April 25, 2016 Louisville, KY.  – The Kentucky Derby Festival is adding a third hot air balloon race to this year’s U.S. Bank Kentucky Derby Festival Great BalloonFest. The NEW U.S. Bank Great Balloon Charity Race lifts off from Bowman Field this Thursday, April 28, at 7 a.m.  It’s the first of five hot-air balloon events on the Festival’s schedule this year.

The Charity Race will pit local celebrities against each other, as they try to win $1,000 for their charity of choice, donated by the Kentucky Derby Festival’s Foundation. The celebrities will be paired with balloons in a Hare and Hound format race. Over a dozen hot air balloons will chase the “Hare” balloon, U.S. Bank, for their shot at victory. The celebrities in the “Hound” balloons will try to drop a bag of bluegrass seed closest to the target for the win.

On Thursday night, 19 balloons will participate in the U.S. Bank Great Balloon Glimmer on the North and South Great Lawn starting at 8:30 p.m.  The Glimmer will be preceded by live music at 7 p.m. from KY Salsa Allstars on the Great Stage.

BalloonFest resumes the following morning (Friday, April 29) with the U.S. Bank Great Balloon Rush-Hour Race at 7 a.m. at Bowman Field.  The Rush-Hour race will offer a beautiful view to those fighting traffic on their way to work. The U.S. Bank Great Balloon Glow returns to the Kentucky Exposition Center at 9 p.m. on Friday night.  Glow spectators are encouraged to come out early (gates open at 6 p.m.) and make an evening out of it. At 9 p.m., the balloon pilots will fire their burners, making the balloons glow against the night sky synchronized to a musical score provided by Q103.1.  The event will also be broadcast live on WLKY on MeTV Louisville 32.2.

The BalloonFest wraps up on Saturday, April 30, with the U.S. Bank Great Balloon Race at 7 a.m. at Bowman Field.  A field of 25 balloons will take flight from Bowman Field in the oldest portion of the balloon events, the U.S. Bank Great Balloon Race.

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.

The Kentucky Derby Festival Great BalloonFest is sponsored by U.S. Bank with Contributing Sponsors Mortenson Family Dental and Publishers Press. 99.7 DJX is Media Sponsor of the Rush Hour Race and Great Balloon Race. Q103.1 is Media Sponsor of the Great Balloon Glow.  WLKY TV is the TV broadcast partner for the Glow.

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.

June 21 - June 21