April 25, 2023, Louisville, KY. – The Kentucky Derby Festival’s ultimate entertainment venue – Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront – opens Thursday, April 27, at 11 a.m. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. in front of the main entrance to mark the official opening of the 9-day event. (Media and Festival Fans are invited to attend.)

New this year, just for Opening Day, a Pegasus Pin will not be required for admission. Attendees on Thursday receive free admission, courtesy of Commonwealth Credit Union. (Pegasus Pins will be available for purchase onsite; all other days are free admission with a 2023 Pegasus Pin). Also, as part of the opening day festivities, attendees will have an opportunity to taste $2 to $4 food samples during Flavors of Fest-a-Ville from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

As one of the Derby Festival’s signature events, Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville includes an action-packed line-up of concerts, festive food, family-friendly fun, hot-air balloon displays, midway rides and professional wrestling. Fest-a-Ville is open daily through May 5. Hours are 11.a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Saturday and noon to 10 p.m., Sunday. Admission to Fest-a-Ville is free with a 2023 Pegasus Pin. (Food, drink and pets are not permitted).

Two new events making their debut on the 2023 Fest-a-Ville line-up include a silent disco by Louisville Silent Disco on opening day on Thursday, April 27 and during the Derby Eve Jam on Friday, May 5 from 7:30-10:30 p.m. in the Grove. Attendees can wear glowing wireless headphones and dance to music amongst other Fest-a-Ville goers. Headphones are free for the first 50 attendees each night, courtesy of Kroger. $10 per headphone for all other participants. The Exotic Cars & Coffee Car Show Presented by Liberty Federal Credit Union takes place on Saturday, April 29 from 4-8 p.m. on the Great Lawn. Enjoy exotic, muscle, imports, German and American cars from all across the region under the lights.

Other events happening at Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville include:

  • Kentucky Derby Festival Chow Wagon: Open during the entire nine days of Fest-a-Ville, this outdoor food and live music venue is a long-running Derby Festival tradition. Happy Hour Weekdays: 4-6 p.m. $4 beers at the Beer Garden.
  • Flavors of Fest-a-Ville: Attendees can stop by for lunch and sample favorites from a variety of vendors at Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville and the Chow Wagon. It’s open weekdays only from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Samples range from $2 to $4.
  • Pegasus PlayVille, sponsored by Norton Children’s, features a variety of kid-friendly activities, including Charlie Chopper, Rainbow Rock, Fun Slide, Lil Wheel and more.
  • Kentucky Derby Festival Neigh-Maste on the Waterfront: Friday, April 28, noon-1 p.m. Festivalgoers can relax and recharge at this yoga event while enjoying views of the Ohio River and Louisville skyline.
  • Kentucky Derby Festival Ohio Valley Wrestling Run for the Ropes: Friday, April 28, 5:30-7 p.m. Special meet-and-greet with OVW stars at 5 p.m., followed by six big matches, including a special “Every Man for Himself Free-For-All” over the top rope Battle Royal.
  • L&N Federal Credit Union Great Balloon Glow: Friday, April 28, 9 p.m. L&N Federal Credit Union sponsors this Festival favorite event for the first time in 2023 as it returns to Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville for the second year. Featuring over a dozen balloons lighting up the city skyline.
  • Kentucky Derby Festival Ken-Ducky Derby: Saturday, April 29, 4-5 p.m. See the launch of nearly 50,000 ducks into the Ohio River for a chance to race and compete for prizes. Proceeds benefit Harbor House of Louisville.
  • Kentucky Derby Festival Sunday Funday Drag Show Brunch: Sunday, April 30, 1-3 p.m. Produced by the Louisville Pride Foundation, this event showcases some of Louisville’s finest entertainers. Food and drinks available for purchase. $150 VIP Experience includes prime seating for a table of six, $50 in food and drink tickets and a special swag bag.
  • Kentucky Derby Festival HappyTail Hour: Monday, May 1, 5-8 p.m. Bring your four-legged friend to this pet-friendly event on the Great Lawn. Coordinated by Metro Animal Services.
  • Military Day is on Friday, May 5 with free admission all day for Veterans and active military with their military ID.

Highlights of this year’s concert line-up are performances by local, regional and national acts, including Kentucky singer/songwriter Elvie Shane, known for his hit single, “My Boy,” and who will be in the spotlight Saturday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m. His debut album, “Backslider,” has landed on “Best Of” lists including Billboard, Rolling Stone and Nashville Scene, and he has opened for country music superstars, including Darius Rucker, Jason Aldean, Toby Keith, Brothers Osborne, Brooks & Dunn and Lady A. Shane will be joined by special guest Abby Hamilton. Media Sponsor: 97.5 WAMZ.

Midnight Star, a soul, disco and R&B group who had its beginnings on the campus of Kentucky State University before catapulting to national stardom with their 1980’s hit, “No Parking on the Dance Floor,” will take the Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville stage on Tuesday, May 2 at 7:30 p.m. with special guest DJ Mixx. Media Sponsor: B96.5 FM and MAGIC 101.3.

Louisville native and R&B singer Marzz, who has opened for Jack Harlow, will perform on Monday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m. with special guest Quinnette.

Other performers spanning a variety of genres will also take the stage:

  • Joslyn & The Sweet Compression with special guest Soul Circus: Thursday, April 27, 7:30 p.m.
  • GospelFest Presented by Passport Health Plan by Molina Healthcare and Republic Bank: Sunday, April 30, 6-9 p.m. This Gospel Choir Showcase features performances by Jamar Esaw & Triad: 4 Christ, Young Men 4 Christ, Jesse Williams & Total Praise, Antwan Jenkins & Campfire, as well as local church choirs, praise teams and solo acts. Media Sponsor: B96.5 FM.
  • D. Shelburne with special guest Frankie Moody: Wednesday, May 3, 7:30 p.m.
  • Velcro Pygmies with special guest Rock Station: Thursday, May 4, 7:30 p.m.
  • Derby Eve Jam featuring Thunderstruck America’s AC/DC Tribute Band with special guest The Wilson Brothers: Friday, May 5, 7:30 p.m.

Admission to Fest-a-Ville is free with a 2023 Pegasus Pin. Pegasus Pins are $7 in advance at local retail outlets and $10 at the entrance to events. (Food, drink and pets are not permitted). Sponsored by Kroger. Contributing Sponsor: Commonwealth Credit Union. Official Craft Beer: TEN20 Craft Brewery. Official Seltzer: High Noon. Music Stage Sponsor: Miller Lite. Pegasus PlayVille Sponsor: Norton Children’s.

June 21 - June 21