2024 Kentucky Derby Festival, start time, date, schedule

The Kentucky Derby Festival always takes place two weeks before the Kentucky Derby “the most exciting two minutes in sports”. It is an annual event that has been going on for decades. The festival is the largest annual event in the state of Kentucky. This event was first held in 1935 and it went to 1937. There was a time when the event stopped but the annual festival began again in 1956 and has been held every year since that time. The festival has the largest annual firework display in North America. There are also races and the Pegasus Parade which is one of the largest in the United States and also Skateboard/Bicycle, Food, and Beer, Go to a Party.

When does the Kentucky Derby Festival 2024 kick off?

Kentucky Derby Festival 2024 kickoff the two weeks prior to Derby Day on May 4, 2024.

What time is the Kentucky Derby Festival 2024 start?

Kentucky Derby Festival starts at 6:00 pm ET on Saturday 27 April 2024.

What is going on with the 2024 Kentucky Derby Festival?

  • Thunder Over Louisville
  • Great Balloon Race
  • The Great Steamboat Race, featuring a run for the Belle of Louisville
  • The Pegasus Parade, one of the largest parades in the United States
  • The Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon and Marathon
  • The Basketball Classic
  • Suggestion: Pegasus Pin, Skateboard/Bicycle, Food, and Beer, Go to a Party

[Learn more: Kentucky derby start time]

This Kentucky Derby Festival Association began the festival which lasted a week in 1935. The festival included a parade and an orchestral concert, and a king and a queen were crowned. After flooding in 1937 the festival was not operated again until 1956 when all of the festival activities were developed.

The Royal Court

The Royal Court is one of the oldest traditions in the festival. The first court was held in the 1950s. A group of five young women is chosen to run the events. They are selected to represent the festival. The women are selected based on their knowledge of the festival, their presentation, intelligence, personality, and community involvement. The queen is selected by the spinning wheel at the Annual Fillies Derby Ball. The committee felt that this is a fair way to select the queen. The entire court will have access to all of the events that are at this festival.

Thunder Over Louisville

The Thunder Over Louisville is an event that is set to signify the beginning of the Kentucky Derby Festival. This event is an airshow and it is followed by the largest firework display in Louisville. This event is held around two weeks before Derby Day. If the Easter weekend happens to fall on the same day as the event, it is held a week earlier.

Please let us know, do you want to watch for the first time ever, the firework display at Thunder Over Louisville. If you want to watch Thunder Over Louisville live stream online connect with the three WAVE-TV, WDRB, and WLKY local TV networks.

The Thunder Over Louisville puts on the largest firework display in North America. This display began in 1989 and the fireworks are set off during the daytime hours. In 1990 this began the start of the fireworks at night too. The event begins in the afternoon and each year hundreds of thousands of people come to visit. The display of fireworks is done over the Ohio River. This event is one of the largest attractions in the city.

Derby Cruising

Derby Cruising is one of the controversial topics for this event. This is not licensed by the Derby Festival but is enjoyed by spectators. During this cruise motorcycles and cars will drive slowly down Broadway. While they are going down the street people will watch from the sidewalk. There is often a gridlock due to other events and it can be difficult to get by. There is a new traffic route that is being developed for this cruise as a compromise so that entire blocks do not need to be shut down. While the cruise blocks the roads fans enjoy it.

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