Block Party Presented by Churchill Downs & Humana

The Kentucky Derby Festival is hosting a Block Party this year and inviting everyone to attend the inaugural celebration!

This free event, debuting with the support of Churchill Downs and Humana and the Derby Festival’s Derby Equity Community Initiative (DECI), will be held on Saturday, April 16 at the Norton Healthcare Sports & Learning Center.

Block Party is slated to become an annual tradition and will shine the spotlight on talent and resources throughout Louisville, specifically minority-owned businesses in West Louisville. Guests can enjoy cuisine from local food trucks, live entertainment, a shopping marketplace, wellness activations, a vendor fair, programming and more. The day-long FREE event will last from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“The Kentucky Derby Festival’s mission has always been to bring our community together in celebration,” said Matt Gibson, Kentucky Derby Festival President & CEO. “We look forward to returning to in-person events and are thrilled to add the new Block Party to our line-up. This event will showcase even more of what our great city has to offer. We hope everyone will join us as we create a new Derby Festival tradition.”

From food and shopping to entertainment and health and wellness, Block Party highlights include:

  • Around a dozen local food trucks will be on hand serving up a variety of cuisine, including smoked barbecue, jerk chicken tacos, soul food and more. (No outside food or drinks can be brought in.)
  • MELANnaire Marketplace – Featuring nearly 40 vendors and merchants highlighting Black entrepreneurs, this local shopping marketplace is a one-stop shop for spring fashions, Derby attire, hats, accessories, gourmet food, and more.
  • Live entertainment will take place on multiple stages throughout the day showcasing a variety of music genres. The complete line-up will be posted on KDF.org closer to the event.
  • Health and wellness venues will be onsite offering services, including a tent that will be set up for COVID-19 vaccinations.
  • Children’s activities include inflatables, face painting and an Easter Egg Hunt.

Over a dozen non-profit organizations, all who have been making a positive impact with their various initiatives to meet the basic human needs of residents of the West Louisville community, will also be at Block Party as part of a non-profit fair to showcase their services including:

  • 3003 Project
  • Arts and Activism
  • Black Market Kentucky
  • Boss Not Bangers
  • Change Today, Change Tomorrow
  • Chalk it Up LLC
  • Coleman Prep Academy
  • Decode Project
  • Men Against Gun Violence
  • Men on the Move
  • OSHN (Office of Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods)
  • Robert Jamison Ministries
  • Safe Place
  • Sowing Seeds with Faith
  • The Hope Buss, Inc
  • The Sparrow House
  • Think First Incorporated
  • Tip It Forward
  • West Louisville Math and Science Project

Try a variety of local foods: (No outside food or drinks can be brought in.)

  • Big Al’s Smoked BBQ 
  • BRAINFREEZE: Cones For A Cause! 
  • Chicago Jerk Chicken Tacos 
  • Dino’s Cfood & More 
  • Garden Girl Foods 
  • Gore’s Smokeout 
  • Happy Belly Bistro 
  • HB’s Soulfood Creations 
  • Kickin Flava 
  • Kristel’s Keto Kitchen 
  • Snow Queen 

Admission to Block Party is FREE.

The DECI, which launched in spring 2021 and is a multi-year initiative, is a combined effort to incorporate equitable programming into the Derby season with the intention of directing economic impact and ensuring that the entire community feels a part of the Derby season and the celebrations that surround it. One of the main pillars of DECI is to CREATE new and culturally celebratory experiences, like Block Party, for the community. More details on DECI can be found online at KDF.org/DECI.

In addition to partnerships with Churchill Downs and Humana, the Kentucky Derby Festival also sought input from several members of the community, who played an instrumental role in the creation of the Block Party.