April 19, 2019. Louisville, KY. – The BB&T Kentucky Derby Festival Great BalloonFest returns next week with four hot-air balloon events over the course of three days. It lifts off on Thursday, April 25, and runs through Saturday, April 27.
The balloon festivities kick-off on Thursday, April 25, at 8:30 p.m, 21 balloons will participate in the BB&T Great Balloon Glimmer on the North and South Great Lawn, of Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville. The Glimmer will be preceded by live music with A-Corde at 7 p.m. on the Great Stage.
BalloonFest resumes the following morning (Friday, April 26) with the BB&T Great Balloon Rush-Hour Race launching at 7 a.m. from Bowman Field. The Rush-Hour race offers a beautiful view for those sitting in traffic on their way to work. 25 balloons will participate in the Friday morning race, which is a Hare & Hound Race. This type of race is when all the balloons launch from the same site. One balloon takes off first and is the Hare balloon. The other balloons are called the Hounds, and they will launch at a predetermined time after the Hare. The “Hound” balloons will try to drop a bag of bluegrass seed closest to the target for the win.
The fun doesn’t stop there, at 9 p.m. Friday night, the BB&T Great Balloon Glow returns to the Kentucky Exposition Center with 26 balloons participating, include two new special shape balloons. Glow spectators are encouraged to come out early (gates open at 6 p.m.) and make an evening out of it. At 9 p.m., the balloon pilots will fire their burners, making the balloons glow against the night sky synchronized to a musical score provided by 106.9 PLAY. The event will also be broadcast live on WLKY on MeTV Louisville 32.2.
On Saturday, April 27, BalloonFest will wrap up with its inaugural event, the BB&T Great Balloon Race, which launches at 7 a.m. from Bowman Field. A field of 25 balloons will take flight from Bowman Field in the oldest portion of the BalloonFest.
Since the first Great Balloon Race was held in 1973, the Derby Festival’s balloon events have been considered among the best in the country by pilots from all around the world. BalloonFest attractions are annually among the most popular family-friendly events on the Derby Festival schedule.
The Kentucky Derby Festival Great BalloonFest is sponsored by BB&T with Contributing Sponsor Amazon. Official Charity Partner is Kosair Charities. Q103.1 is the Media Sponsor of the Balloon Glimmer. 102.3 Jack FM is Media Sponsor of the Rush Hour Race and Great Balloon Race. 106.9 PLAY is Media Sponsor of the Great Balloon Glow. WLKY TV is the TV broadcast partner for the Glow.
The Derby Festival is an independent community organization supported by 4,000 volunteers, 400 businesses and civic groups, Pegasus Pin sponsorships and event participation. It entertains more than 1.5 million people annually. This involvement has made the Festival the largest single attended event in Kentucky and one of the leading community celebrations in the world.