Thunder Over Louisville air show’s 2023 theme looks at past years
The Evening News and the Tribune March 3, 2023
(Tribune News Service) — The theme of this year's Thunder Over Louisville will be Through the Decades as the popular air show that opens Kentucky Derby Festival events will look back to the beginning.
One of the country's top fireworks displays and air shows, Thunder Over Louisville will light up the Louisville skyline for its 34th year. The daylong event is set for Saturday, April 22 on the Waterfront.
This year's theme is inspired by the early years and how much the show has grown over the decades. Thunder draws thousands of fans spanning all ages and generations, who come together to celebrate on the Waterfront. Through the Decades is meant to invoke feelings of nostalgia for this long-running springtime tradition.
Keeping up with the theme, the line-up of aircraft for the air show has been compared to a history book of aircraft. The show will feature The Air Force F-35 Demo and Heritage Flight; Navy F-35 Demo and Growler Demo with Legacy Flight; U.S. Army Golden Knights; Matt Younkin's "Magic by Moonlight" performance and numerous warbirds taking to the skies, including the P-51 Mustang; F-86 Sabre,; F4U Corsair and F8F Bearcat. More details about the air show will be announced closer to the event.
Zambelli Fireworks will design the show again and the show will be choreographed to an original soundtrack that will feature some of the most popular songs from past years.
"We went back for the music tracks and picked out some of the best tracks over the 34 years," said Wayne Hettinger, producer of Thunder Over Louisville. "We always build the show like it's a roller coaster. That's the idea when we're laying down music tracks and then start to think how the fireworks are going to integrate."
The Drone Show, put on by LG&E, returns for its third annual show right before the fireworks start.
"We have all become a little more nostalgic over the last few years because of those special events we have missed, and now we have an even greater appreciation for those traditions. We wanted the theme for this year's show to pay tribute to those favorite Thunder memories our Festival Fans have experienced across the decades," said Matt Gibson, Kentucky Derby Festival President and CEO.
The Drone Show is another highlight of the 2023 show and will light up the nighttime sky as they fly over the Ohio River in different formations just before the fireworks begin.
Humana returns for the second year as a Presenting Sponsor, and as part of their partnership to make the Derby Festival accessible to the entire community, they will once again sponsor free rides to Thunder this year in partnership with TARC. More information on the free-fare day will be released in the coming weeks.
For fans looking for a front-row seat to the show, tickets are on sale now for the Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport Thunder Over Louisville VIP Rooftop Party. Tickets are $165 and can be purchased at ThunderOverLouisville.org. Admission includes premium viewing, Derby-inspired cuisine, local and regional beers, specialty cocktails, private restrooms and more.
Thunder Over Louisville is one of the more than 70 events produced by the Derby Festival in the spring. It provides an estimated impact of $56 million to the area's economy. The Derby Festival is an independent community organization. It entertains more than 1.5 million people annually every spring and is one of the leading community celebrations in the world.
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