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I am one of those thousands of Louisville residents. I’ve been to Thunder Over Louisville several times. I’ve been to the waterfront and sat along the edges of sidewalks and basked in the sun (and gotten sunburned) all day long. I’ve staked out a blanket spot with friends along the crowded Belvedere. I’ve been invited to a sleek and cozier section in New Albany with friends who had corporate access to their work place. I’ve been to a friend’s house that lived in Jeffersonville and partied quietly in their backyard. I’ve been to Thunder at the Bats on the coldest, rainiest, dreariest Thunder I can remember in 2011 (and 7 months pregnant to boot).  I’ve worked at Thunder Over Louisville last year and experienced the Meijer Fun Zone. I’ve done Thunder Over Louisville many times; as a single person with friends, as a coupled person with my fiancé, as a married person with our child. It’s fun and all of that jazz. It’s jam packed with once-a-year-filled-with-awe-for-the-airshow. And the fireworks are really like no other when you are there in person lifting your eyes to the sky and covering your ears from the thunderous noise.

But some years, like last year (because we had a freshly young toddler) and this year because it just didn’t really work out, we’re going to stay home. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have our own fun and make Thunder Over Louisville our own in our own creative ways. Pinterest has lots of ideas for incorporating airplanes into your décor and table food displays. Look at this cute dessert idea! Check out this page full of ideas for making Derby fun with the whole family. The library has a plethora of books to check out about fighter planes, Derby, hot air balloons, fireworks, and Louisville and all of the beautiful things that make Derby time special around here. We’re going to watch Disney’s Planes on television (because U-Verse seems to be playing it all the time right now and we DVR’ed it). We’re going to play with our toddler’s toy planes outside and make all of the fighter jet sounds we can and imagine them soaring through the sky. While we’re outside, we’ll be listening for the thunder coming from downtown. We may try to head near the area and watch the planes come and go as they land and take off at the airports during the airshow. We’re going to pack a picnic and perhaps head to a park near Bowman Field and watch for the jets and airplanes, or head down to Don Fightmaster Playground on UofL’s campus and see what we can see from there. We’re going to get creative, spend the day outside, just avoiding the crowds this year and have our own family fun jam time. And at 9:30pm, we’ll turn our television on to Wave 3 and watch the fireworks on our couch with our popcorn, some special kid-friendly Mint Julep-y snacks, and a kicked-up variety of some adult drinks for my husband and me.

Next year, we are hoping to gather some friends and their kids together and experience Thunder Over Louisville in a new way: rent a hotel room downtown and watch from there!

Photos courtesy of Thunder Over Louisville, Facebook

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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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