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Basically, as soon as I moved to Louisville from New York in December I heard people talking about “Thunder." I would start talking to people at random places and as soon as I told them I was brand new to Louisville people would demand, “You have to go to Thunder!” Of course, at some point someone explained to me that Thunder Over Louisville is the kick-off of the Derby Festival which apparently is a two week long party leading up to the Kentucky Derby. Wow, you guys really get excited about your horse racing. I mean I had no idea there was anything besides a race where people wore hats and drank alcohol with mint in it. Seriously, no idea!

The most surprising thing that I heard is that Thunder has the largest fireworks display in North America. If this is true, I just can’t believe that I never heard of it. Explosives and horse racing?! This is a big deal! So, how come no one in the rest of the States seems to know about it? Is this some sort of secret Border State thing?

Keeping with the secretive nature of Thunder, everyone I’ve talked to is very vague about how you actually go. Everyone goes to Thunder, but no one seems to share the details; how do you get there? Where do you stand? What do you bring? Everyone just seems to get there somehow and drink a ton, have loads of fun and then sit in traffic for a few days trying to get home. Luckily Thunderoverlouisville.org answered most of the questions I had.

After researching online and listening to every local I could find, the one thing I know for sure is that I am not driving. I’ve rounded up a few of my lady friends who also have never been to Thunder, and we are going to ride our bikes to Witherspoon and Preston where supposedly there is a free bike valet (how cool is that?). Then we’ll head to Waterfront Park. I must witness this thing I’ve heard about called the Chow Wagon.Apparently, some of you Louisvillians live for it. Excessive amounts of food, alcohol, people, and explosives…this should be interesting.

Maggie moved to Louisville from Buffalo, NY in December 2009. She's also lived in Chicago, London, and Louisiana. Learn more about her and her business: Weekend Wedding Warrior, LLC and her private counseling practice.

Photo: Flickr/ebbandphlow


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About Maggie Heely

Maggie is the owner of Weekend Wedding Warrior, LLC specializing in Wedding Day Coordination. She is also a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice in St. Matthews. She moved to Louisville from Buffalo, NY in December 2009. She's lived in NY, Chicago, London, and Louisiana before coming to Louisville.

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