June 12, 2017. Louisville, KY. – Norton Healthcare’s Scott Watkins will chair the 2018 Kentucky Derby Festival. He was elected by the Kentucky Derby Festival, Inc., Board of Directors at its annual meeting tonight. Watkins is Senior Vice President, Operations at Norton Healthcare. He follows the successful leadership of Lisa Stevenson, who will continue serving as Immediate Past Chair of the Derby Festival.
Watkins was first elected to the Derby Festival Board in 2005 and has been a member of the KDF Executive Board since 2011. He has served on committees for several Derby Festival events and programs, including the Marathon/miniMarathon, the Basketball Classic, KDF’s Board Nominating Committee and the Audit Committee
Michael E. Berry continues as President and CEO of the Derby Festival. Marita Willis, Major Gift Officer, The American Red Cross, was elected Chair-Elect; Mike Ziemianski, VP of Development, St. Meinrad School of Theology, was elected Vice Chair; Judy Hess, Community Relations Coordinator, Horseshoe Southern Indiana, was elected Secretary; and Mike Shea was elected Treasurer.
Joining the 75-member board as newly elected directors are: David Bingham, Business First; William Donaldson, DRP Enterprises, LLC; Joe Elliott, University of Louisville; Les Fugate, RunSwitch PR; Janet Lively, Harshaw Trane; Sarah Neff, Alpha Media Louisville; Rick Smith, Kentucky State University; Brian Walters, Parade Chair; Shawna Burton, Greater Louisville, Inc. (Ex-Officio); Ann Marie Kelly, YPAL (Ex-Officio); Glenda Thome, President, The Fillies, Inc. (Ex-Officio).
Dates for some of the Festival’s signature events are already set. The 2018 Festival will kick off on Saturday, April 21 with the Opening Ceremonies – Thunder Over Louisville, the U.S. Bank Great BalloonFest is April 26-28, Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville opens on April 26, the Marathon/miniMarathon will be April 28, Thorntons Great Bed Races is April 30, the Great Steamboat Race is May 2, and the Republic Bank Pegasus Parade is set for May 3. (See Festival Highlights Schedule Attached for additional event dates.)
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.