LOUISVILLE, Ky. — We are 101 days from Thunder Over Louisville and Wednesday the Kentucky Derby Festival announced it is preparing for a return to live and in-person events for 2022. 

What You Need To Know

  • Kentucky Derby Festival is planning live, in-person events for 2022

  • KDF released key event dates

  • The Pegasus Parade is moving from Thursday to Sunday of Derby Week

  • Thunder Over Louisville is April 23

KDF released dates for its key events. There are more than 70 events planned each year. Thunder is often considered the official kick off to the Kentucky Derby Festival and it returns on April 23. In 2021, KDF produced a number of events without spectators and they are ready to return to its traditional roots.

“We’re looking forward to spring and being able to gather safely again to enjoy our favorite Kentucky traditions,” said Matt Gibson, Kentucky Derby Festival President and CEO. “The past couple of years has given us all a new perspective and that’s been a driving force for the Festival as we’ve been planning for 2022 and beyond.”

KDF learned a few things over the past pandemic years and they are planning some changes with fans in mind.

Many don't know that the Pegasus Parde is the founding event of the Kentucky Derby Festival. Gibson said in a statement, “As we traveled around the community last spring, we learned attending a parade during the workweek is challenging for our fans, so we’re trying something new this year.” 

Instead of taking place in the middle of the week KDF is moving the parade to Sunday, May 1 to kick off Derby week. The parade will still roll down Broadway in downtown Louisville.

The Zoeller Pump Company Touring Parade — a smaller traveling parade — is back in 2022 after a successful debut last year. The touring parade will happen on Saturday, April 2. 

Here is a look at the events and dates released by KDF.

More event details will be released in the coming weeks and months.

KDF events follow local, state and federal COVID-19 safety protocols to make sure everyone remains safe.