Kentucky Derby Festival For Families

The Kentucky Derby Festival is the largest single event in Kentucky. This family event has been going strong since 1956 and has grown into a month long celebration, culminating in the legendary Kentucky Derby. If you’re planning on attending, book tickets, hotels, & travel arrangements early - this is one event all of Kentucky (and visitors from across the country) turn up for. Here are some highlights of the Kentucky Derby Festival that you won’t want to miss:


Thunder Over Louisville

April 22:

Thunder Over Louisville is the annual kickoff event for the Kentucky Derby Festival. Combining an airshow with the largest annual fireworks display in North America, it’s truly a spectacular event to behold. Over half a million people attend yearly to see the lights and sounds - all set to themed background music. If you’re in town, you cant miss this!



Great Balloon Glimmer, Glow, & Race

April 27 - 29:

Comprised of five balloon events, the Great balloon Glimmer, Glow, & Race treat KDF attendees to a massive show of hot air balloon flight. Come see the colorful balloons light up the sky - especially extraordinary at night!


Fest-a-Ville

April 27 - May 5:

Fest-a-Ville is a waterfront jam concert series and family fun festival within the Kentucky Derby Festival. With national talent performing across a variety of genres, food trucks, and a full range of activities for children, Fest-a-Ville is a highlight of the KDF!



Chow Wagon

April 27 - May 5:

The Chow Wagon is a festival within a festival along the riverfront. With daily musical guests and food trucks, Chow Wagon is a great place to grab lunch or spend the evening. It’s a big outdoor party and you don’t want to miss it!


Ken-Ducky Derby

April 29:

Every year, 30,000 rubber duckies drop into the Ohio River for the great Ken-Ducky Derby Duck Race! Sponsor a duck at the link above and come cheer it to victory! The stakes are big: winner takes home a brand new truck and cash prizes for second and third place! Every contestant even has the opportunity to win $1,000,000! All proceeds benefit our local Harbor House charity.



Children’s Tea With Kentucky Derby Festival Princesses

April 30:

You’re official invited to join the KDF Princesses for tea! Come dressed as your favorite prince or princess - this tradition is a yearly favorite for the kids and a special part of the Kentucky Derby Festival!


Great Bed Races

May 1:

The Great Bed Races kicks off with a tailgate, followed by a parade, culminating in the great race! Participants create their own racers out of bed frames and posts and compete for a variety of categories - cheered on by thousands of fellow Kentuckians.



Pegasus Parade

May 4:

The annual Pegasus Parade features some of the finest marching bands and equestrian units in the nation. This family friendly event has featured celebrities from Muhammad Ali to John Wayne and Loretta Lynn. It’s the Kentucky Derby Festival’s oldest event, and one of the largest parades in the country!


Cinco de Mayo Fiesta

May 7:

Cinco de Mayo Fiesta is a free fiesta for everyone! Come enjoy mariachis, face painting, balloons, and dance performances by some of the area’s best Latino salsa groups!

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17 Apr 2017


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