Support Us Button Widget

Check out these 30+ 2023 Kentucky Derby events

It’s not called Derby City for nothing.

Glowing hot air balloons

The Great Balloon Glow will light up Louisville for the second year at Waterfront Park.

Photo via Louisville Tourism

Table of Contents

The Kentucky Derby is 31 days away, and it wouldn’t be Derby City if we didn’t spend an entire month celebrating the greatest two minutes in sports.

So we’ve rounded up some of the biggest events for families, foodies, party goers, and more leading up to the run for the roses.

🎉 Parties

The Fillies Derby Ball | Saturday, April 15 | 6 p.m.-12 a.m. | Louisville Marriott Downtown | $300-$3,500 | This is the black tie event of the season with dinner, music and dancing + the crowning of the Royal Court.

Triple Crown Trivia & After Party | Saturday, April 15 | 7-11:30 p.m. | The Galt House | $15-$1,500 | Enjoy dinners, Kentucky trivia, a silent auction, bourbon pull, casino games, and cigar lounge at this party benefiting I would Rather Be Reading programming.

Louisville Urban League Derby Gala | Wednesday, May 3 | 5 p.m. | Norton Healthcare Sports & Learning Center | $350 | Attend this fundraiser for the Louisville Urban League where cocktail or black tie attire is required.

Gallop Gala | Friday, April 21 | 6-10 p.m. | The Galt House | $100-$350 | Dance the night away with The Crashers + eat dinner and participate in a live and silent auction benefiting Down Syndrome of Louisville.

Kentucky Derby Museum Ball | Friday, April 21 | 6 p.m. | Kentucky Derby Museum | $600-$6,500 | Kick off this party with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the Homestretch Club at Churchill Downs Racetrack followed by dinner, dessert, and live music at the museum.

American Lung Association’s 29th annual Derby Eve Gala | Friday, May 5 | 8 p.m. | Seelbach Hilton Hotel | $400 | Help raise funds to support lung cancer research with dinner, a full-service bar, and music by Burning Las Vegas.

Rockin’ Derby Eve | Friday, May 5 | 7:30 p.m. | Paristown | $500 | This all-inclusive after-Oak’s party includes a valet reception, red carpet photos, heavy hors d’oeuvres dinner, an open bar, and tickets to see Dustin Lynch at Paristown Hall.

👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 Family-friendly

Derby Festival FamFest | Friday, April 7 | 4-8 p.m. | Floyd County Family YMCA, New Albany | Free | Explore indoor and outdoor activities like inflatables, face painting, Kentucky Derby-themed arts and crafts, and more.

Block Party | Saturday, April 16 | 10 a.m.-8 p.m. | Norton Healthcare Sports & Learning Center | Free | Grab a bite from a local food truck, shop at a vendor fair, and participate in wellness activities + inflatables, face painting, and an Easter Egg Hunt for the kiddos.

Thunder Over Louisville | Saturday, April 22 | All day | Downtown | Free | Don’t miss this annual airshow and fireworks display that kicks off the Kentucky Derby Festival as a whole — this year’s theme is “Through the Decades.”

Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville | Thursday, April 27-Friday May 5 | Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. + Sundays, 12-10 p.m. | Waterfront Park | Free with Pegasus Pin | Fest-a-Ville is the hub for most pre-Derby celebrations including concerts, the Chow Wagon, carnival rides, and special events.

Great BalloonFest | Friday, April 28-Saturday April, 29 | Multiple times | Multiple locations | See colorful hot air balloons during three different events: Rush Hour Race, Great Balloon Glow, and the Great Balloon Race.

Ohio Valley Wrestling Run for the Ropes | Friday, April 28 | 5:30-7 p.m. | Waterfront Park | Free with Pegasus Pin | Catch six wrestling matches, including an “Every Man for Himself Free-for-All,” with a special meet-and-greet with Ohio Valley Wrestling stars.

Ken-Ducky Derby | Saturday, April 29 | 4 p.m. | Waterfront Park | Free with Pegasus Pin | Watch 46,000 rubber ducks race along the Ohio River to support Harbor House of Louisville.

