Derby season wouldn’t be the same without its kickoff, the gigantic fireworks spectacle that is Thunder Over Louisville, which will return for its 33rd year this Saturday, April 23, at 9:30 p.m. This year’s theme: “The Legend Returns.”
Although arguably the easiest way to watch Thunder is to do so from your own home, thousands of people still love going downtown to see the fireworks in person.
If you’re going, we’ve put together this FAQ guide to help make your Thunder experience go a little smoother.
If I’m going in-person, do I need a ticket?
Sort of — if you want to get access to the official public viewing areas, you need a Pegasus Pin, but they’re only $6 at Kroger or $7 at the gate.
Where can I watch Thunder?
You can see Thunder from pretty much anywhere along the riverfront from 8th Street to Clay Street in Louisville. Or, if you’re on the Southern Indiana side, from Ashland Park in Clarksville to Spring Street in Jeffersonville.
You’ll need a Pegasus Pin to enter the North Great Lawn at Waterfront Park, the Big Four Bridge Lawn and the “Chow Wagon” entertainment garden.
Viewing in Southern Indiana has changed over the years: It’s limited between the Clark and Kennedy bridges, but there will be designated viewing areas between Fort and Pearl streets on Riverside Drive, which is east of the Kennedy Bridge.
(You could also go to one of the many Thunder Over Louisville parties surrounding the riverfront. Find a full list here.)
What time do the fireworks start and end?
The fireworks show will run from 9:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Who gets to launch them?
This year’s “Thundernator” is Lillie Ingram, a “Derby City Fanatic,” who was a long-time caregiver for her father, who passed away recently.
Where can I park?
Any available parking garage or spot downtown. There are over 52,000 public parking spots in Louisville within a 10-block walk of the Ohio River. Check out this link to see the full list.
For Southern Indiana parking info, contact the Clark/Floyd County Convention Tourism Bureau at 812-282-6654. You can also get in touch with Water Tower Square in Jeffersonville at 812-288-9057 for RV and car parking.
Can I take TARC?
Yes, and for free — Humana is sponsoring free fares to Thunder all day Saturday.