Category Archives: Thunder Over Louisville

THUNDER OVER LOUISVILLE 2020

WHAT: THUNDER OVER LOUISVILLE 2020
WHY: FIREWORK AND AIRSHOW EVENT
WHEN: 18TH APRIL 2020
WHERE: WATERFRONT PARK, LOUISVILLE
COST: FREE

Reportedly ‘the largest annual fireworks display in North America’, Thunder Over Louisville has been a part of the annual entertainment in the region since it started back in 1988. Initially, a small event which featured only daytime fireworks; that was soon to change. In 1991, one of the USA’s first firework families, Zambelli Fireworks Internationale, got involved and the rest they say is history.

At the outset, fireworks were an important part of the proceedings and in 1991, they launched around 4000 shells. By 1996, the same number of shells (4000) were launched in the first minute as were used in total in 1990. Today, Thunder Over Louisville brings around 700,000 spectators to see the 60,000 shells launched from eight, 400 feet long barges and the bridge over the Ohio River.

The firework display is HUGE and lasts around 30 minutes and last year, they really tricked everyone who was not used to seeing the display, as they used a false finale, dropped it right back and then BOOOM, ‘the Gargantuan’, which is the local’s name for the super finale filled the skies thrilling and in some cases shocking the audience.

Spectator numbers do not include locals who hold huge rooftop parties around the City where they have a clear view of the firework display, so the real number of spectators is probably closer to the million mark.

Thunder Over Louisville 2013

The theme for this year is ‘Thunder’s Greatest Hits’ where organisers are going to put together all the greatest hits of events in the last 30 years so it is going to be a thriller as the reason for the name ‘Thunder Over Louisville’ was in a nod to Days of Thunder, a fabulous racing film from 1990, starring Tom Cruise alongside an all star cast.

The fireworks are of course the main reason for attending the event but the daytime is packed with aviation specialists from the armed forces and is another show not to be missed. There will be attractions, food concessions and all manner of entertainment around throughout the day and into the late evening.

The event is only made possible because of the generosity of the fabulous sponsors maintaining this as a free event for the entertainment of everyone.

The aviation demonstrations are from the following:

  • US NAVY F35 DEMO
  • US AIRFORCE F16 VIPER DEMO
  • US MARINE CORPS MV22 OSPREY DEMO
  • US ARMY GOLDEN KNIGHTS PARACHUTE DISPLAY TEAM
  • WILD BLUE RV8 – TRIBUTE SHOW TO FIRST RESPONDERS

A great day out. Check out the video of the fireworks from 2018.

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Thunder over Louisville 2015

WHAT: Thunder over Louisville 2015
WHEN: Saturday 18th April 2015
WHERE: LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY
COST: FREE (but you will need to buy a 2015 pegasus pin to gain access to all areas)
WHY: THE EVENT MARKS THE START OF THE KENTUCKY DERBY
THEME: BOOM WITH A VIEW

There is little more loved than a combination of things most of us know and love – Music and of course beautiful fireworks. With some instantly recognisable tunes, it would be rude not to sing along. This years theme ‘Boom with a View’ heralds the 30 minute show packed with the biggest and brightest professional display fireworks arguably in the USA.

The annual fireworks display is one of the largest of its kind in the USA and is said to set the scene for the forthcoming Derby Festival, the home of the world-famous Kentucky Derby.

The event, which began way back in 1990, uses an average of 25 tonnes of pyro which is laid out on multiple barges on the river as well as lining the banks and on the bridge which spans the beautiful Ohio River. The organisers established from the first ever show that it should be the ‘pinnacle of pyrotechnics’ and ‘every sequence should be of the same power and intensity of a finale’ and they have never been let down.

The fireworks this year are once again being handled by one of the firework industry’s forerunners, Zambelli International. No strangers to pyro-musical, this team are world leaders in technical innovation and are responsible for some arguably the most beautiful displays in the World and they choreograph and create over 1600 shows annually to the delight of tens of thousands of people.

Zambelli Fireworks set up in business when they moved from their native Italy 120 years ago and they have never looked back. The Italian companies favour bright rich reds, oranges and greens so they will be bright and colourful. Last year they filled the sky with an enormous number of HUGE shell bursts so if they are planning to get bigger and better then get ready. The music selection vary widely from classical to rock with a smattering of show tunes in for good measure but the surprise is that although it is held in Kentucky there was no ‘Country Music’ included but perhaps the cadence is not right.

Thunder Over Louisville was moved in 1991 and grew and grew. In 1997, they added an airshow into the mix and today, it remains one of the biggest events in the firework calendar. Packed with varied entertainment from the air show to fireworks, kids play area and pony rides, bouncy castles and face painting to name just a smattering of what is on offer.

Holding the event costs a not inconsiderable $1 million but it generates $56 million in return for the local business community and charitable causes so worth every dime.

Check out the video footage from last years event:

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Thunder Over Louisville 2014

What: Thunder over Louisville
Where: Louisville, Kentucky, USA
When: 12th April – 2nd May 2014

25 years on and “Thunder of Louisville” remains the Largest pyrotechnic event in North America.

Since 1991 Zambelli fireworks have organised the show to celebrate the Kentucky Derby Festival. Sadly, this years event will not have some of the old input following the death of one of the business founders, Lou Zambelli earlier this year who only retired from the family business in December 2013.

With over 60 tons of fireworks this year, this is a show you not only watch but feel as the concrete bases around the spectator’s area vibrate as the shells, some up to one and a half feet in diameter break high above.

The show comprises of 8 massive tractor trailers which hold the launch tubes, some up to 10 feet high and 18 inches in diameter. A staggering 700 miles of cables are painstakingly wired to over 20 firing boards to make up the 28-minute spectacular making the main display bigger than the Barcelona & Atlanta Olympics combined.

There will be literally hundreds of things to do and see throughout the duration of the event from the ‘million dollar hole in one’ competition to a ‘mini fun run’.

As always local radio station LITE on 106.9 WVEZ will be transmitting the show in full.

We will bring you some shots of this year’s Thunder when they become available.

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