It’s not all about the Derby in April — well maybe it’s 75 percent Derby, but who’s counting? This is the magical season that Louisvillians wait for all year-round!
April 2, 2016: Louisville City v. New York Red Bulls
The Louisville City FC will open the season against the New York Red Bulls at Louisville Slugger Field. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. The Derby City Ultras, an unabashedly independent supporters’ group, will host a pancake brunch tailgate prior to the home opener. There is no charge for the tailgate. You simply need to bring yourself, some butter, syrup, orange juice, sausages or other breakfast items if you can. The tailgate will take place in the parking lot off Washington St., right across from Louisville Slugger Field.
April 7, 2016: Big Brims and Fancy Trims
Derby will be here before you know it. Have you picked out that perfect hat? The Kentucky Derby Museum can help out with their Big Brims and Fancy Trims Derby Hat Sample Sale. Over 200 Derby hats will be available as well as the Kentucky Derby Museum 2016 hat collection. Most are priced at $30 and none are over $75. Tickets for entry from 5-7 p.m. are $10, or $5 for museum members. It’s not just all about the hats, y’all. Indulge in two complimentary glasses of wine, live music, local boutiques, hors d’oeuvres and cash bar, hat contest and door prizes.
April 8 – 9, 2016: Louisville Ballet’s Balanchine
The Louisville Ballet is celebrating the work of American Ballet Master, George Balanchine on April 8 and 9 at The Brown Theatre. Continuing the commitment to include his work each season, the entire performance is dedicated to the artistry of George Balanchine. Tickets start at $35 and can be purchased at kentuckycenter.org. For more information, click here: louisvilleballet.org
April 9, 2016: Garth Brooks World Tour
Louisville, get ready for the Garth Experience. The No. 1 best selling recording artist in U.S. history is making his return to Louisville for the first time in 18 years. Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood will perform at the KFC Yum! Center on Saturday, April 9 at 8 p.m.
April 10, 2016: Alton Brown Live: Eat Your Science
Food Network Star Alton Brown is hitting the road and bringing his Eat Your Science tour to cities across the country. There will be comedy, talk show antics, multimedia presentations and music. Brown has a knack for mixing together a perfect base of science, music and food into two hours of pure entertainment. Tickets start at $30 and can be purchased from the Kentucky Center for the Arts website.
April 15, 2016: Belle Chapeau
Have you found the perfect Oaks or Derby hat? No worries. Belle Chapeau, a pop up hat and fascinator boutique at Churchill Downs, will help you find the perfect one. There will be wine, cheese and dessert available. All proceeds will benefit Mom’s Closet. Tickets are $25.
April 16, 2016: Maker’s Mark Handcraft Festival
Maker’s Mark hosts the fourth annual Handcraft Festival at their Loretto distillery on Saturday, April 16, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Artists and craftspeople, food trucks, cocktail classes, live music and, most importantly, BOURBON, will be on hand. The event will take place at Maker’s Mark Distillery, 3350 Burks Spring Road. This event is open to the public and draws quite a crowd, with about 5,000 people expected to attend.
April 16, 2016: GonzoFest
Each year, Louisville celebrates its most famous literary son, Hunter S. Thompson, with GonzoFest on Waterfront Parks’ Big Four Lawn. This year, GonzoFest will be held on Saturday, April 16 at 1 p.m. The musical and spoken word lineup will features local and national acts including Fly Golden Eagle, Natural Child, Chrome Pony and more. There will be craft vendors, food, liquor, beer and a non-fiction literary contest and satirical political portrait art contest. Tickets to the event are $20 and can be purchased online.
April 16, 2016: Fillies Derby Ball
The Fillies Derby Ball is where you will find REAL Kentucky royalty, for it’s on this night that the queen of the Derby Festival is crowned. The coronation, dinner and dancing will be held at Louisville Marriott Downtown.
