Weather lends itself to a successful Kentucky Derby Festival - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Weather lends itself to a successful Kentucky Derby Festival

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Wine Fest at Belvedere Wine Fest at Belvedere
The first ever Beer Fest entertains a large crowd The first ever Beer Fest entertains a large crowd
Passengers aboard the Belle of Louisville get ready for the big race Passengers aboard the Belle of Louisville get ready for the big race
Passengers board the Belle of Louisville Passengers board the Belle of Louisville
Anthony Head and Mike Ellis pull out all the stops for the Great Steamboat Race Anthony Head and Mike Ellis pull out all the stops for the Great Steamboat Race

The Belle of Cincinnati now has Ohio River bragging rights, as celebrations continue along the waterfront.

With beautiful weather almost every day, and all five balloon events going off without a hitch, organizers of the Kentucky Derby Festival say this is one for the record books.

No matter why they came to the Great Steamboat Race Wednesday.

"I'm here for the bourbon and the fun, and the Belle's going to win," said Anthony Head of Jeffersonville.

Everyone in line to board the Belle of Louisville gave rave reviews. Including a group of women who came all the way from Florida for all the events the festival has to offer.

"Fabulous. Everything has been A+," said Rosemary Grable.

1,400 people hopped on board to watch the Belle of Louisville take on the Belle of Cincinnati in the Great Steamboat Race. Some even brought good luck charms to their favorite river racer.

"I've got a rabbits foot, a horse shoe, and my grandfathers compass to help them up and down the river," said Mike Ellis.

While others spent the sunny day just down the river at the first ever K.D.F. Beer Fest. Kevin Hayes came with a large group of people and said although he usually drinks domestic, he has enjoyed the variety of flavors.

"We have a pretty big group so I hope they have enough beer," said Hayes. 

While others enjoyed a sweeter happy hour treat at Wine Fest at the Belvedere. Attendees said they think the festival committee has done a great job this year.

"They've really stepped it up a notch this year, put some good money into it, and it's a nice party," said Jasper Shane.

Kentucky Derby Festival Organizers say this year is measuring up to be one for the record books.

"Between the great sponsorships going in and the weather, it should be a really good year," said festival Chair Chris Whelan.

Adding to the festival's success was the fact that for the first time in recent memory, all balloon events actually happened.

"In years past, we would get several events off but this is the first year that we've gotten all five of them off," said Whalen.

Consensus among festival goers today was that this year has been one of the best, and the festival has really stepped things up a notch.

And with the sunshine bringing out large crowds, good moods were contagious.

"What a great day. Great day to be a Kentuckian. Great day to be a Louisvillian," said Hayes.

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