Kentucky Derby Festival returns with live, in-person events in 2022

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The Kentucky Derby Festival is back for the 2022 season and is planning a return to live, in-person events.

The schedule of upcoming events was announced Wednesday morning by KDF staff, showcasing upcoming events starting in mid-March all the way through to Derby Week.

This year’s big focus is welcoming people back in-person to events, as many events were hosted without spectators in 2021.

Thunder Over Louisville, one of KDF’s big highlight events, will be returning to the banks of the Ohio for the 2022 show, according to festival organizers.

“We’re looking forward to spring and being able to gather safely again to enjoy our favorite Kentucky traditions,” Matt Gibson, Kentucky Derby Festival President and CEO said in a release. “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.”

Several changes have been made to the schedule to help production timelines and improve accessibility for Kentucky Derby Festival fans.

Events that will be moving to new dates include the PNC Tour de Lou, which will now be on April 16, the Stock Yards Bank $1 Million Hole-in-One Golf Contest from April 14-24, and the Zoeller Pump Company Pegasus Parade on May 1, the Sunday before Derby Day.

“The Pegasus Parade is what started the Kentucky Derby Festival more than 60 years ago and we want everyone to be able to enjoy it,” Gibson said. “As we traveled around the community last spring, we learned attending a parade during the work week is challenging for our fans, so we’re trying something new this year.”

KDF said all events will adhere to local, state and federal COVID guidelines to ensure the safety of participants, volunteers and staff. Festival organizers will continue to monitor developments with COVID-19 and will update policies and procedures as guidance evolves.

Announced KDF event dates include:

  • Republic Bank BourbonVille – April 14
  • Stock Yards Bank $1 Million Hole-in-One Golf Contest – April 14-24
  • PNC Tour de Lou – April 16
  • They’re Off! Luncheon – April 22
  • Thunder Over Louisville – April 23
  • Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville and the Chow Wagon – April 28-May 6
  • Great BalloonFest – April 29-30
  • GE Appliances miniMarathon & Marathon – April 30
  • Zoeller Pump Company Pegasus Parade – May 1
  • Great Bed Races – May 2
  • Kentucky Proud WineFest – May 3
  • Liberty Financial Great Steamboat Race – May 4
  • Festival Day at the Downs – May 5
  • Derby Eve Jam – May 6

More information and event dates can be found on the Kentucky Derby Festival website as details are released in the upcoming weeks and months.

Copyright 2022 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.

Maira Ansari

Maira Ansari

Maira Ansari is the evening co-anchor for WAVE News.