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Spring events happening in and around Louisville, KY

From the Kentucky Derby Festival, to live music, Derby City blossoms this time of year.

Fireworks in the foreground with three shadow figures in the front.

The first Thunder Over Louisville held downtown over the Ohio River was in 1991.

Ready to see LOU in bloom? From live music and Kentucky Derby celebrations to garden shows and seasonal festivals, spring is where Derby City thrives.

Get ready to experience the natural beauty of Louisville and all spring has to offer with this guide featuring 43 spring events happening between March and May.

Festivals

Tailspin Ale Fest | March 2 | 2-7 p.m. | Bowman Field, 3345 Roger E. Schupp St., Louisville | $55 | Drink up at this event featuring local breweries. Just remember, don’t drink and fly, LOU.

St. Patrick’s Parade | March 9 | 3-6 p.m. | 934 Baxter Ave., Louisville | Free | Get in the St. Pat’s spirit at this annual parade, organized by the Ancient Order of the Hibernians.

Burgoo Bash | March 16 | 3-6 p.m. | Louisville Slugger Field, 401 E. Main St., Louisville | $35 | Come hungry — this event features Kentucky’s famous heart stew + cornbread for you to sample. Plus, wash it all down with a local brew.

NuLu Bock Fest & Wurst Fest | March 23 | 12-6 p.m. | 600-700 E. Market St., Louisville | Free | Are you kidding? Goat races, bock beer, and the best wurst around — this event has it all.

Cherokee Triangle Art Fair | April 27-28 | 10 a.m.-6 p.m. | Willow Park, 1403 Cherokee Rd., Louisville | Free | This year marks the 53rd anniversary of the neighborhood festival. Purchase art from local vendors + enjoy local food and drink.

Norton Commons Art Festival | May 18-19 | 11 a.m.-5 p.m. | North Village Town Square, 6324 River Beauty Loop, Prospect | Free | Shop over 100 artisan vendors including painters, jewelry makers, potters, soap milliners, photographers, woodworkers, and more. Local food trucks will be on hand as well.

Old Louisville Spring Fest | May 18 | 10 a.m.-7 p.m. | Toonerville Trolley Park, 1215 S. Brook St., Louisville | Free | Local vendors will be available offering handmade goods for sale. Plus, take in food and live music at this annual neighborhood festival.

Kentucky Shakespeare Festival | May 29-Aug. 11 | Times Vary | Central Park, 1340 S. 4th St., Louisville | Free | See performances of classic Shakespeare plays like “Romeo and Juliet,” “A Comedy of Errors,” and “The Tempest.”

Spring Street Festival | April 13 | 12-10 p.m. | 246 Spring St., Jeffersonville, IN | Free | Eat fare from local food trucks, shop art from vendors, and enjoy live music at this family-friendly street festival.

Spring into Derby Art Market | April 11-14 | Times Vary | Paristown, 720 Brent St., Louisville | Free | Jump into Kentucky Derby season by shopping local + regional art exhibitor pop-ups while listening to live music from The Juice Box Heroes and the Kaintuck Band.

Spring Fling Festival and Car Show | May 18 | 12-3 p.m. | Southwest Family YMCA, 2800 Fordhaven Rd., Louisville | Free | Check out hod rods on “Hot Rod Haven” + bring the kids for bounce houses, games, a Tai Kwon Do presentation, and Zumba.

International Food Truck Festival | May 11 | 11 a.m.-10 p.m. | Big Four Bridge, 1101 River Rd., Louisville | Free | Sample cuisines from all over the world + experience cultural performances.

Portland Festival | May 31-June 1 | 3329 Northwestern Pkwy., Louisville | Free | This annual spring festival was moved to fall last year, but will return to its traditional time in 2024. Enjoy carnival fare + rides.

Wild Lights at the Louisville Zoo | March 23-May 19 | 7-11 p.m. | Louisville Zoo, 1100 Trevilian Way, Louisville | $17-$26 | Enjoy vibrant colors + lights evoking coral reefs at this annual lantern experience.

