Bluegrass Bourbon Picnic @ Brown Hotel
Apr 27 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Kick off Derby week with an evening of Kentucky traditions during a Bourbon Bluegrass Picnic at the Brown Hotel Friday, April 27. Starting at 6:30 p.m., guests are invited to the Brown Hotel’s renovated Roof Garden for a breathtaking view, live music, craft cocktails and Hot Browns from chefs James Adams and Dustin Willett. In addition, Wild Turkey’s “Buddha of Bourbon” Jimmy Russell will lead a tasting of Russell’s Reserve Bourbon and hold a Q&A session. Tickets, which include a welcome cocktail, heavy hors d’oeuvres and bourbon flight, are $65 per person and can be purchased by calling 502-583-1234. For more information, visit

The cocktail hour at 6:30 p.m. will feature a taste of the hotel’s renowned four-star dining including the Hot Brown with watermelon salad, Wild Turkey BBQ pulled pork sliders with spring slaw, and pimento and bacon bites with heirloom tomato and cucumber salad. The bourbon flight tasting and Q&A will follow. Music will continue until 9:30 p.m. and additional craft cocktails will be available for purchase.

Pig & Swig @ Fourth Street Live!
Apr 28 @ 1:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Get ready for a taste of Kentucky! Pig & Swig will return for its third year on Saturday, April 28th at Fourth Street Live as part of the Kentucky Derby Festival official events! This festival will feature dozens of local and regional craft beers and bourbons, smoked meats, vendors and live music.

Pig and Swig celebrates the best in barbeque, bourbon and beer, along with live music from local bands.

This free, family-friendly event starts at 12pm with local bands playing all day. Performances by local favorites, Whiskey Bent Valley Boys, Southern Sirens and Small Time Napoleon Band will provide hours of entertainment. The event will showcase over 30 craft beers from all over the region, with vendors lining the entire street. Over 30 bourbons will be available for tastings. Guy Fieri’s Smokehouse will be offering a variety of smoked favorites from their menu. This event is free to enter with your KDF Pegasus Pin.

Churchill Downs Opening Night @ Churchill Downs
Apr 28 @ 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm

Kick off Kentucky Derby Week in style as Churchill Downs partners with the Fund for the Arts to combine the Thrill of Racing with and the Best of Louisville Arts. Opening Night is a “Dress to Impress” occasion.

    • Event highlights include:

      • Awards in the Arts Orange,the Color of Creativity- Guests are encouraged to incorporate orange into their attire for the evening.
      • The Jesse Lees 7:15PM-8:45PM- Plaza Stage
      • Louisville Crashers 9:00PM-11:30PM- Plaza Stage
      • 10 live races including the William Walker (listed)
      • Performing Artists:Acting Against Cancer, Amberly Simpson & Dancers, Bohemian Monkey, Bri Bowers, Casey McKinney, CirqueLouis, DESTINED Dance Company, Gilbert and Sullivan Society, Grant Goodwine, GSA Alumni,  Jecorey “1200” Arthur + NadaLoutfi, Juggernaut Jug Band, The Art of Kacy, Kentucky Opera, Kentucky Shakespeare, Kuvebo! West African Drum and Dance, Micah Chandler, Tatiana Rathke + Jennifer Greb, The Gilbert and Sullivan Society of Louisville, Tyler Robertson and Wheeler Elementary Students.

Ladies are encouraged to wear party and cocktail dresses and men are encouraged to wear sharp pants and a dress shirt; a tie is optional. Guests are encouraged to incorporate the color orange for the evening in the spirit of creativity and encouragement of the Awards in the Arts. The signature accessory for Opening Night is an evening headpiece, whether it’s a fascinator, feathers, a hat, a headband, or something else! We want ladies and gentlemen to have fun sporting a nighttime Derby look.

Rabbit Hole Ribbon Cutting @ Rabbit Hole Distillery
May 1 @ 11:00 am – 1:30 pm
Kentucky Proud Derby Festival Wine Fest @ The Belvedere
May 1 @ 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm

Sip and savor over 100 local wines from Kentucky and Southern Indiana wineries at Kentucky Proud WineFest.

General Admission includes:

Wine tastings
Cooking demonstrations and paired sampling
Etched souvenir wine glass
WineFest event pin

VIP Admission includes the above, plus:

VIP entrance into private tent
Hors d’oeuvres by local restaurants
Barrel tastings
Private restrooms

This is a 21+ event only. Please present valid ID upon entry.

Limited $10 Designated Driver tickets available at the door, includes entry and Event Pin.

