02/28/2024 – DERBY FESTIVAL CELEBRATES 35 YEARS OF THUNDER OVER LOUISVILLE

FIVE PRESENTING SPONSORS RETURN TO SUPPORT EVENT

February 28, 2024. Louisville, KY. – In 51 days, one of the country’s top fireworks displays and air shows – Thunder Over Louisville – will light up the Louisville skyline. The daylong event is set for Saturday, April 20th on the Waterfront. Festival officials released details about the show this morning, including unveiling the 2024 theme – “Celebrating Derby 150”. Caesars Southern Indiana, Humana, LG&E, Meijer and UPS return again this year as Presenting Sponsors.

This year’s theme is inspired by the running of the 150th Kentucky Derby this spring and celebrating this historic milestone in our city. It commemorates the entire Derby season from Thunder Over Louisville, which serves as the “Opening Ceremonies” of the Derby Festival, to the first Saturday in May. Derby season elements will be incorporated into the show, including the “Call to the Post” in the Thunder soundtrack. 2024 marks the 35th production of Thunder Over Louisville.

“Thunder has become more than fireworks and an air show over the last three decades. It’s an annual rite of spring in Kentucky, a signature attraction for tourism in Louisville and the Bluegrass, and an event that unites our entire community along the banks of both sides of the Ohio River,” said Matt Gibson, Kentucky Derby Festival President & CEO. “We are especially grateful for the generous support of our sponsors who come back year after year to allow us to produce this one-of-a-kind event that helps us kick off the Derby Festival season.”

This marks the 34th consecutive year that UPS has been a Presenting Sponsor of Thunder Over Louisville. Their UPS Flight Deck viewing area returns at the Overlook at Waterfront Park for this year’s show.

The fourth annual Drone & Night Show powered by LG&E is another highlight of the 2024 show and will light up the nighttime sky as they fly over the Ohio River in different formations just before the fireworks begin. This marks the 18th year that LG&E has been a Presenting Sponsor.

The Meijer Family Fun Zone returns to its location at the Big Four Lawn and offers a prime viewing space filled with family activities. This is Meijer’s 18th year as a Presenting Sponsor.

Humana returns for the third year as a Presenting Sponsor, and as part of their partnership to make the Derby Festival accessible to the entire community, they will once again be sponsoring free rides to Thunder this year in partnership with TARC. More information on the free-fare day will be released in the coming weeks.

Caesars, who has been a partner of the Kentucky Derby Festival since its opening, is back for the 25th straight year as a Presenting Sponsor of the 2024 show.

The Festival is also planning another packed air show line-up this year featuring both military and civilian aircraft. Highlights include: The Air Force Viper Demo and Heritage Flight; Air Force C-17 Demo (with an aerial refueling demonstration); Navy Growler with Legacy Flight; U.S. Air Force Wings of Blue; Matt Younkin’s “Magic by Moonlight” performance; vintage champion air racer “Mr Mulligan”; Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer Demo, as well as numerous aerobatic routines and unique custom aircraft in formation and upon the water. Additionally, international partners like the Canadian CF-18s and German A400 “Grizzly” will be part of the 2024 show. Spectators will witness fly bys from the B-52, a flight of Kentucky Air National Guard C-130s, and numerous rotary aircraft, including a helicopter infiltration and extraction demo accomplished by the Kentucky Army National Guard and the 123rd Special Tactics Squadron. More details about the 2024 Thunder Air Show will be released closer to the date.

Thunder’s fireworks show is choreographed to an original soundtrack each year and Zambelli Fireworks will design the show again in 2024. On Thunder Day, the FoodFest and Thunder On the Ground open at 11 a.m., the Air Show starts at 3 p.m., the Drone & Night Show is at 9 p.m., and Fireworks blast off at 9:30 p.m.

“As you can imagine, over the past 35 years, there has been a tremendous amount of music chosen to develop the Thunder soundtrack. Our challenge has always been to keep it exciting and powerful while incorporating new music trends,” said Wayne Hettinger, Producer of Thunder Over Louisville. “The pace of this year’s soundtrack is a mix of current music that guarantees to make you weak in the knees and looking for something to hang on to for the finale.”

For fans looking for a front-row seat to the show, tickets are on sale now for the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport Thunder VIP Rooftop Party Presented by Kentucky Proud. Tickets are $200 per person and can be purchased at ThunderOverLouisville.org. Admission includes premium viewing, Kentucky Proud cuisine, local and regional beers, specialty cocktails, private restrooms and more.

In addition to the Presenting Sponsors, AKIMA is the Military Zone Sponsor, UofL Health is the Official Health Care Provider, the Official Hotel is the Galt House Hotel, and UA Local 502 is the Official Thunder Golf Cart Sponsor. Thunder Over Louisville’s 2024 Official Broadcast Partners are WDRB and MIX 106.9.

Thunder Over Louisville is one of the more than 70 events produced by the Derby Festival in the spring. It provides an estimated impact of $56 million to the area’s economy. The Derby Festival is an independent community organization. It entertains more than 1.5 million people annually every spring and is one of the leading community celebrations in the world.

January 11 - April 20
April 11 - April 21
April 20 - April 28