KMAC Couture | April 13 | 7:15 p.m. | KMAC Contemporary Art Museum, 715 W. Main St., Louisville | $100-$380 | Watch models take the runway in this wearable live art show, which is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the museum.

BelleofLou_6_26_21_-48 copy

The Belle of Louisville competes annually in the Great Steamboat Race.

| Photo by Belle of Louisville Riverboats

Kentucky Derby Festival

The month leading up to the Kentucky Derby is when Louisville flies highest and loudest. From Thunder Over Louisville to Great Balloon Race, there are ~70 events during the annual Kentucky Derby Festival. Entry to several events comes with a pegasus pin, which can be purchased for $7 in advance or $10 at entry.

Bourbonville | April 11 | 6:30-9:30 p.m. | Frazier History Museum, 829 W. Main St., Louisville | $75-$125 | Mix and mingle with other bourbon enthusiasts while enjoying signature cocktails from Kentucky distilleries.

Block Party | April 13 | 10 a.m.-8 p.m. | Norton Healthcare Sports & Learning Center, 3029 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd., Louisville | Free | Enjoy 20 food trucks + entertainment, including live music, visual artists, DJs, dancers, poets, theater acts, spoken word, and comedy.

Fillies Derby Ball | Galt House Hotel Grand Ballroom, 140 N. 4th St., Louisville | $250-$3,500 | Get dressed up for an evening of “Old Hollywood Glam” + dance to live music from Radiotronic.

Tour de Lou | April 14 | 8 a.m. | NuLu Marketplace, 823 E. Market St. | Free | Watch cyclists compete in four different events, including the 62.1 mile metric century.

Taste of Derby Festival | 5:30-8 p.m. | Louisville Slugger Field, 401 E. Main St., Louisville | $90 | Sample the best LOU’s foodie scene has to offer with dishes from ~50 restaurants. All proceeds from the event benefit the Dare to Care Food Bank.

Volleyball Classic | April 20-21 + 27-28 | Baxter Jacks, 427 Baxter Ave., Louisville + Seneca Park, 3151 Pee Wee Reese Rd., Louisville | Free | Watch teams compete in one of the largest and oldest outdoor volleyball tournaments in the country in both sand and grass categories.

Thunder Over Louisville | April 20 | 11 a.m. (Fireworks at 9:30 p.m.) | Ohio Riverfront | Free | This annual fireworks + air show is so well attended it’s even more popular than the Kentucky Derby itself.

Fest-a-ville + Chow Wagon | April 25-May 3 | 11 a.m.-11 p.m. (12-10 p.m. on Sunday) | Waterfront Park, 231 E. Witherspoon St., Louisville | $7-$10 | Hear live music + enjoy entertainment like wrestling while you chow down on carnival fare like elephant ears, corndogs, and burgers.

Great Balloon Fest | April 25-27 | Times Vary | Multiple locations | $7-$10 | This event is an annual tradition in Louisville — and we’re not blowing hot air. See the hot air balloons in full glow, then look up as they race in the sky.

Pegasus Parade | April 28 | 3 p.m. | West on Broadway, 9th Street to Campbell Street, Louisville | Free | See some of the finest marching bands and equestrian units in the US march along downtown Louisville’s streets.

Great Bed Races | April 29 | 6 p.m. | Kentucky Exposition Center, 937 Phillips Ln., Louisville | $7-$10 | A bed on wheels? That would make getting up in the morning easier. These comical races feature beds outfitted like race cars.

WineFest | April 30 | 6-9 p.m. | Mellwood Art Center, 1860 Mellwood Ave., Louisville | $75-$125 | Sip wines from ~75 Kentucky-based wineries.

Great Steamboat Race | May 1 | 6 p.m. | Ohio Riverfront | Free | A Derby City tradition since 1963, see the Belle of Louisville take on a challenger from up the Ohio River.

