Sunday, April 12, 2009

Thunder Over Louisville

For the past 20 years, as a prelude to the Kentucky Derby in Louisville Kentucky, the city presents the largest annual fireworks show in North America. It is the beginning 0f a two-week celebration in Kentucky and Southern Indiana, with an attendance of nearly a half million people. "It's the kind of show you have to see to believe" says Matt Gibson, Derby Festival Vice president of Events.

To assemble a show the size of Thunder, eight tractor trailers are filled with nearly 60 tons of fireworks shells. The show is put on by Zambelli Internationale, the largest fireworks family in the world, and Visual Presentations. As much firepower as possible is packed into 28 minutes, with a series of fantastic "finales". "Wayne Hettinger, director and owner of Visual Productions, has it down to a science, working with a team from Zambelli to create a heart-stopping, eye-popping show", he says.

"It all starts with music", Hettinger says. "We work to lay out a sound tract that most everyone will be able to relate to. It's very gratifying to see people start to move and react to their favorite cuts of the sound tract, and it give Zambelli the foundation on which to build the show".

Thunder Over Louisville Air Show

The Thunder Over Louisville Air Show began as a way to amuse visitors during the time leading up to the fireworks. However, as one of the top five air shows in the country, the Thunder Over Louisville Air Show now has its own bragging rights. The Thunder Over Louisville Air Show features more than 100 planes performing more than six hours of fly-bys, acrobatics, and diving stunts. It also gives visitors a chance to view the newest planes being flown by the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines.

Thunder Over Louisville Fireworks

At 9:30 p.m. on the night of Thunder Over Louisville, the real show begins. You'll know that the fireworks are getting ready to start when two helicopters fly a large American flag as the "America the Beautiful" and "The Star Spangled Banner" are blasted over the speakers. Then, the Thunder Over Louisville fireworks show begins. It is the largest fireworks show in the world: a 28-minute show that will leave you half-deaf, covered in soot, and absolutely amazed.

Thunder Over Louisville Tickets

While it seems like an event this extravagant would require visitors to pay some sort of admission, Thunder Over Louisville is an entirely free event. With the exception of a few restricted areas, anyone who wishes to watch the show can do so from the Louisville or Jeffersonville waterfronts for no charge whatsoever. Visitors can also watch the show from the Waterfront Park Chow Wagon as long as they're wearing a Derby Festival Pegasus Pin from the current year.

Thunder Over Louisville Schedule

The Thunder Over Louisville Air Show begins at 3 p.m. and goes on until around 9 p.m. that night. At 9 p.m., the "Star Spangled Banner" and "America the Beautiful" will play, signifying that the fireworks will be starting soon. The fireworks go off from 9:30 to 10 p.m. For more info, check out

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