June 30, 2023. Louisville, KY. – U.S. Troops across the globe will have the opportunity to experience Thunder Over Louisville on the Fourth of July. The Kentucky Derby Festival has partnered with the Kentucky Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet and WAVE to share a special presentation of this year’s Thunder air show and fireworks with the American Forces Network. It will be broadcast on Independence Day to more than half a million U.S. Armed Forces personnel, Department of Defense civilian employees and their families stationed overseas.
“Thunder Over Louisville would not be possible without the support and participation of our U.S. military,” said Matt Gibson, President and CEO of the Kentucky Derby Festival, who introduces the broadcast along with Governor Andy Beshear. “We’ve been honored to share Thunder with American Forces Network for more than 20 years. This special presentation is just a small way the Derby Festival can pay tribute to our troops on this patriotic holiday.”
“Every day, America’s brave troops show boundless love and selflessness, by serving our great country with honor so that we can live freely at home,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “I am proud that one of Kentucky’s greatest traditions – Thunder Over Louisville – is being shared as a special tribute to these heroes. The Commonwealth of Kentucky is grateful for their service and sacrifice, and we continue to pray for their safety.”
The Thunder special will air July 4th at 7 a.m. viewer time overseas on the AFN|prime channel. It will be available to viewers on U.S. military installations, at U.S. embassies and U.S. consulates located in approximately 167 countries and territories, as well as aboard more than 140 U.S. Navy ships at sea outside of U.S. territorial waters. (It will also be shared at other times by the American Forces Network). This Fourth of July also marks 80 years since the American Forces Network and its stations worldwide aired its first radio broadcast to U.S. troops in Europe during the Second World War.
“We applaud the Kentucky Derby Festival for bringing this broadcast to our troops on Independence Day as we celebrate the birth of our nation,” said Lindy Casebier, Secretary of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet. “We value our partnership with the Kentucky Derby Festival and applaud their efforts in sharing this production with the brave men and women of the armed forces serving our country.”
The three-hour program, produced by WAVE (Official Television Broadcast Partner of Thunder Over Louisville), features highlights from their broadcast of the 2023 Thunder, including the fireworks, drone show and air show, which features a packed line-up of military and civilian aircraft. Thunder is one of the top air shows and largest fireworks displays in the nation.
“We are honored to provide this special program to the American Forces Network to share with the courageous men and women of our military,” said John O’Brien, Vice President and General Manager of WAVE. “We are proud to be the Kentucky Derby Festival’s Broadcast Partner for this world-class event.”
Thunder Over Louisville is one of the more than 70 events produced by the Kentucky Derby Festival in the spring. It provides an estimated impact of $56 million to the area’s economy. The 2023 Thunder Over Louisville – themed “Through the Decades” – took place on April 22. It was the show’s 34th production.
2023 Thunder Over Louisville Show Sponsors: Caesars Southern Indiana, Humana, LG&E, Meijer, and UPS. In addition to the Presenting Sponsors, AKIMA is the Military Zone Sponsor, UofL Health is the Official Health Care Provider and the Official Hotel is the Galt House Hotel. TEN20 Craft Brewery is the Official Craft Beer and High Noon is the Official Seltzer of Thunder Over Louisville. Thunder Over Louisville’s 2023 Official Broadcast Partners are WAVE and MIX 106.9. Official Safe Ride Home Partner: Kentucky Office of Highway Safety.