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Kentucky Derby Festival 2022: Upcoming events, what you need to know

Entry to any of these events is free with a 2022 Pegasus Pin.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Mark your calendars, the Kentucky Derby Festival is back with live and in-person events for 2022.

According to a release from organizers, KDF events will span over several weeks starting in mid-March through the week of the Kentucky Derby.

“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.”

2022 KDF Event Schedule

Here's some of this year's highlighted events. Entry to any of these events is free with a 2022 Pegasus Pin, here’s where you can get yours.

Click here for more information and a full list of this year’s KDF events.

April 28 

  • Kroger’s ‘Fest-a-Ville’ at Waterfront Park (through May 6)

April 29

  • Great BalloonFest: Balloon Glow // 8 p.m. at Fest-a-Ville

April 30

  • Great BalloonFest: Balloon Race // 7 a.m. at Bowman Field
  • GE Appliances’ Derby Festival miniMarathon & Marathon // 7 a.m.
  • Ken-Ducky Derby // 2 p.m. at Fest-a-Ville

May 1

  • Mayor’s Derby Brunch on the River // 11:00 a.m. at the Farnsley-Moremen Landing
  • Sunday Funday Drag Show Brunch // 1 p.m. at Fest-a-Ville
  • Zoeller Pump Company Pegasus Parade // 3 p.m. along Broadway
  • Louisville Youth Orchestra Concert // 4 p.m. at Iroquois Amphitheater

May 4

  • Great Steamboat Race // 4:30 p.m. boarding at the Wharf at the Waterfront

FEST-A-VILLE 

Kroger's Fest-a-Ville is back at Waterfront Park with eight days of concerts, food and family-friendly fun starting April 28 through May 6.

The Fest-a-Ville will be open daily Monday-Saturday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and from noon to 10 p.m. on Sunday. It will however be closed on May 2.

New this year, there will be the Flavors of Fest-a-Ville, which will offer samples of popular food from the Chow Wagon, which will also be at Waterfront Park each day of the festival. Samples range from $2 to $4 and will be available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Multiple events like the Ken-ducky-Derby, Great Balloon Glow, Ohio alley Wrestling for the Ropes and Happy Trail Hour will be at this year’s Fest-a-Ville. Helicopter rides also return this year for $40.

SCHEDULE: Here's who will be performing at this year's Fest-a-Ville.

MINI-MARATHON AND MARATHON

If you’re planning on driving downtown Louisville Saturday, be prepared for the road closures due to the KDF miniMarathon and Marathon.

The Louisville Metro Police Department released the plan for the road closures Friday. They said no parking or stopping is allowed from midnight Friday to 5 p.m. Saturday, and signs are not allowed along the routes.

TARC Director for Marketing and Communications Jenny Recktenwald said routes will be impacted Saturday between 6:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. She said while routes will be in service, drivers will have to wait for clearance from LMPD to drive through the marathons.

PEGASUS PARADE

The Pegasus Parade is the founding event of the Kentucky Derby Festival. 

For the first time ever, the parade will not march on a Thursday. Instead the parade has moved to Sunday afternoon, May 1, to kick off Derby week.

RELATED: Pegasus Parade 2022 celebrates Louisville; Parade route, ticket information, road closures

This year’s theme is “Loving Louisville.” The parade marches west on Broadway for 17 blocks and lasts approximately two hours.

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.

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