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Kentucky Derby Festival to kick off 2022 season with in-person events this March

For the first time in its history, the Pegasus Parade will not march on the traditional Thursday.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Kentucky Derby Festival (KDF) is planning for a return to live and in-person events in 2022.

According to a release from organizers, the planned events will span over several weeks from mid-March through the week of the Kentucky Derby. The schedule includes signature favorites like Thunder Over Louisville, Kroger's Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront, the Great BalloonFest, and many more.

“We’re looking forward to spring and being able to gather safely again to enjoy our favorite Kentucky traditions,” said Matt Gibson, KDF President and CEO. “The past couple of years has given us all a new perspective and that’s been a driving force for the Festival as we’ve been planning for 2022 and beyond.”

Festival fans will notice some slight changes as events stretch through the entire month of April to help improve accessibility and production.

The Pegasus Parade, the founding event of the Kentucky Derby Festival, will be moved to Sunday afternoon, May 1, to kick off Derby week. For the first time in its history, the parade will not march on the traditional Thursday.

The first parade was produced in 1956 to create a way for the community to celebrate before the Derby race. It was organized by just a handful of volunteers on a budget of $640 and has since become one of the festival’s largest events, according to KDF.

2022 Festival Events

These are just a handful of the events planned for the 2022 Kentucky Derby Festival:

  • Stock Yards Bank $1 Million Hole-in-One Golf Contest – April 14-24
  • PNC Tour de Lou – April 16
  • Thunder Over Louisville – April 23
  • Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront – April 28 - May 6
  • Great BalloonFest – April 29-30
  • Zoeller Pump Company Pegasus Parade – May 1    
  • Great Bed Races – May 2
  • Liberty Financial Great Steamboat Race – May 4    
  • Festival Day at the Downs – May 5   
  • Derby Eve Jam – May 6

The complete 2022 Festival Highlight schedule is available on the Kentucky Derby Festival website.

More information on the festival's specific COVID-19 guidelines will be shared in the coming weeks. The events and programs will adhere to local, state and federal safety guidelines to ensure everyone's safety.

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