Feb. 5, 2016– LOUISVILLE, KY   – The Kentucky Derby Festival is seeking a new partner for its Thunder Funder Program for 2016. Started as a grass-roots fundraising program, Thunder Funder helps raise funds for each year’s Thunder Over Louisville – the Derby Festival’s Opening Ceremonies. McDonald’s® Restaurants of Kentuckiana will not return as sponsor of the community Thunder Funder program this year.

“Thunder Funder offers a unique opportunity for a company to partner on an event with tremendous promotional opportunities,” said Mike Berry, Kentucky Derby Festival President and CEO. “It has helped enhance the experience of Thunder for fans and we hope another community-minded company will want to partner with us for 2016.”

The Derby Festival’s Thunder Funder program expanded in 2005 to become a public fundraising campaign to help add bells and whistles to the Thunder show including a public sound system, as well as air show and programming enhancements. Each year, the program has given individuals and the community a way to support the show. The sponsorship is exclusive and can be customized to include everything from consumer engagement and traffic driving promotions to hospitality opportunities and day-of crowd interaction.

Said Berry, “With a one-day show that costs over a million to produce, there is always opportunity for more partners to be involved. In addition to Thunder Funder, we also have hospitality venues available for businesses to consider. We will raise all we can to put on the very best show for this community.”

McDonald’s® Restaurants of Kentuckiana became title sponsor of Thunder Funder in 2006. During the years of their partnership it transformed from a public television funding drive to “Thunder Funder” meals and commemorative cup promotions offered at dozens of McDonald’s restaurants in the area. The program further evolved in 2015, when McDonald’s created a new promotion called McDonald’s Thunder Insider.

Businesses who would like more information about sponsoring the Thunder Funder program or hospitality opportunities at Thunder can contact April Zik, Director of Sponsorship Sales, at (502) 572-3836 or azik@kdf.org.

Thunder Over Louisville – the Derby Festival’s Opening Ceremonies – is one of nearly 70 events produced by the Derby Festival in the spring. The 2016 Thunder Over Louisville is set for Saturday, April 23, along the banks of the Ohio River in downtown.  It will be the 27th annual production.

June 21 - June 21