April 16, 2016: KMAC Couture
Art Walks the Runway in this fourth annual KMAC Couture fashion show on Saturday, April 16, where designers use unusual items to create one-of-a-kind couture clothing. This is an amazing display of talent each year, with designers getting more and more creative with every outfit and every show. Tickets start at $175. Suggested Dress Code: Shades of White. For more information, click here: kmacmuseum.org
April 16 – 24, 2016: Give A Day
Surely, you can give just a few hours, maybe one day or even more for a volunteer service project. The mayor created Give A Day week of service five years ago, and it has been a great hit in our community ever since. There are already plenty of organized volunteer activities in which you can participate. Or, feel free to organize your own project, donate blood or give a meal. Every act of kindness counts in this compassionate city. Click here for more information: www.mygiveaday.com.
April 20, 2016: Justin Bieber “Purpose World Tour”
Bieber Fever is stronger than ever with the huge success of “Sorry” and “What Do You Mean” off Justin’s new album “Purpose”. He will be making a stop on his Purpose World Tour at the KFC Yum! Center on Wednesday, April 20 at 7:30 p.m.
April 21, 2016: Hats for Hope
Kosair Charities is hosting Hats for Hope to raise awareness and support the fight against breast cancer. Guests can enjoy a fun evening featuring a silent auction of over 300 Derby hats, gift baskets and many other donated items and services. Sip on signature pink drinks and indulge in hors d’oeuvres and desserts.
April 22, 2016: They’re Off! Luncheon
Friday, April 22, is the luncheon nobody wants to miss, because with it, the Derby has officially begun. The 60th annual They’re Off! luncheon will be held at the Galt House Hotel. Do what everyone else does: Go to the luncheon and take the rest of the day off. (Only kidding.)
April 23, 2016: Thunder Over Louisville
Thunder Over Louisville is the official kickoff of Derby, even though it is two weeks before the event. The air show and fireworks are something to look forward to all year. Whether you watch from Waterfront Park, a downtown venue, on television or from your own secret viewing spot (as many of us do), everyone watches. For more information, visit their website: thunderoverlouisville.org.
April 28 – 30, 2016: U. S. Bank Great BalloonFest
One of the best things about Derby is not the horses, it’s looking up in the sky and seeing a fleet of hot air balloons gliding across the Louisville horizon. The official balloon activities include the Balloon Glimmer, Balloon Rush-Hour Race, Great Balloon Glow, and the Great Balloon Race. Keep your eye on the sky the week before as you might see a few ballooons “practicing” .” Check out their website for more information: discover.kdf.org.
April 28 – May 6, 2016: Chow Wagon and Fest-a-ville on the Waterfront
The Chow Wagon, where diets be damned for two weeks, opens up Thursday, April 28, along with Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront. This boils down to great food (think elephant ears and meat-on-a-stick) paired with different live entertainment every night. This is open through Friday, May 6, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. For more information, click here: discover.kdf.org.
April 30, 2016: Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon and Mini-Marathon
It’s the moment you runners have been training for all winter, through the snow, the aches and the subzero temperatures. The mini-marathon and marathon will be held on Saturday, April 30. If you are not a runner yourself, be sure and go out to support those that are, as it means so much to them. For more information, click here: derbyfestivalmarathon.com.
April 30, 2016: Opening Night at Churchill Downs
It’s the most wonderful time of the year in Louisville. Kick off Derby Week by attending Opening Night at Churchill Downs on Saturday, April 30 at 5 p.m. Through a new partnership with the Fund for the Arts, there will be arts performances throughout the facility for fans to enjoy. Opening Night will be promoting and raising funds for Louisville’s arts community. For more information, click here: kentuckyderby.com
April 30, 2016: Louisville Inaugural Awards in the Arts
Opening Night, presented by Stella Artois and Old Forester, the Fund for the Arts in conjunction with the Jennifer Lawrence Foundation and Churchill Downs will present the inaugural Louisville Awards in the Arts as a separate, ticketed event in the Stakes Room. The event will recognize local artists and arts supporters. A portion of the proceeds from Opening Night will benefit the Fund for the Arts. For more information, click here: www.fundforthearts.org.
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