2024 PGA Championship

Valhalla opened in 1986 and has hosted several PGA events, including the 2008 Ryder Cup + three PGA Championships.

Photo by PGA of America/Valhalla Golf Club

Sporting Events

Kentucky Derby Week | April 27-May 4 | Times vary | Churchill Downs, 700 Central Ave., Louisville | Prices vary | It’s not just the Oaks and Derby this time of year. Race days this week include 502’s Day + Thurby, where locals come out to celebrate the season.

Kentucky Oaks Day | May 3 | 9 a.m. | Churchill Downs, 700 Central Ave., Louisville | Prices vary | Wear pink and cheer on the fillies as they compete for the Garland of Lillies.

Kentucky Derby Day | May 4 | 9 a.m. | Churchill Downs, 700 Central Ave., Louisville | Prices vary | This year’s Derby will be 150th running of the iconic race. Don’t blink — it’s not called the “Fastest Two Minutes in Sports” for nothing.

PGA Championship | May 16-19 | Times vary | Valhalla Golf Club, 15503 Shelbyville Rd., Louisville | $282-$336 | The world’s best golfers will descend on Derby City to compete for one of the sport’s four major titles.

Gardening

Paristown Garden Show | April 6 | 10 a.m.-5 p.m. | Paristown, 720 Brent St., Louisville | Free | Get your garden ready with plants, flowers, and garden decor for sale + hear from expert speakers.

Beechmont Festival of Flowers | May 11 | 9 a.m.-3 p.m. | Southern Parkway and West Wellington Avenue | Free | Browse a large selection of flowers, herbs, perennials, and hanging baskets, all for sale.

Locust Grove Gardeners’ Fair | May 13-14 | 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. | Locust Grove, 561 Blankenbaker Ln., Louisville | $4-$8 | Shop over 30 vendors, selling plants, flowers, vegetables, gardening tools, art, and more. Plus, enjoy animal demonstrations to get a sense of farm life.

Bernheim Bloom Fest | May 18 | 11 a.m.-3 p.m. | Bernheim Forest, 2075 Clermont Rd., Clermont | Free | It’s an annual celebration of spring — this festival features activities for children like arts and crafts, garden faerie house construction, and live music.

Yarden Party | May 18 | 10 a.m. | Louisville Slugger Field, 401 E. Main St., Louisville | Free | Looking to get a backyard garden started? Swap plants, get free seeds, and ask gardening related questions at this event.

Live Music

Abbey Road on the River | May 23-27 | Times vary | Big Four Station Park, 228 Spring St., Jeffersonville, IN | $30-$299 | Fans of the “Fab Four” come together each year at the foot of the Big Four Bridge to jam to renditions of classic Beatles songs.

Uncle Boojie’s Roots Revue | May 24 | 3-11 p.m. | Old Forester’s Paristown Hall, 731 Brent St., Louisville | $10-$85 | This new festival will strum its way into your heart with several Bluegrass acts.

Gazebo Festival | May 25-26 | Time TBD | Great Lawn at Waterfront Park, 231 E. Witherspoon St., Louisville | $255 | Louisvillian Jack Harlow will headline this new Memorial Day weekend festival along with SZA.

Poorcastle Festival | May 17-19 | Breslin Park, 1400 Payne St., Louisville | $25 | This “Festival for the Rest of Us” is celebrating 10 years in 2024. In fact, it’s outlived the festival it spoofed — Forecastle Festival.

WFPK Waterfront Wednesdays | April 24-September 25 | 5 p.m. | Big Four Lawn, 1101 E. River Rd., Louisville | Free | Nationally touring acts make stops at this annual spring + summer concert series, which has taken place annually since 2002.

Forest Fest | May 18 | Time TBD | Jefferson Memorial Forest, 11311 Mitchell Hill Rd., Fairdale | Free | This Bluegrass music festival will feature Relaay, The Montvales, The Wheelhouse Rousters and several other acts this year.

Bonus: Check out our list of must-see concerts this year.

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