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The Centennial Festival of Riverboats is coming to Waterfront Park in downtown Louisville October 14-19, 2014. Belle’s Big Bash will be celebrated on October 18, the day she turns 100 years old.

If you’ve been reading the Louisville.com articles about the Belle of Louisville over the past month or so, you know something big is happening for our own beautiful steamboat.

You were introduced to the big news about this huge birthday celebration and festival.

Then we took you back in time; about 100 years back to showcase the timeline of the Belle of Louisville’s awesome century of adventures.

Last week we revealed to you what sorts of ideas are in the works for the future of the beloved Belle.

This week, we’re showcasing this grand festival that is coming this fall to Louisville. It will be practically a week-long celebratory “We Love You” Belle of Louisville and her dear steamboat friends for all of Louisville and the whole country. Here’s a rundown of each day’s festivities and what you can expect if you are taking part (and if you’re not you better think twice!) in the Centennial Festival of Riverboats.

October 14 is the opening ceremony. Each day will be filled to the brim with events that will take your breath away. Each day of the festival there will be breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner cruises, boat races, live music and entertainment, and a bourbon pavilion will be open daily.

October 15 the Bourbon Pavilion will have its grand opening and the Spirit of Jefferson will race the Anson Northrup at 4:30pm

On October 16, Anson Northrup will race Spirit of Peoria at 8pm

By October 17, the festival lights up the night as this evening of the festival is the Belle’s Balloon Glow! River Queen will race Spirit of Peoria at 1:30pm.

Happy Birthday, Belle, on October 18! It’s the big day for Belle’s Big Birthday Bash! The Belle turns 100 years old this day. Festivities surrounding her birthday celebration include a huge birthday party with a river parade of boats, live music, and spectators will be wowed by an enormous display of fireworks.

October 19 is the final day of the week-long festival. The Boat Race Awards Ceremony will take place and the Belle of Louisville will race the Belle of Cincinnati and the American Queen at 3pm.

Throughout the entire six days, folks can participate in a variety of cruises, including dining and special events cruises, General Jackson show cruises, history and heritage cruises, fireworks cruises, family fun cruises, and Taste of Kentucky cruises. You can buy tickets through this link.

If you want to cruise aboard the Belle of Louisville during the festival, tickets are selling out pretty quickly. Buy tickets online or call 855-259-0350 for availability. The festival has been rated one of the top 100 events in North America for 2014. The Centennial Festival of Riverboats and Belle’s 100th Birthday Bash take place in Waterfront Park in downtown Louisville. We all know that fall in Louisville is a spectacular time of year, and this festival is a prime way to show our gorgeous city and the Belle some love and enjoy the waterfront during one of the best times of year in the river city. Follow the festival on Facebook for very timely updates.

Photo courtesy of Belle of Louisville


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Erin Nevitt's picture

About Erin Nevitt

Longtime Louisvillian, I am a children's librarian at heart and have a passion for children's lit. I am most recently a stay-at-home mom who is always on the move, searching for family fun in Louisville. If it's free, it's preferable!

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