12/9/2014 – U.S. AIR FORCE THUNDERBIRDS TO HELP KICK OFF 2015 DERBY FESTIVAL

U.S. Army Golden Knights Also Set to Perform at Thunder Over Louisville

Dec. 9, 2014– LOUISVILLE, KY  America’s Ambassadors in Blue, the U.S.A.F. Thunderbirds, will perform at the Kentucky Derby Festival’s Opening Ceremonies: Thunder Over Louisville.  They’ll be joined by the U.S. Army’s Parachute Team, the Golden Knights.  Both teams released their 2015 show schedules today at the International Council of Air Shows being held in Las Vegas. Thunder is set for Saturday, April 18th.

“We’re thrilled to have two tremendous demonstration teams perform at Thunder Over Louisville,” said Kentucky Derby Festival President and CEO Mike Berry. “We have always appreciated the support our show receives from all branches of the military. This year’s show will be one of the best yet.”

The Thunderbirds demonstration features a mix of formation flying and solo routines, performing approximately 40 maneuvers during the show.  Their formations demonstrate the training and precision of Air Force pilots, and highlight some of the maximum capabilities of their aircraft – the F-16 Fighting Falcon.  Since their inception in 1953, more than 280 million people around the world have seen the red, white and blue Thunderbirds jets.  This is the second time the Thunderbirds have visited Louisville.  They last performed at Thunder in 1997, when the Air Force was celebrating its 50th Anniversary.

The Golden Knights are the U.S. Army’s official aerial demonstration team.  They travel around the country, performing parachute demonstrations at air shows, major league football and baseball games, and special events, connecting the Army with the American people. The team performs more than 100 demonstrations a year with the help of their four dedicated aircraft.  This is also the second time the Golden Knights have performed at Thunder. They appeared in the show in 2002.

Details regarding other air acts that will perform in the 2015 Thunder Air Show are still being finalized.  A complete show schedule will be released closer to the show date.  More information regarding the Thunderbirds can be found online at http://www.afthunderbirds.com/site/ or the Golden Knights at http://armygk.armylive.dodlive.mil/.

Thunder Over Louisville – the Derby Festival’s Opening Ceremonies – is one of the more than seventy events produced by the Derby Festival in the spring. The 2015 Thunder Over Louisville is set for Saturday, April 18, and will be the 26th production.

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 in a two-week period and has a local economic impact of more than $127 million. Thunder alone contributes $56 million of that estimate to both sides of the Ohio River.  This involvement has made the Festival the largest single-attended event in Kentucky and one of the leading community celebrations in the world.

November 9 - December 7