LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Kentucky Derby Festival is back and planning in-person events for 2022.

In a news release Wednesday, KDF revealed dates for the upcoming season, which includes a major change for the Zoeller Pump Company Pegasus Parade.

The parade will now march down Broadway on Sunday, May 1, to kick off Kentucky Derby week instead of the traditional Thursday event.

"The Pegasus Parade is what started the Kentucky Derby Festival more than 60 years ago and we want everyone to be able to enjoy it," KDF President Matt Gibson in a statement. "As we traveled around the community last spring, we learned attending a parade during the workweek is challenging for our fans, so we’re trying something new this year."

After a successful debut during the pandemic, the Zoeller Pump Company Touring Parade that takes the floats and bands into the community will also return this year. The traveling parade will kick off the 2022 festival around the city on Saturday, April 2, followed the next week by Caesars Foundation FamFest on April 8 and the Fillies Derby Ball on April 9.

Dates are also set for big events like Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront, the Great BalloonFest, the Great Bed Races and the Great Steamboat Race. Other events will also be spread out through mid-March and April to allow for better production time for PNC Tour de Lou and the Stock Yards Bank $1 Million Hole-in-One Golf Contest.

Thunder Over Louisville also returns to the banks of the Ohio River this year on April 23. The theme and further details will be released at a later date.

KDF events and programs will follow local, state and federal COVID-19 safety guidelines to ensure the safety of participants, attendees, volunteers, partners and organizers. The Festival will monitor developments with COVID-19 and update as guidance evolves.

Key dates for Festival events include:

  • Republic Bank BourbonVille: April 14
  • Stock Yards Bank $1 Million Hole-in-One Golf Contest: April 14-24
  • PNC Tour de Lou: April 16
  • They’re Off! Luncheon: April 22
  • Thunder Over Louisville: April 23
  • Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville on the Waterfront: April 28 to May 6
  • Great BalloonFest: April 29-30
  • GE Appliances miniMarathon & Marathon: April 30
  • Zoeller Pump Company Pegasus Parade: May 1
  • Great Bed Races: May 2
  • Kentucky Proud WineFest: May 3
  • Liberty Financial Great Steamboat Race: May 4
  • Festival Day at the Downs: May 5
  • Derby Eve Jam: May 6

The complete 2022 Festival Highlights schedule is available on the Kentucky Derby Festival website, KDF.org. More event details will be released in the coming weeks and months. 

The Kentucky Derby Festival began with the Pegasus Parade in 1956 as a way to bring the community together before the Kentucky Derby. It was organized by just a handful of volunteers on a budget of $640. In the past 67 years, KDF has grown to produce more than 70 events leading up to the first Saturday in May.

More than 4,000 volunteers, 400 businesses and civic groups, Pegasus Pin sponsorships and events help support the Festival. It entertains more than 1.5 million people and has a local economic impact of more than $127 million.

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