5 questions with Wayne Hettinger

Published: Apr. 21, 2016 at 8:28 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 28, 2016 at 9:42 PM EDT
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Wayne Hettinger (Source: Dale Mader, WAVE 3 News)
Wayne Hettinger (Source: Dale Mader, WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - I remember the first year I watched Thunder Over Louisville. It was 1994 and I was reporting for a local television station. I had not prepared myself for the enormity of the event -- the huge air show, the thousands of people, and of course, the most amazing fireworks show I had ever seen.

I am still awed by Thunder Over Louisville year after year. I still love covering it. And it means so much to share Thunder with my kids. The man we have to thank for the creativity and genius of Thunder Over Louisville is Wayne Hettinger, owner of Visual Presentations.

He's been involved from the start. Each year it seems that Wayne dreams bigger and bigger. He continues to surprise us with new things. The first Thunder Over Louisville was in 1989 and was held during the day. Much has changed since then. Here are my five questions with Wayne Hettinger:

1) You've been involved in Thunder since the beginning. Is there a year that stands out to you?
The first one on the river stands out (1991). And the 1997 year which celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the U.S. Air Force. That was the biggest air show we ever had. People don't realize we had every bomber that flew in WWII.

2) How many people does it take to put on Thunder Over Louisville?
It takes three cities, two states, and the federal government to make this happen. The total number of people in the command center is 61 people.

3) What do you do while the show is going on? 
Everyone thinks I'm always busy.  Basically day of show I'm done with what I do. I'm a proud Daddy. Sitting back, watching the team do watch what they do.

4) This year the Louisville Orchestra is supplying the soundtrack. How will that make this year's show different?
Working with the Louisville Orchestra was a dream that we had more than a decade ago. Mike Berry, the President of Derby Festival, got with (music director) Teddy Abrams and pulled that together. When they recorded the tracks in the sound studio, there were 96 instruments playing. They laid down 40-some different tunes. We edited it together in arrangements that we wanted so we could build this roller coaster effects of fireworks. You should come with the idea of seeing Fantasia. It's an extended finale this year so we can unload a lot of fireworks. The longest duration of a finale we've ever had.

5) Lastly, how exactly is your last name pronounced?
Hetting-her. But the bottom line it's Wayne.

Previous Installments:
+ April 15: Milliner Kenzie Kapp
April 8: The owner of MexA Steak Tacos
March 31: The owners of Louisville's Drybar
+ March 25: Local entrepreneur Junior Bridgeman
+ March 18: Author Emily Bingham
March 11: PurseKeyper co-rounder Dana Robinson
March 4: Chef, restaurateur John Varanese
Feb. 26: Wicked Sheets Founder Alli Truttmann
Feb. 19: Lilly's Chef Kathy Cary
Feb. 12: Speed Museum Director Ghislain d'Humieres
Feb. 5: Miss Kentucky USA Kyle Hornback

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