And they’re off!
That’s how May always starts, with the most popular day of the year in Kentucky being the first Saturday, otherwise known as THE DERBY. Louisvillians coast the rest of May, enjoying Mother’s Day, graduations and Memorial Day weekend in the warmer weather. Here’s what is happening around town for the month.
May 1, 2016: Derby Party for the Backside @ Ward 426
There are countless Derby parties and events across Louisville, but the ones who don’t get to join in on the fun are those who make the Derby possible. The Backside Learning Center is hosting a Derby Party at Ward 426 on Sunday, May 1, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m., to celebrate the tireless efforts of their students and the equine workers at Churchill Downs. The event will consist of live music and dancing with Appalatin, a pig roast and taco bar, and happy hour prices on drinks. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door. For more information and to purchase your tickets, click here: backsidelearningcenter.org
May 2, 2016: Great Bed Races
If you are lucky enough to work for a company that participates in this race, well, the rest of us are jealous. Bed races are quite simply that. Five-man teams rig beds with wheels and try to push them around a track without crashing or collapsing. The Thorntons Great Bed Races will take place Monday, May 2, with the parade of beds at 6 p.m. and the race at 7 p.m. Can’t go? Well, it’s always shown live on WAVE-TV. Awards are given to the winner, as well as the worst drivers, and the best decorated, so everyone wins here. For more information, click here: discover.kdf.org.
May 4, 2016: Great Steamboat Race
Always held on the Wednesday before Derby, the Great Steamboat Race pits the venerated Belle of Louisville against the Belle of Cincinnati, racing on the Ohio River. For Louisvillians, this day is the last day you will “work” until the Monday after Derby. Some people get tickets on the boats; others watch from the Riverfront. No matter the winner, it’s always fun. For tickets and more information, click here: discover.kdf.org.
May 5, 2016: Pegasus Parade
If there were a bucket list for all things Derby, this would certainly be on it. Thursday, May 5, is the annual Republic Bank Pegasus Parade, starting at 5 p.m. on Broadway. This is a great event for the whole family, as well as a great way to see all the celebrities in town for the Derby. Fun Fact: this parade is the oldest event of the Kentucky Derby Festival. This year’s Grand Marshal will be Jordan Smith, Season 9 winner of NBC’s The Voice. For more information, click here: discover.kdf.org.
May 5, 2016: Thurby
Thurby is what Oaks used to be to local Louisvillians. A day to call our own without all the tourists. There’s great racing, specialty bourbon cocktails and a sneak peek at the Derby contenders. This is a favorite day to go to the track. For tickets, click here: www.churchilldowns.com
May 5, 2016: Ferdinand’s Ball
Help ensure that the great thoroughbred horses get to live long and peaceful lives by going to Ferdinand’s Ball on Thursday, May 5. This event has a dual purpose as it is a fundraiser for the Old Friends Equine Retirement facility, which rehabilitates and houses retired thoroughbreds, and for the Muhammad Ali Center, which promotes peace, hope and respect. There will be dinner, dancing, and live and silent auctions. Tickets start at $175. For more information, click here: ferdinandsball.com.
May 5, 2016: Dawn at the Downs
Each Derby season, locals and out of town Derby fans are given the chance to see the contenders train for the big race, while listening to expert commentary at Dawn at the Downs. This popular tradition is narrated by ESPN and CNN contributor, Gary West, alongside resident expert handicapper, Joe Kristufek. On Thursday, May 5, at 7 a.m., the two will announce the horses on the track, evaluate their workouts, discuss past performances and lend insight into this year’s Kentucky Oaks and Derby races. Tickets start at $37. For more information and to purchase your tickets, click here: kentuckyderby.com
May 6, 2016: Fillies and Stallions
Fillies and Stallions is entering it’s 6th year and is no longer Louisville’s best kept Derby weekend secret. Louisville’s signature celebrity social event is held annually on Derby Eve and features a 40 foot red carpet complete with paparazzi. Keeping the music going late into the night will be DJs Ryan Coxx, Benny, and Etrayn. For more information, inquiries and guest list consideration, click here: filliesandstallions.com
May 6, 2016: Unbridled Eve
Friday, May 6, is The Unbridled Eve Gala at the Galt House starting at 8 p.m. This gala is a fundraiser for Blessings in a Backpack, an organization that fights childhood hunger by providing needy elementary school students a backpack of food to take home on the weekends. A portion of proceeds from this year’s event will go to ten other charities. Unbridled Eve is co-chaired by the York Sisters, Tonya York Dees and Tammy York Day. For tickets and more information, click here: www.unbridledeve.com
May 6, 2016: Kentucky Oaks 142
