December 20, 2019. Louisville, KY. – A new sponsor has stepped in to help keep a favorite Derby Festival event on the schedule for 2019. BB&T is the new title sponsor of the Festival’s three-day Great BalloonFest. A longtime friend of the Festival, BB&T decided to take their partnership to new heights, after learning of the new sponsorship opportunity.

“BB&T is delighted to be the sponsor of the Great BalloonFest,” said BB&T Regional President Tom Eller. “Part of our mission is to make the communities in which we work a better place to live. What better example of this than to be part of an event that brings so much excitement, fun and entertainment to so many.”

BB&T is no stranger to the Festival or the ballooning events. The bank participated in the BalloonFest in the early 2000’s. They’ve also sponsored other events including the Race Expo, as well as the miniMarathon and Marathon. Plus, BB&T is a Thunder Funder, to help support the Festival’s Opening Ceremonies, Thunder Over Louisville.

“The Derby Festival wouldn’t be what is today without the support of community-minded partners like BB&T,” said Mike Berry, President and CEO of the Kentucky Derby Festival. “Sponsors help make producing our events possible, and give us even more reasons to celebrate in the spring.”

The BB&T Kentucky Derby Festival Great BalloonFest returns in 2019 with four hot-air balloon events over the course of three days including:

  • The Great Balloon Glimmer on Thursday, April 25, which lights up the Waterfront on the North and South Great Lawn at Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville.
  • The Great Balloon Rush Hour Race on Friday, April 26, which launches from Bowman Field at 7 a.m. and offers a beautiful view for those sitting in traffic on their way to work.
  • The Great Balloon Glow on Friday, April 26, at 9 p.m. at the Kentucky Exposition Center, where the balloons glow against the night sky with a synchronized musical score.
  • The Great Balloon Race, the oldest and inaugural ballooning event, on Saturday, April 27 at 7 a.m. at Bowman Field.

Since the first Great Balloon Race was held in 1973, the Derby Festival’s balloon events have been considered among the best in the country by pilots from all around the world. BalloonFest attractions are annually among the most popular family-friendly events on the Derby Festival schedule.

About Kentucky Derby Festival: The Derby Festival is an independent community organization supported by 4,000 volunteers, 400 businesses and civic groups, Pegasus Pin sponsorships and event participation. It entertains more than 1.5 million people annually. This involvement has made the Festival the largest single attended event in Kentucky and one of the leading community celebrations in the world.

About BB&T: BB&T is one of the largest financial services holding companies in the U.S. with $222.7 billion in assets and market capitalization of approximately $37.4 billion as of Sept. 30, 2018. Building on a long tradition of excellence in community banking, BB&T offers a wide range of financial services including retail and commercial banking, investments, insurance, wealth management, asset management, mortgage, corporate banking, capital markets and specialized lending. Based in Winston-Salem, N.C., BB&T operates more than 1,900 financial centers in 15 states and Washington, D.C. A Fortune 500 company, BB&T is consistently recognized for outstanding client service by Greenwich Associates for small business and middle market banking. More information about BB&T and its full line of products and services is available at BBT.com.

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