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Jessica Gaines Jarboe's Blog

By Jessica Gaines Jarboe | Broker in Louisville, KY

Plan Ahead to Enjoy Thunder Over Louisville

fireworksWith the Kentucky Derby just a couple week away, my pups are running for their earplugs this weekend while the rest of Louisville leads for Waterfront Park to enjoy Thunder Over Louisville. Offering a spectacular airshow and fireworks display that marks the official opening of the Kentucky Derby Festival that leads up to the race, the event is the top airshows and among the top 100 events in North America. With an expected release of 52 tons of explosives, it ranks pretty high on the noise meter too, but it is an exciting show that is just one part of a fun filled weekend. For a complete schedulle of what is happening, see the Schedule at kdf.org.

The fireworks show is produced every year by Zambeli Fireworks Internationale, which attempts to exceed the wonders of the previous year’s show. Set in motion from a command center in the Galt Hotel, this year’s show will synchronize music with the the explosive burst sof light to create a 28 minute show containing 57 pieces of music. Thunder Over Louisville has come a long way from its roots in 1989 when 20,00 balloons were quicly released after a daytime ceremony.

Held at 9:30 pm, the military-themed show caps off a 7-hour air show with 90 aircraft. Since 2012 is the 100th anniversary of Marine Aviation and the 70th anniversary of World War II’s Battle of Midway. there will be over 100 miitary and civial planes in the show, including some vintage models.

Depending on the weather, over 500,000 might attend the events. Because the events attracts a lot of people, planning your visit in advance will limit your surprise to the wonders of the shows, and spare you aggravation.

Traffic may be madness, so be prepared. Some interstates and many streets will be closed and traffic rerouted. Roadwork on I-71 will continue, adding to probable traffic jams. See the Courier Journal’s list of street closings. so you can plan ahead. Louisville Metro Police will have 606 officers assigned to Thunder Security ,plus 633 for traffic enforcement.

Anticipate where you will park. If possible, to avoid some traffic tieups, park a few blocks away or take public transportation, which has been increased for the event. If you want to park close, near the Clarksville Memorial Bridge, the old Colgate plant will charge $20 for passenger cars, $10 for motorcycles, and $200-250 for RVs, Otherwise, there are about 52,000 parking spaces within a 10 blog walk of the park.

Come equipped. With rain and cool temperatures predicted, bring rain gear, extra jackets, and blankets. The event is long, so bring in lawn chair or a picnic blanket or tarp (less than 10’x10’) to make yourself comfortable. You cannot camp at the site or erect a tent. To make the veent comfortable, include some ear plugs, especially for kids.

Don’t forget your Pegasus Pin. Available for $5 having a pin will allow you the best access to festival events and make you eligible for prizes.

No pets. Louisville is usually pretty dog friendly, but for this crowded event, please leave pets at home.

Plan for meals. You can bring your own food and drink, so long as it is not in glass bottle. There will be plenty of delicious food on hand from vendors or at the sites such as Thunder Chow Wagon, West Belvedere Beer Garden and Derby Festival BoomTown, where no outside food is permitted. No grilling!

Other options. Though this event is classic Louisville, if you can’t make the show or if you kids (or you!) poop out before the fireworks, you can watch the event on WDBR TV, listen on WVEZ (106.9 FM), or follow along on Facebookor Twitter (@kdfboom). Undoubtedly, there will be plenty of videos and photos of the show t fill you in on what you missed live.

If you’ll be there, join the Thunder Twitter Team and share your tweets with the Courier-Journal. Sign up for the Thunder Twitter Team.

Even when it’s all calmed down, Louisville is still a great place to live. If you want to join the fun year round, call me, Jessica Gaines of Louisville Gaines Real Estate to buy or sell great houses throughout Jefferson, Bullitt, and Oldham County.

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