Let’s hear it for the girls! Watch the fillies race for the lilies in the Kentucky Oaks. This great day of racing is the day before Derby, on Friday, May 6, in case you didn’t know. Don’t forget to try the signature drink, the Grey Goose Oaks Lily. Most importantly, don’t forget to wear your pink in support of 142 cancer survivors who will walk in the Kentucky Oaks Survivors Parade presented by Kroger and in support of Churchill Downs’ partnership with Bright Pink and Horses and Hope. Click here for tickets: www.derbymuseum.org
May 6, 2016: Derby City BrewFest
On Derby Eve, the Second Annual Derby City Brewfest will be held at the KFC Yum! Center Plaza at 5 p.m. There will be local craft breweries, a Four Roses Bourbon Barrel beer contest and live music from Uncommon Houseflies, Whiskey Bent Valley Boys, Jericho Woods, Quiet Hollers and Hot Brown Smackdown. For information on admission prices and food and drink tickets, click here: derbycitybrewfest.com
May 7, 2016: Kentucky Derby 142
The first Saturday in May is sacred here in Kentucky. The Derby is an experience like no other. Don’t miss a chance to be a part of the action on Saturday, May 7, and be sure to wear your best frock and hat. Check out all the articles on our site to catch you up to speed on what to wear and how to do Derby right. For tickets, click here: www.kentuckyderby.com
May 8, 2016: Mother’s Day 5K Run/Walk
Do something different with mom this Mother’s Day. On Sunday, May 8 at 8:30 a.m., celebrate your mom with family and friends by running or walking on the paths of Waterfront Park for the Mother’s Day 5K. There is a rose for every finisher and cake pops waiting for you at the finish line. Don’t forget to bring the kids for the 100-meter kids dash. For more information and to register you and your mom, click here: louisvillemothersday5k.com
** take a breath Louisville**
May 14, 2016: Girls on the Run 5K
The Girls on the Run 5k will be held at 12:30 p.m. on the Festival Plaza at Waterfront Park. Runner check-in and activities including a DJ, Happy Hair Stations and special appearances will begin at 11:30 a.m. The course will loop through the park and offer beautiful views of Downtown Louisville. Standard registration of $20 is available until Thursday, May 12. On-site registration will be $25. For more information and to register, click here: gotrlouisville.org
May 21, 2016: Great Strides
The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Kentucky and Southern Indiana is hosting the 2016 Great Strides 5k on Saturday, May 21, at Louisville Slugger Field. Participating in the event is a great way for the community to get involved with a great cause. The day will be filled with family-oriented events, a healthy 5k walk, children’s activities, food and festivities. For more information and to get involved, click here: fightcf.cff.org
May 21 – 22, 2016: VIPS Tennis Ball and Tournament
Visually Impaired Preschool Services (VIPS) is putting on it’s 5th annual VIPS Tennis Ball and Tournament presented by Brown-Forman at the Louisville Boat Club. The weekend will begin with an elegant dinner, auction and live music. The fun doesn’t stop there! The next day there will be a doubles tennis tournament. This event raises nearly $150,000 for VIPS, which provides early intervention services to young children across Kentucky and Indiana who are blind or visually impaired. A doubles team is $400 and Ball tickets are $100 per person. For more information, click here: vips.org
May 21, 2016: Walk MS Louisville
Walk MS Louisville 2016 is taking place on May 21 at 8 a.m., at the Louisville Water Tower. Walk MS helps the National MS Society of Kentucky and Southeast Indiana team up with friends, loved ones and co-workers to change the world for those affected by MS. Ending multiple sclerosis for good is going to take a team effort and this walk is one more step in the right direction. For more information, to register, donate or start a team, click here: main.nationalmssociety.org
May 22, 2016: Buy Local Fair
The eighth annual Buy Local Fair, hosted by Louisville Independent Business Allliance, will be held at the Louisville Water Tower Park on May 22, from noon to 6 p.m. Local businesses, farmers, artists and musicians will be on hand providing food, drink and entertainment. Admission is free and it is $5 per car to park. For more information, click here: keeplouisvilleweird.com
May 26 – 30, 2016: Abbey Road on the River
It’s hard to believe it’s not really The Beatles performing live when you attend Abbey Road on the River every year. This is the world’s largest Beatles-inspired tribute festival and is held at Belvedere Festival Park and Muhammad Ali Center. Come see more than 50 bands over Memorial Day weekend from May 26 to May 30. For this year’s lineup and ticket information, visit www.arotr.com.
May 28, 2016: Kenny Chesney’s “Spread the Love Tour”
Country music icon Kenny Chesney is heading out on his Summer 2016 “Spread the Love Tour”. The country star has tapped big names, Miranda Lambert, Sam Hunt and Old Dominion to come along and join in on the fun. The concert will be held on Saturday, May 28 at Papa Johns Cardinal Stadium beginning at 5 p.m. Tickets start at $41 and can be purchased here: ticketmaster.com
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