WAVE 3 Editorial - June 19, 2012: Kentucky Derby Festival
By Ken Selvaggi WAVE 3 Vice President and General Manager
You were the star of the show this year for Kentucky Derby Festival – the Commonwealth's largest annual event and among the best festivals in the world.
More than 275,000 people attended the Pegasus Parade, the oldest event of the Festival at 57 years, and more than 400,000 attended Thunder Over Louisville, one of the nation's largest fireworks shows.
The Marathon and mini-marathon reached its cap of 18,000 combined registrants – 10,000 more than five years ago. Nearly 7,000 people watched the 40th annual Basketball Classic and the 50th anniversary of the Great Steamboat Race was a sellout.
There were 68 students from 66 counties who participated in the Spelling Bee.
In all, 1.5 million people attended 70 events, including a first time Gospel Fest.
Most impressive is the 4,000 volunteers and 375 corporate sponsors, who not only contributed time and money to make the festival so successful, but enabled 24 charities to receive $439,000 to help others.
Even more folks volunteered time in various ways with the Mayor's inaugural Give-A-Day challenge that will now become a Derby Festival annual event.
We salute Wendy Jacob, the Chair of the Kentucky Derby Festival this year and encourage even more participation from our community next year!