Kentucky Derby moved to Sept. 5

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Kentucky Derby Festival is postponing all events on the 2020 schedule until later in the year in response to concerns about COVID-19, organizers officially announced Tuesday morning.

Each year, the Kentucky Derby Festival produces more than 70 events in the weeks leading up to the first Saturday in May. Now the Festival will move those events to later in the year, in conjunction with the new date for the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, September 5.

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The new date for Thunder Over Louisville is set for Saturday, August 15. The Festival will release other new dates as soon as they are finalized. Information regarding ticketed events, participant registration and refunds will also be forthcoming.

Festival fans who have already purchased a 2020 Pegasus Pin need to hold on to them. 2020 Pegasus Pins will still be used when the Festival is held later this year.

Festival organizers have been monitoring the developments since early January, and in recent weeks have been in constant communication with the Mayor’s Office, the Governor’s Office and public health and safety experts.

It was not a decision Festival organizers made lightly.

“Public health and safety needs to be our focus right now,” said Matt Gibson, Kentucky Derby Festival President and CEO. “We want to help in that effort and we also want the community to know we will be here once we get through this.”

Said Gibson, “The schedule may look a little different with events moving into a new timeframe, but our goal is to have Thunder Over Louisville, the miniMarathon, the Pegasus Parade, Fest-a-Ville and the Chow Wagon, and many other events in between.”

“There are a lot of moving parts with all the events. We just ask that everyone be patient as we work to get things rescheduled,” said Gibson. “We will work to ensure this transition to new dates is as seamless as possible.”

The Festival is also implementing other new processes in the coming weeks, including having its staff work from home as they continue to plan the 2020 Festival, arranging alternatives for in-person committee and board meetings, and postponing other small events and promotions.

2020 marks the 65th Kentucky Derby Festival. Various events on the Festival’s schedule have been moved or postponed in previous years. This will be the first time in its history that the entire Festival has been postponed.

The Derby Festival is an independent community organization supported by 4,000 volunteers, more than 400 businesses and civic groups, Pegasus Pin sponsorships and event participation. It entertains more than 1.5 million people in a two- week period and has a local economic impact of more than $127 million. This involvement has made the Festival the largest single attended event in Kentucky and one of the leading community celebrations in the world.