In Louisville, Derby just IS.
For two weeks, Louisville lives, eats and doesn’t sleep for Derby. The excitement is infectious.
Even at school, the kids design their own racing silks and Derby hats. They have “Derby Activities” where everyone goes outside and participates in relay races.
My heart wants to jump into the celebration full throttle, but so many of the events aren’t kid-friendly. Not really.
Everything gets kicked off two weeks prior to Derby with Thunder Over Louisville, the largest fireworks show in the nation. “That’s kid-friendly,” you say. This year, they were expecting 800,000 people. Taking kids into that crowd? Not friendly at all.
But we watched the top of Thunder over our back fence. So that’s kind of participation.
And then there are other events that aren’t parent friendly. The weekend before Derby, there is a hot air balloon race. Every year, I say, “We have to go see the hot air balloons launch.” And every year it’s at 7:00 AM on a Saturday morning. So you can imagine how that works out.
On the Thursday before Derby is the Pegasus Parade. This is kind of my go-to “do something for Derby.”
Last year was a disaster. Leah had to use the restroom so bad she thought she would die. And a giant balloon got stuck in some wires, so the parade was stalled for 30 to 45 minutes. We ended up leaving without seeing much parade.
But THIS year. This year would be better, I determined. I made everyone use the bathroom before we went. A guy let us into his saved seating, so we were right up front. I was pretty convinced the parade officials had warned everyone to avoid power lines with balloons. All good.
No. Leah decided her ear hurt so bad that she would die. Isaiah was bored and we were wasting his “play time.” And the parade kept getting stuck. Apparently that’s just how they
I was trying to be all cheery and enjoyful. But really, it was kind of boring just staring at the people across the street from us for long periods of time.
We ended up leaving after an hour and a half (I’m guessing there was still and hour and a half of parade to come). But not before we saw the Cards enter triumphantly and witnessed these rather disturbing sites:
Today is The Oaks, when they run the fillies. Most Louisville people skip the Derby and do Oaks. In fact, the kids have off of school today. So my son is spending his Oaks day by building the Kentucky Derby out of Legos. One way or another, we’re doing Derby.