Tag Archives: Kentucky Derby Festival

Thunder over Louisville 2015

WHAT: Thunder over Louisville 2015
WHEN: Saturday 18th April 2015
COST: FREE (but you will need to buy a 2015 pegasus pin to gain access to all areas)

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:


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.


Thunder Over Louisville explained

WHAT: Thunder over Louisville
WHERE: Louisville, Ohio River
WHEN: Saturday 17th April 2010
WHAT TIME: 9:30pm – 10:00pm

Thunder over Louisville is an annual event that kick-starts the Kentucky Derby in spectacular style, with the largest fireworks display in North America.

28 minutes of non-stop fireworks filled in with multiple finales and a varying soundtrack to give everyone something to enjoy. Part of the idea behind the show is that every section in it is a finale. The theory is the more finales the better! Who are we to argue!

So how do they create this spectacle for the senses? Well, there are a few simple ingredients involved.

  • 60 tons of fireworks
  • 56,215 shells
  • 700 miles of cable
  • 250 tons of launching tubes
  • 1,800 feet of barges
  • 907,200 kilos of sand
  • 2 miles of waterfall
  • 8 x 400 foot long barges
  • 28 minutes of madness
  • 500,000 spectators
  • 21 years of expectation

All rigged up and set off by the Zambelli Family, America’s first family of fireworks who have been involved in the show for the past 18 of its 21 year history.

This years song list has 51 tunes designed to have a little something for everyone including “Night Fever” by the Bee Gees, the classic “Blame it on the Boogie” and the contemporary “Just Dance” by Lady Gaga. One song that is included every year is the inspirational “When you wish upon a star” which lends itself well to fireworks displays for obvious reasons.

The Thunder over Louisville is the start to the Kentucky Derby Festival which sees 2 weeks of celebrations in Louisville, Kentucky and Southern Indiana and also features some incredible aerobatics from over 100 planes with daring sky diving teams and breathtaking stunts, the aerial antics start at 3pm. However the highlight, of course, is the fireworks!

Air Show Thunder Over Louisville 2009