April 16, 2021. Louisville, KY. – As final set-up continues for this year’s Thunder Over Louisville show, Derby Festival organizers are making further adjustments due to growing concerns of mass gatherings after potential fireworks locations were leaked earlier in the week. The Festival will now utilize only three self-contained locations – the Kentucky Exposition Center, Bowman Field and Caesars Southern Indiana. Themed “Illuminating Our Community,” the 2021 show has always been designed for television.

“It has become clear that more people were planning to gather on Saturday which is not safe,” said Matt Gibson, Kentucky Derby Festival President & CEO. “Speaking with different officials over the last few days we know making these changes is the responsible thing to do. These adjustments will keep people safe while still being able to bring a much-anticipated celebration to the community that fans can enjoy from home.”

As the Festival reimagined this year’s show in light of the pandemic, other changes were also made to Thunder including:

  • The concentration of fireworks in the different locations is much smaller than the traditional show on the river.
  • This year’s fireworks are focused more on color for the television broadcast.
  • The duration of the fireworks is reduced from 30 minutes to 18 minutes.

Said Gibson, “This year’s show is different than we’ve ever produced before. We cannot emphasize enough that the best place to see it all this year is on WHAS 11.”

The air show is scheduled for 4-6 p.m. and is also closed to spectators. The fireworks will take place between 9:30 and 10 p.m. Thunder will be broadcast on WHAS 11, the Official Broadcast Partner of Thunder Over Louisville. Their all-day coverage begins at 6 a.m. Fans can also tune to Summit Media’s Mix 106.9, the Official Thunder radio partner, for special coverage.

The Festival has also created a special “Thunder at Home” section at ThunderOverLouisville.org which includes tips for planning a Thunder party at home, Thunder inspired cocktail and food recipes, coloring pages, Zoom backgrounds and more! New Thunder gear is also available online, featuring t-shirts and sweatshirts that glow in the dark.

Thunder Over Louisville – the Derby Festival’s Opening Ceremonies – is one of the more than 70 events produced by the Derby Festival. The 2021 Thunder Over Louisville will be the 32nd annual production.

2021 Sponsors: Caesars Southern Indiana, Ford Motor Company, GE Appliances, a Haier company, LG&E, Meijer, Papa John’s and UPS, Official Hotel: The Galt House. Command Center Sponsor: Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport. Thunder Over Louisville’s 2021 Official Broadcast Partners are WHAS TV and MIX 106.9.

June 21 - June 21