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Thunder Over Louisville Feeds Spring Fever

Sure the daffodils and forsythia are out, the trees are budding and the redbuds starting to bloom. But it’s not really spring in Louisville until Thunder arrives.

Thunder Over Louisville – just plain “Thunder” to the locals – is a major air show and fireworks display designed to kick off the annual Kentucky Derby Festival. Centered at Waterfront Park, it marks the first time in the year that you and 500,000 of your friends can break out the lawn chairs, blankets and sunscreen and spend the day soaking in the sights and sounds.

Thunder is basically an over-the-top Fourth of July celebration held in April. That means some years it’s awesome in the sunshine and other years … Well the crowds come, rain or shine, because both the Air Show and the Fireworks are one of the top shows in the nation.

The huge crowd streams downtown during the morning to secure their Thunder spots and get set up for an afternoon and evening celebrated outside. TV stations do day-long live coverage. Louisville’s waterfront swarms with thousands of spectators and vendors.  

Additional crowds line the riverbanks in Southern Indiana, mill about in all the riverfront high rises and restaurants, and float in hundreds of boats just upstream on the Ohio River.

The air show now features more than 100 planes, aerobatics teams, daring sky diving groups and breathtaking stunts. Two huge flags unfurl before the crowd as the Star-Spangler Banner plays on sound systems. Patriotism runs high as the crowd watches the latest in military air strength streak overhead.

Then the fireworks begin. The Second Street Bridge explodes in fireworks. Barges anchored downstream in the middle of the river fire off hundreds of rockets. A Discovery Channel documentary once called Thunder “the best (fireworks) Grand-daddy of them all!”

And then it all goes dark – and spring has officially arrived in Louisville.

You can learn more about the events in the area by visiting Louisville Real Estate.

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