Kentucky Derby Festival 2021


LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ/KDF) – After months of planning and exploring all options, the 2021 Kentucky Derby Festival has created a mix of both virtual and in-person (socially distanced) events and promotions for the community.

“Although 2021 will be different, fans will still see and feel the tradition of the Derby Festival in the spring,” said Matt Gibson, Kentucky Derby Festival President and CEO. “There will be fireworks, hot air balloons, bed racing, steamboats, and more for the community to look forward to this year.”

According to the Kentucky Derby Festival press office, event plans are being submitted for approval at state and local levels.

Any in-person and socially distanced events being planned for 2021 will comply with COVID-19 guidelines.

Some 2021 events are open for registration, including the virtual Norton Sports Health Training Program, as well as the Humana miniMarathon and Marathon and PNC Tour de Lou with both virtual and in-person (socially distanced) options for participants.

On Saturday, April 17th the Derby Festival will have a tribute to Thunder Over Louisville.

According to the Kentucky Derby Festival press office, the 2021 Thunder tribute will be held without spectators and will not be held at the waterfront. The overall Thunder show has been reimagined for this year.

Said Gibson, “This year’s Thunder Over Louisville will be like no other. While we can’t gather at the waterfront, we’re still planning to have elements of the air show and fireworks. We’re working with our sponsors, partners, and local media outlets to help share this unique Thunder tribute with the community.”

According to the Kentucky Derby Festival press office, Pegasus Parade will not include the traditional march down Broadway.

The Parade committee is taking a new approach with a tribute to the parade that will bring the event to the community.

More details will be released in the coming weeks as plans are finalized.

Pegasus Pins will return in 2021 with some new elements and cash prizes, which will be rolled out in March.

“Beyond just being a collectible, Pegasus Pins are a major source of funding for the Derby Festival,” said Gibson. “Purchasing a Pegasus Pin is a way the community can continue to support the Festival and we need that support now, more than ever.”

Due to the pandemic and the financial challenges of producing events in limited capacities.

 “We’re really doing everything we can to bring our events and the Festival spirit to the community this year,” said Gibson. “We are so grateful for the patience and continued support from our many sponsors, partners, and our Festival family during these extraordinary times.’

The Festival implemented a “Pandemic Pause” in 2020, keeping Board Officers, event committees, and the Royal Court in place.

They will continue their service in 2021 to help offer some continuity for the Festival for the upcoming season.

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