The History of Thunder - WDRB 41 Louisville News

The History of Thunder

Rated as one of the top 100 events in North America, the Derby Festival's Opening Ceremonies is truly a sight to behold. And each year, more than 500,000 eager thrill-seekers do just that.

The day-long event kicks off the two exciting weeks of events that are part of the annual Kentucky Derby Festival. The Thunder Air Show dazzles the crowd with planes, aerobatics teams, daring sky diving teams and breathtaking stunts.

When it gets dark, the Thunder rolls. The fireworks will feature the latest in pyrotechnic power from Zambelli Internationale, America's "first family of fireworks." Six barges that are 100-foot open top each assemble on both sides of the 2nd Street Bridge to form the stage from which the fireworks spectacular ignites.

The breathtaking and mind-numbing 28-minute show includes Thunder's signature one-mile "waterfall" effect off the bridge, making the fireworks seem to rain down forever. And in the crowd's memory of the show, it does!

After more than a decade, the show remains the largest annual pyrotechnic display in North America. Seen by approximately 1-million U.S. Armed Forces, Department of Defense civilian employees and their families stationed in 176 countries and aboard 140 U.S. Navy ships at sea via a July 4th rebroadcast on the American Forces Network, it is the state's pride. A Discovery Channel documentary on fireworks shows says it best, "Thunder is the Grand-daddy of them all!"

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    Thanks to a grant from Norton Healthcare, this story and others are available in real-time closed captioning on WDRB.
    Thanks to a grant from Norton Healthcare, this story and others are available in real-time closed captioning on WDRB.More >>
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