The Kentucky Derby, also known as "Run for the Roses" brings billions of dollars to the city of Louisville. Although the race lasts only two minutes, the citizens of Louisville start celebrating two weeks before the race with Thunder Over Louisville, the largest annual pyrotechnics display in North America.
The Kentucky Derby
Every year, on the first Saturday in May, the Kentucky Derby is held at Churchill downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
Thunder Over Louisville
Let the Celebrations Begin
The largest annual pyrotechnics display in North America kicks the Kentucky Derby celebrations off. To demonstrate just how big it is, try to imagine this: eight tractor trailers filled with nearly 60 tons of fireworks shells; 250 tons of launching tubes, some as high as 10 feet with a diameter of 1 and 1/2 feet; two million pounds of sand for packing the firing tubes on 1,800 feet of barges; almost 700 miles of wire cable connecting 20 firing boards are tied to the command post for synchronization to the music. The Zambellis are the largest fireworks family in the world, and this is the largest show they perform each year.
The Great Balloon Race
The Great Balloon Race is one of five balloon festivals. It takes place the Saturday before the Kentucky Derby. The event occurs very early in the morning, but that doesn't keep thousands of people from attending to see dozens of colorful balloons racing.
The Great Steamboat Race
Three days before the Derby the Great Steamboat Race takes place on the Ohio River between Louisville and Jefferson, Indiana. The competitors are the Louisville Belle and the Cincinnati Belle. Thousands of people line the river banks to watch this exciting race.
Those are just three of the over than 70 events that take place leading up to the big day. In addition to organized events, Derby parties take place in private homes all over the city. It's a fun time to get together with friends and indulge in Derby cuisine. Derby parties are where you'll taste the best of Southern cooking. Menus vary from hostess to hostess, but there are three items that every Derby hostess must offer her guests:
- Mint Julep
- Derby Pie
- Bourbon Candies
Derby pie is made with nuts, chocolate chips and bourbon. Of course, the mint julep is made with bourbon also. Why so much cooking with bourbon? Kentucky makes the best bourbon in the world, and it's one of the most known and respected distilled spirits traded worldwide.
The Big Day Arrives
Now I'm going to show you a video of the 2010 Kentucky Derby. My dog Jasper is a big fan. The dog you hear barking is Jessie, my golden retriever. Jessie's also a fan. Watch it until the end. Jasper leaves the room for a moment and comes back. I'm not sure if Jasper's horse won or Jessie's; see if you can tell and include your vote in the poll.