone to the bathroom – leaves an adult at your spot at all times. I recommend getting a spot east of 3rd street. You get to see it first and leave first. I get there early and easily get a parking spot in the JCTC parking lot (between 1st and 2nd at Broadway). I also get out really easy via 2nd.
These contests are over……….

Want to win 4 reserved seats to the Pegasus Parade 5/1? Simply send ONE email to and put “PARADE” in the subject and your mailing address in the body of the email. Do so by Sunday 4/27 at 5pm. We will randomly select a winner and mail the tickets to you on Monday! Contest is over, winner has been notified

Want to win 4 tickets to the Basketball Classic 4/18? Simply send ONE email to and put “CLASSIC” in the subject and your mailing address in the body of the email. Do so by Tuesday 4/15 noon. We will randomly select a winner and mail the tickets Tuesday afternoon! Winner has been notified.

Want to win a family fun pack of Pegasus Pins?
Simply send ONE email to and put “FUN PACK” in the subject and your mailing address in the body of the email. Do so by Sunday 4/13 at midnight. We will randomly select a winner and mail the pins to the winners next week.  4 winners!  Winners have been notified!


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