Exotic Cars and Coffee Car Show | Saturday, April 29 | 4-8 p.m. | Waterfront Park | Free with Pegasus Pin | This is the newest event to the Kentucky Derby Festival and it showcases exotic, muscle, and imported cars from around the region.

Pegasus Parade | Sunday, April 30 | 3 p.m. | West on Broadway from Campbell to 9th Street | Free | Hear marching bands from across the country + see horses, floats, and inflatable characters.

Great Steamboat Race | Wednesday, May 3 | 6 p.m. | Riverfront | Free | See the Belle of Louisville race the Belle of Cincinnati in this two-hour battle of the boats.

Great Bed Races | Monday, May 1 | 6 p.m. | Kentucky Exposition Center | Free with Pegasus Pin | Over 30 teams from local companies come together to race their decorated beds on wheels for our entertainment.

🚲 Active

PNC Tour de Lou | Sunday, April 16 | 8 a.m. | Downtown | $10-$65 | Choose between four different distance options that take riders through Churchill Downs, parks, and scenic neighborhoods.

Kentucky Derby Festival Volleyball Classic | Multiple days | Multiple times | Multiple locations | $40 | Register your team before Friday, April 10 to compete in this tournament.

Neigh-Maste on the Waterfront | Friday, April 28 | 12-1 p.m. | Waterfront Park | Free with Pegasus Pin | Recharge for Derby season at this all-level yoga class with instructors from 502 Power Yoga.

Derby Festival miniMarathon & Marathon | Saturday, April 29 | Downtown | $50-$325 | Sign up for the largest day of road racing in Kentucky that starts at Slugger Field and includes a run through the Churchill Downs’ infield.

🍽️ Eat + drink

They’re Off! Luncheon | Friday, April 21 | 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. | The Galt House | $100 | Hear from the host of “American Ninja Warrior” Matt Iseman while enjoying a seated lunch and cash bar + leave with a goodie bag and Pegasus Pin.

Derby, Drinks, & Dessert Cruise | Friday, April 21 | 3-5 p.m. | Belle of Louisville | $75 | Climb aboard the Belle for Kentucky-inspired desserts, live music by Hot Sauce Brass Band, and horse-racing-themed drinks and activities.

Juleps & Jazz Cruise | Friday, April 14 | 7-9 p.m. | Belle of Louisville | $81 | Ride down the Ohio River with a mint julep in hand followed by a presentation on the Derby drink at the Captain’s Quarter speakeasy with a shot of bourbon and chocolate pairing.

Kentucky Derby Festival BourbonVille | Thursday, April 13 | 6:30-9:30 p.m. | Frazier History Museum | $55-$90 | Sample bourbons at this downtown history museum with bourbon-inspired eats and a commemorative glass.

Taste of Derby Festival | Tuesday, April 25 | 5:30-8 p.m. | Louisville Slugger Field | $90 | Held annual at Slugger Field, this tasting event features 60+ local restaurants, distilleries, and other beverage companies.

Mayor’s Derby Brunch on the River | Sunday, April 30 | 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. | Riverside, the Farnsley-Moremen Landing | $120 | Join Mayor Craig Greenberg and WAVE-2 anchor Dawne Gee for brunch, music, and tours of the historic property.

Sunday Funday Drag Show Brunch | Sunday, April 30 | 1-3 p.m. | Waterfront Park | Free with Pegasus Pin | Catch performances from local queens for free or upgrade to a $150, VIP table for six with $50 in food + drink tickets.

HappyTail Hour | Monday, May 1 | 5-8 p.m. | Waterfront Park | Free with Pegasus Pin | Get your leashed four-legged friend in on the Derby celebrations at this pet-inclusive cocktail event with Metro Animal Services.

Chicken Salad Chick WineFest | Tuesday, May 2 | 6-9 p.m. | Mellwood Art Center | $55-$90 | Try 100+ local wines, appetizers, and leave with an etched souvenir wine glass.


Kroger’s Fest-a-ville will host numerous concerts through Derby season on the Waterfront, which are all free to attend with a Pegasus Pin. Headliners on the 2023 lineup include J.D. Shelburne, Marzz, and AC/DC tribute band Thunderstruck. See the full schedule.