On October 18th, the prestigious Belle celebrates her 100 years of service as the oldest Mississippi river-style steamboat. The Belle of Louisville is the oldest operating steamboat of her kind, and is a precious, iconic symbol of Louisville.
Taking that first ride aboard the Belle of Louisville is quite the memory-maker. Twice I’ve boarded the riverboat, once as a high schooler where we danced mightily while we floated downriver, and once on an infamous dinner cruise with coworkers from the Louisville Free Public Library. This Louisvillian has lived in Louisville one quarter of the number of years that the Belle of Louisville has been setting sail down the mighty Ohio River. 100 years, and still running strong.
This October, the Belle of Louisville will celebrate her 100th birthday, and Louisville will be stepping up the style to celebrate in a big way. The party will take place during a week-long festival entitled The Centennial Festival of Riverboats. It’s coming this fall, October 14-19, 2014 at Waterfront Park. Nine historic steamboats will line the river as a backdrop for the Belle’s birthday party, including Belle of Louisville, Belle of Cincinnati, Spirit of Jefferson, Spirit of Peoria, General Jackson, River Queen, Anson Northrup, and The Colonel. Over a 6 day period, offerings and features will showcase breakfast, lunch, and dinner cruises along with daily birthday shout-outs along the waterfront, a parade of boats, and fireworks too. The festival will include much of what makes Louisville, Kentucky unique, including local food, bourbon, music, and art.
For more information about Belle’s Big Bash, see the website information here, with ticket information here. You can also follow Belle of Louisville on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram (where the Belle was recently featured as one of my Top 13 Louisville Local Instagram Profiles.) Look for more articles to be featured on Louisville.com about the Belle of Louisville’s historic 100 years, and a look into what the future holds for the steamboat and her legacy. Another 100 years? We’ll just have to wait and see