Derby Festival: Expect spectacular show from this year's 'Thunder Power'

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The Kentucky Derby Festival has announced exciting the theme of the 2011 Thunder Over Louisville show on April 16: "Thunder Power." Derby Festival officials say it ties in with the Festival's overall theme for 2011 - "SuperFest," which celebrates the cartoon, movie and comic book characters that have become an iconic part of American culture.

"As always, the Thunder Over Louisville show will be spectacular on a number of levels," said Mike Berry, President and CEO of the Derby Festival.

Thunder Over Louisville's financial ability to stage the shows came into question in recent years, and a variety of fundraisers were held to ensure the show continued. Now, thanks to the generous support of the event's corporate sponsors - LG&E, Horseshoe Southern Indiana, Meijer and UPS, as well as community McDonald's Thunder Funders, Thunder Over Louisville will once again showcase an exciting array of military and civilian aircraft as well as elite parachute and demonstration teams. There will also be a variety of on-the-ground activities to keep spectators entertained.

Thunder producer Wayne Hettinger promises the usual spectacular pyrotechnics along with custom tunes. "We're very excited about putting together a soundtrack that will showcase a wide variety of songs connected to TV, movie and comic book characters such as Superman, Batman, The Shadow, The Flash, Wonder Woman, Tarzan, Mighty Mouse and many others."

For the first time, admission to the Great Lawn will require a Pegasus Pin for everyone except children 6 and younger.

"The past couple of years we've had people creating a land rush to take over large areas of the lawn, which is not fair to spectators," Berry said. "Our volunteers, paid staff and local law enforcement will monitor the two entrances to the North Great Lawn and will not allow any tape, rope or pennant lines to mark off space. We encourage people to bring a picnic blanket and lawn chairs for comfort, but not to take up any more space than necessary."

Thunder Over Louisville is one of the more than 70 events produced by the Derby Festival in the spring. The 2011 show is scheduled for Saturday, April 16, and will be the 22nd annual production. It kicks off the two weeks of festivities leading up to the Kentucky Derby, where you can see only on NBC and WAVE 3 on the first Saturday in May.

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