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    It is hard to believe that the 2014 Derby Festival activities are beginning this Friday, April 11th, and it is even harder to believe that it is already time for one of my favorite events of the year: Thunder over Louisville (2014 is going by so fast!) With it being one of many activities that are happening to kick-off the 140th Derby Festival, this year's Throwback Thunder theme is not one want you want to miss. Here are some essentials to know to have the best Throwback Thunder experience this Saturday! For general information, check Thunder over Louisville’s website.

    Where to park:

    The farther away you park, the better. Be prepared to walk, because it’s easier to walk than maneuver your vehicle through the immense amount of vehicle and foot traffic in the Downtown Louisville area.

    You can buy parking spots in advance here.

    There is a full list of parking locations and prices here.


    There is also valet bike parking (yes, people ride their bikes to Thunder – good idea) available at Preston and Witherspoon streets.


    Where to watch the Air Show and Fireworks:

    The fireworks can be viewed from just about any location in the vicinity of the downtown area and on the Southern Indiana side in Jeffersonville, near the Clark and Kennedy bridges and Fort and Pearl streets. The fireworks can be viewed from the ground or from any higher ground setting. The best places to watch are spots downtown near the Second Street Bridge or at The Waterfront.

    The Waterfront offers many various activities that begin at 11 a.m., but you must have a Pegasus Pin to get into some of the areas. This would be a great area for family and young children to celebrate Thunder. For most activities, a Pegasus pin is not necessary.

    A few years ago, I watched the fireworks show from the roof of the Colgate Building and it was the coolest experience, ever. Many people will celebrate rooftop of many buildings in the downtown area.

    A full list of places to watch Thunder is here.

    What you should wear to Thunder:

    Better yet, what should you not wear to Thunder, but we won't go there. It is extremely important to check the weather before you go. Thankfully, this year’s forecast is looking very pleasant, with a high of 72 degrees and only a 20% chance of rain at this time.

    Dressing for comfort is key. Most importantly, wear comfortable shoes. I would recommended tennis shoes (although we know most women will be in sandals, including myself) and be sure to bring a jacket, as it is likely to get chillier as the fireworks show begins. Wear comfortable shorts/capris/jeans, a comfortable shirt, and be prepared to get hot and possibly sweaty. I wouldn't recommend dressing like you're going to a formal dinner. Wear comfortable shoes and clothes, enjoy the warm weather, and have fun with friends and family!

    What to Bring:

    For children, it may be a good idea to bring earplugs if they are bothered by loud noises. I would also suggest sun screen, because it’s likely to be the warmest day Louisville can remember in the last six months and no one likes a sunburn.

    Bringing a blanket or towel is a good idea if you are planning on sitting on the grass to watch the air show and fireworks. Many people sit down along the waterfront and along Riverside Drive in Jeffersonville. Lay out a towel on the grass and enjoy the warm weather and not to mention the funnel cakes, hotdogs, and popcorn.

    Bring the essentials: money (cash is recommended), your keys, your ID (if you're drinking) and your cell phone.

    What not to Bring:

    Ladies, leave your purses at home and put your most essential needs in a clutch or whatever you can fit in your pockets. If you’re going to be walking around you will not want to carry your purse all day. You also won’t need half of the things in there, because you’ll only need money, a Pegasus pin (although not necessary, just recommended), a cell phone, and maybe your keys.

    Try to leave the strollers at home. There will be so many people walking in close proximity on both sides of the river and strollers make it hard to walk at a decent pace. They also always end up running into someone's heels. Apologies are made, dirty looks are given; it's just really awkward. Try to avoid it by ditching the strollers.

    Do not bring alcohol to Thunder, because it is prohibited. Don't try to put your clear liquor in a water bottle (Thanks, college) and do not try to be sly and put them in your cooler. Beer can be purchased at the Waterfront Park Chow Wagon and the Belvedere Beer Garden.

    Weapons, tents, bikes, skateboards, skates, and pets are also prohibited. For obvious reasons. Just don't bring them.

    For a list of what is not permitted for safety reasons in the event area, check here.

    Have fun, enjoy the weather, and enjoy a Throwback Thunder this Saturday. The Air Show begins at 3:00 p.m. and the fireworks will begin at 9:30 p.m. See you all there!

    For a full list of the air show events, check here.


    Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

    Alexis Messmer's picture

    About Alexis Messmer

    2015 University of Louisville graduate. All things social media, marketing, writing, sneakers, photography, music, and a whole lot of coffee.

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