April 5, 2014. Louisville, KY.   – Next week marks the official kick-off of the 2014 Kentucky Derby Festival.  Venue set-up and preparations for Derby Festival’s Opening Ceremonies: Thunder Over Louisville and Chow Wagon begin Monday. The U.S. Navy Blue Angels and aircraft participating in the Air Show begin arriving on Thursday.  The public venue runs North of Main between Clay and 8th Street on the Kentucky side.
Monday, April 7:
  • 10:00 AM – Louisville Metro Police to announce security and traffic plan at Kentucky Derby Festival headquarters.
  • Thunder Command Center starts assembly in Room 2400 of the Galt House.  Follow construction during the week as equipment builds. Installation of fiber optic sound system begins.
  • Fencing, dumpsters and other infrastructure will be put into place.  Cellular towers installed on the venue
  • 5:30 PM – Thunder Throwdown at Hard Rock Café
Tuesday, April 8:
  • Chow Wagon vendor move-in and stage set-up begins at Waterfront Park and continues on Wednesday, April 9.
Wednesday, April 9:
  • Thunder infrastructure set-up all day.
  • 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m Members from Coast Guard Sector Ohio Valley as well as the Thunder Over Louisville Safety Coalition will be available at the Louisville Waterfront Park (LMPD Dock next to Tumbleweed) for media to ride aboard any of the assets available. The Coast Guard will have two 25-foot response boats available.  USCG Contacts:  LTJG Geoff Albe (502) 376- 1862 or 502-779-5340.
  • 5:30-8:30 PM – Taste of Derby Festival at Louisville Slugger Field.
Thursday, April 10:
  • 9 AM  U.S. Navy Blue Angels Demonstration Team Arrives at Kentucky Air National Guard
    • Pilots will be available for interviews.  Media need to be in place by 10 a.m.
  • 2nd Street Bridge closes at 9:30 AM and will remain closed through at least 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 13
  • Thunder fireworks racks and brackets being installed throughout day – pending weather
  • 10 AM – Sat.  Fireworks loading on 2nd Street Bridge.  Call press office for access and details.
  • Aircraft begin arriving for Thunder.  Call the press office for more information.
  • 4 PM:  They’re Off! Luncheon set up begins.  50 volunteers in the Galt House East Clements Room.
Friday, April 11:
§      7:00 AM:  They’re Off! Luncheon set up continues in the Galt House East Grand Ballroom.
§      Lost children tents go up on KY side, Port-a-Johns being delivered
§      Concert stage set-up begins at the Chow Wagon at Waterfront Park
§  10:00 AM:  Coast Guard Press Conference – Waterfront Park Great Lawn: Water Safety Plan, Boater Safety
                USCG Contacts:  LTJG Geoff Albe  (502) 376-1862 or 502-779-5340
§  10:00 AM:  Various street closures for venue. Concession trailer caravan from East River Road
§      11 AM – 8 PM: Displays and interactive exhibits installed throughout the day.
§  11:30 AM:  They’re Off! Luncheon at the Galt House.
§  NOON:  Annual “Gas Up” for Thunder Lunch in the Command Center
Friday, April 11:
§  1-6 PM:  Command Center open for tours, interviews.  Call press office for arrangements.
§  1 PM: Remaining streets on venue closed for duration of event – other assets being moved in
§  Interactive exhibits and displays set-up along River Road.
§  7:30 PM The Fillies’ Derby Ball and Derby Festival Queen’s Coronation Galt House West Archibald Cochran Ballroom.
§  Kentucky Derby Festival, Louisville Metro Police Department and Waterfront Development Corp. personnel will strictly enforce NO OVERNIGHT CAMPING, NO TENTS – all personal items left unattended overnight in the event venue will be considered abandoned and removed (camping gear, coolers, tarps, chairs, etc ).
Saturday, April 12:
§  EARLY AM – Kentucky Derby Festival, Louisville Metro Police Department and Waterfront Development Corp. personnel will enforce NO TENTS in Waterfront Park
§  9 AM – Waterfront Park opens, except North Great. Lawn. 9 AM – North Great Lawn viewing area opens.  Free admission with 2014 Pegasus Pin. 
§  11 AM – Meijer Family Fun Zone on the West Belvedere opens and Thunder Chow Wagon opens at Waterfront Park.
§  NO TENTS, STAKES, TAPE OR PETS allowed anywhere in the Thunder venue.
§  NOON – Free bicycle check-in for public at city compound, Preston and Witherspoon streets.
Other story angles for Thunder Week coverage:
  • 2014 theme “Throwback Thudner” reflected in Fireworks Soundtrack
  • McBride Transportation (Damon Boots – 664-7777) can provide video and interview opportunities related to utilizing the barges used for fireworks throughout the week
  • Ford’s Thunder on the Ground – all the interactive exhibits and activities on the Great Lawn
  • Economic impact of Thunder is $56 million, many businesses reap big benefits from show
  • Thunder parties: many other area non-profits have significant fund-raisers using Thunder as the featured entertainment
  • Thunder vendors:
    • Rumpke (Thunder pots and Clean-up) – Set-up Thunder pots before show and get them out-of sight by Sunday morning, Set-up dumpsters for Thunder – Sara Cullin – (513) 741-2617
    • Hertz – providing generators for show – John Imbaratto (615) 207-7618 
    • QRS – Go Green! recycling efforts at the event – Kim Martinez (502) 418-3304
Since 1956, the Derby Festival has worked to bring the community together in celebration. The Festival is an independent community organization supported by 4,000 volunteers, 400 businesses and civic groups, Pegasus Pin sponsorships and event participation. 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