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You can rail against the Kentucky Derby until your face is bluer than bluegrass – call it decadent, depraved, or possibly even overrated – but there’s no denying: the enormity of this event is impossible to escape. The race itself has hardly changed at all through the years, barring a widening of the playing field, but the fanfare surrounding it has expanded rapidly even over the last two decades. One needn’t look further than Thunder over Louisville for proof of the Derby Festival’s growth spurt – what was once a modest, cheerful fireworks show capping off the two-week countdown to the fastest two minutes in sports has transformed since 1990 into the largest annual pyrotechnics display in all of North America.

Yes, Thunder is certainly impressive, with its booming explosives and breathtaking air show, but attending an event that attracts almost 500,000 spectators every year sounds to most like a logistical nightmare. Here you can find a host of guidelines and details that may serve to streamline your Thunder experience.

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Karen Ellestad's picture

About Karen Ellestad

When I was seven and my brother was eight, we both wrote to 'Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?' for a free t-shirt. Two weeks later his arrived in the mail, signed by Carmen Sandiego herself, accompanied by an autographed picture of the cast, an official membership to the 'Gumshoe Club,' and a Rockapella casette tape. I got a postcard.

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