2nd Annual Muse Cruise Red Carpet @ Belle of Louisville
May 1 @ 5:30 pm – 9:00 pm

What: 2nd annual Muse Cruise, Derby Week Red Carpet Event for the Entertainment Industry, brought to you by Eastwood Records, Rose Blade Creative, WFPK (full list on web site)


Who: Professionals from music, film, and tv industries, a few in local government and business – and those who want to network with them. See list of guests of honor at Expect to meet comedians, actors, musicians, producers, directors, crew members, sound engineers, booking agents and more.

When and Where: 
May 1, 5:30 to 9 p.m. at the Belle of Louisville, followed by after party at Diamond Pub and Billiards in the Highlands from 9:30 until 1 a.m.



-$40 for the Belle of Louisville river cruise includes dinner, live entertainment, gift bags, door prize ticket, networking, guests of honor, and the cruise. (cash bar)

-After party is no charge, includes tastings and giveaways by Ballotin Chocolate Whiskey and has an open stage where performers of all types may sign up to perform (if any slots remaining)


On the Belle: Last year 225 professionals from KY, IN, TX, CA, OH, TN and NY gathered together to see and be seen, enjoy live music, network and enjoy the beautiful weather during the 3 hour cruise. This year’s cruise will feature


  • performances from Jacqui Blue, Nick Dittmeier and the Sawdusters, and The Vintage Martins with appearance from Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station
  • Guests of Honor from film, TV, music, local business and government, boking, marketing and promotion (listed on site)
  • dinner from Lou Lou Food + Drink.
  • Amerifest beauty pageant title holders will also be at the red carpet and on board to help things run smoothly.
  • ‘Bout Time (hosted by comedians Patrick Passafiume and Sean Smith) and Kentucky Music Preview (hosted by Dustin Wesley) podcasts  doing live interviews
  • Mobile Photo Booth, and professional photography by HHH Photography, Video by Visual Experts Brennan Clark
  • Gift Bags


At the After Party:

  • Ballotin Chocolate Whiskey tastings,
  • Door prize giveaways from Crosley Radio  (Turntables and speakers) and others
  • an open stage (cruise ticket holders can sign up in advance) remaining sign ups that night and more networking opportunity
  • Comedy and Music Performances
Taste of Derby @ KFC Yum! Center
May 3 @ 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm

Sample exquisite cuisine and exceptional wines, with nationally-renowned chefs.

Derby Eve Gala @ Seelbach Hilton
May 4 @ 8:00 pm

As if Derby Eve is not reason enough for celebration, this year will have your guests “dancing in the streets”, with the MAGIC OF MOTOWN as our theme!  The American Lung Association Gala is sponsored by Kindred Healthcare. The event at The Seelbach Hilton will begin at 8:00 p.m. with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

The Seelbach’s Medallion Ballroom décor will take you back to the Motown days, with “Burning Las Vegas” supplying the music from the Motown generation…

From start to finish, the Derby Eve Gala will be a first-class evening of entertainment featuring

●          delicious hors d’oeuvres and cocktails

●          a seated gourmet dinner with wine service

●          a full-service open bar

                  We are thrilled to feature three live auction items!

  • Win an exclusive invite to the press conference in the stable area the morning after the Derby, hear from the winning owner, trainer and of course, meet the winning Derby horse!
  • Experience the Indy time trials as guests of The Schmidt Peterson Motorsports-Verizon Indy Car Series team.  Join them in their garage and observe the team of mechanics and technicians prepare the cars, then it’s on to the pits with the team drivers and cars.
  • A Pappy Van Winkle Experience includes tasting three of the famous bourbons with Mr. Julian P. Van Winkle III, President of the Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery. Enjoy a delectable dinner for 8 catered by Maureen Hartmann Executive Chef and owner of A Full Plate Catering.

The highest bidder will be tasting:

  • 12 year, 90.4 proof, Van Winkle Special Reserve
  • 15 year 107 proof, Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve
  • 20-year 90.4 proof, Pappy Van Winkle’s Reserve


Proceeds from the Gala benefit the American Lung Association in support of the fight against lung disease, the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Contributions help fund medical research, patient services, education and advocacy for public policy in support of the association’s mission to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease.

Planned for both corporate and private entertaining, the Derby Eve Gala is the party for dining and dancing in grand style, while partaking of Louisville’s distinctive local charm in the one of the city’s most elegant and historic downtown hotels.

Companies are encouraged to organize one or more tables of business associates, friends or clients for a special evening of entertainment. The cost is $3,000 for a table of 10. Individual seats may be reserved at $300 per person.

For more information, call Joyce King Jennings at the American Lung Association of Kentucky (502) 363-2652 or (502) 640-1732 Cell.

Derby Eve Gala website at

Kentucky Derby 144 @ Churchill Downs
May 5 all-day
40th Annual Derby Breakfast @ Farmington Historic Plantation
May 5 @ 9:00 am

Historic Homes Foundation Derby Breakfast – sit-down brunch, open bar, live band and southern cuisine. Silent auction.