All Louisville residents know that Thunder Over Louisville marks the beginning for all the hoopla that comes with the Kentucky Derby. While Derby is not the only thing that Kentuckians know how to do, it is something that we Louisville residents prepare for in our own special way. Thunder Over Louisville, the largest fireworks display in North America, is a week early this year, and I don’t think anyone is complaining. With the insanely brutal winter this city has seen, and the weekend weather forecast looking beautiful, I have a feeling that residents will be out in full force this weekend to watch the air show and the fireworks. If you attended the St Patrick’s Parade, then you know that anything with decent weather this year will probably produce a record crowd. So how do you get to enjoy the festivities without driving yourself crazy?
Louisville Slugger Field
One of the best places to be for the whole day of Thunder is Louisville Slugger Field. Not only is there a baseball game at 2:05 pm for fans like me, but Slugger Field is an amazing venue for watching the air show and the fireworks. Your ticket is good all day and not just for the duration of the game. Some highlights? Real restrooms, food vendors for days, plenty of beverage options, parking lots and parking garages, and more entertainment for the kids than you can shake a stick at. Tickets are between $20 and $40, and it’s worth it just to have your own seat and a nice restroom. You can find me in section 128. Come say hi!
Got a building?
I recognize that not everyone has a friend or family member who works or lives right on the Ohio River, but if you do some asking around, you might be surprised. A few years ago I was able to watch Thunder Over Louisville from one of the top floors at Waterfront Park Place, and I cannot stress enough how much of an experience this is. If someone around you is talking about being up there for the fireworks you may just want to work your way into their conversation and into their plans. An elevated position over the entire fireworks show is hard to beat, plus it takes you away from some of the more “enthusiastic” patrons of Thunder, and allows you to be with your own group. Likewise, find someone with a cool office location downtown, I’m sure they plan to use it for the show.
Waterfront Park is not exactly the best way to escape the madness, but definitely a great option for viewing the entire show. If you’re going to Waterfront Park to watch Thunder Over Louisville, then you will want to get there early for the air show. I would park in the lot across the street from Slugger Field and walk over to the park. If you are only attending the fireworks, you will most likely have to park in the garage at the Yum! Center. I have always made it a point to setup camp near Joe’s Crab Shack with an unobstructed view of the Second St bridge. This is also strategically located near the area where you can find 502 Cafe, BBQ awesomeness. Viewing the fireworks from there is fabulous, however it will take a few extra minutes to get away when it’s time to leave.
Traffic will be a bit crazy. People will be a bit crazy. But remember that this is all supposed to be fun and we are lucky to have such a great city and a great festival to be a part of! Keep calm, and enjoy the grand beginning of the most wonderful time of year!
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