LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- More than a half million people will crowd into downtown and at Churchill Downs this week, all for the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Derby Festival events.

WDRB has four tips for you to know to maximize your Derby experience.

"It's an all-hands-on-deck week," said Maj. Kelly Jones, commander of special operations for LMPD.

Click HERE for a Kentucky Derby and Derby Festival Events Survival Guide.

Traffic jams, high security, shoulder-to-shoulder crowds and bad parking: It is Derby season, which means Louisville is in the midst of a two-week party for a two-minute race.

1) Study where you're going -- the event itself

"Please know what is and isn't allowed and the things you can do at a particular venue," said Jones.

Thursday's Pegasus Parade is expected to draw 250,000 people. It's the oldest Kentucky Derby Festival event. Drivers need to know Broadway will close from Campbell Street to Barrett Street from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Thurby crowds are also growing. LMPD is adding a traffic detail: 50 officers directing cars in and out of Churchill Downs. Those exiting on Central Avenue will be asked to go east.

2) Know your route

"We don't want anyone to be caught in a traffic jam we want to try and help you," said Jones.

Louisville's day at the race comes Friday. There will be no parking on Central Avenue in front of the track for Oaks.

The same goes for Saturday's Derby.

3) Know where to park in advance

"I promise you the last thing we want to do is tow anyone's vehicle during any of these festivals or events," said Jones.

Also check the banned items that will not be allowed into the track. This year, drones and selfie sticks have been added to the list.

TARC will offer free rides on Oaks day starting at 6 p.m. and nighttime crime prevention details will be in place, Friday through Sunday, on Fourth Street Live!, down Broadway and in the Highlands.

The most important thing for race fans to know?

4) Keep your cool

"As you pack your coolers with soft drinks and sandwiches, please put a little extra patience in that hat cooler, and I promise you, we will do everything we can to get you home as quickly as we can," said LMPD Traffic Commander Lt. Joe Seelye.

There are more road closures, reroutes and parking changes than we could compile into one report.

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