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Best place to View Fireworks at Thunder Over Louisville?

Best place to View Fireworks at Thunder Over Louisville?

Old Mar 17th, 2006, 10:07 AM
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Best place to View Fireworks at Thunder Over Louisville?

Hi, Would love to see special fireworks show but am wondering if anyone knows best place to view this spectular show. Also,no hotel reservations made yet so am open to stay either in Kentucky or Indiana..Thanks so much,Vicki
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Old Mar 18th, 2006, 06:58 PM
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bump....
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Old Mar 19th, 2006, 06:06 AM
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Vicki, there are approx. 700,000 people at Thunder. Yep, you heard right. They line the riverbanks and pour out of hotel balconies and when it's over, there's a 3 hour traffic jam getting out of downtown. If you haven't made a hotel reservation, it's too late. Expect to stay off the interstate somewhere out of town. As far as seeing the fireworks and having access to restrooms, etc, the best thing to do is get an expensive ticket to Buchead's across the river, on the boat the "Star" or on the "Belle of Louisville" wharf party or the several other parties help by places that rent space down there. The corporate folks spend big money to rent rooms in the Galt House with large viewing windows. Lots of companies rent space on the top of the parking garage by Humana and have picnics, barbecue, etc. but getting a ticket can be tricky. Bottom line, if you're ready to spend $$$$ you'll have a good seat and amenities. If not, get there VERY early and find a spot on the riverbank. And don't expect good weather, it's been known to be horrible!
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Old Mar 19th, 2006, 06:18 AM
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http://www.louisvillescience.org/tour_tourgroups.shtml
http://www.cardinalhill.org/louisville/events.html

There's an idea...expect to spend 50-250 for these parties, many include dinner and drinks.
http://www.thunderoverlouisville.org...rs/default.asp
That's an official site. Also, the Louisville Center for the Arts has a big party.
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Old Mar 19th, 2006, 08:46 AM
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Thunder is amazing! Best viewing is from a private party at a building on the Louisville side, or from the IN side. Call Buckhead Mountain Grill and see if you can make a reservation. (812) 284-2919
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Old Mar 23rd, 2006, 05:11 PM
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Just wondering, how does "Thunder" compare to "Red White and Boom" in Columbus, Ohio?
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Old Mar 23rd, 2006, 06:20 PM
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It's rated the best in North America
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Old Mar 23rd, 2006, 06:43 PM
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I'll have to check it out someday. FYI The Red White and Boom celebration is said to be the largest display in the midwest.

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Old Mar 23rd, 2006, 09:53 PM
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From the link that LLindaC gave:

"The World's most unique fireworks and light extravaganza, Thunder Over Louisville has been the largest show of its kind in America for the past ten years. It remains the largest annual pyrotechnics show in the United States."

The annual air show that is on the same day as part of Thunder is one of the largest annual single day air show in the country.


You don't need to pay the $50-$250 to watch the show. Most don't.

Louisville Waterfront Park is where many of the people watch the air show & firework display from.

Waterfront Park is on the edge of downtown Louisville. It's near the new baseball stadium there. Slugger Field? or Slugger Stadium?

The air show goes all the way to Waterfront Park. The fireworks are so huge, that they are great from anywhere.

This link shows a good picture of Waterfront Park. On the right of the picture you can see downtown Louisville. The firework barges will be anchored around there in the Ohio River. Right near where the Belle of Louisville is moored.

http://www.louisvillewaterfront.com/

If you go, get there by 9am to get a good place to watch the show. You may have to park up to 1/2 to 1 mile away even that early.

I've stayed just at the beginning part of the piers in Waterfront Park. If you get out on the pier too far, the boats that come in later will block your view.

I've also watched a couple of times from the Indiana side of the river. The best place there is near where Buckhead's is (right in front of a Ramada Hotel). There is also another restaurant there (Kingfish?). Neither of the restaurants were there when I watched from there 10 years ago, so I don't know what viewing area is left there for the public. But I liked the Indiana side better than the Louisville side.

But, you can make reservations at either of the restaurants.

Also if you go past the fossil museum (I don't remember the name of the museum, Falls of the Ohio or something like that), there is some public viewing places.

Take some old tarps or something that you can kind of reserve a small area. If you get there by 9 am (many go earlier or camp overnight), you won't have any problem finding a good viewing area. Also lawn chairs and other things to keep busy. Lots of people bring grills.

There are lots of food vendors (carnival type), port-a-pottys, etc.

Besides www.thunderoverlouisville.org
you can go to www.kdf.org for more info.

The Louisville newspaper (hard copy) always has maps which shows which streets are blocked off or ones that don't allow parking. Don't know if they have the map in the on-line edition.

www.courier-journal.com

You can also do a search: where to park for Thunder Over Louisville

or

where to watch Thunder Over Louisville.

Another hint: If you get to Louisville a day or two before Thunder, you can walk down to the area and come up with some good viewing areas.

Another hint: Pick a viewing area so you can see 2nd Street Bridge. They have some good ground displays from there including a waterfall.
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Old Mar 24th, 2006, 12:12 AM
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I thought that this was a Fourth of July celebration, not April.
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Old Mar 24th, 2006, 06:44 AM
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Thunder Over Louisville kicks off the Kentucky Derby Festival two weeks before Derby, which is the 1st Saturday in May.

Two weeks before the 1st Saturday in May is ... April.

Enjoy!
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Old Mar 24th, 2006, 08:47 AM
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Dusty, that was a really nice post with all the links. You sound like the kind of guy who would be comfy in the infield, LOL! Vicki asked where the "best" place was, so I didn't want to steer her in the direction of the riverbank and porta-potties. Yes, there's a Kingfish, Buckhead's and a Rocky's down on the river. On this side is a Joe's Crab Shack. I agree about watching from Indiana, however you might not hear the music well. I don't know- I've never watched from there.
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Old Mar 24th, 2006, 09:17 AM
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The music is simulcast on the radio, so no worries about hearing it.
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Old Mar 24th, 2006, 08:12 PM
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They have the huge speakers for the music before and during Thunder on both sides of the river. Also the food vendors are about the same.

I've watched it from the Indiana side 5 or 6 times, from the Louisville side 4 or 5 times.

The things I liked about the Indiana side were:

1. Seeing the downtown Louisville skyline light up at night.

2. Better view as things are happening to get ready for Thunder. You can see better up and down the river. Even the barges being towed into place is a ceremony.

3. The prevailing wind is from west to east. So the smoke is generally going toward those on the Louisville side, kind of obscuring some of the fireworks through the smoke.

4. Most of the skydiving is done closer to the Louisville side of the river. Even though it is farther away to view from the Indiana side, sometimes those on the Louisville side are blocked by the buildings. Some of the landings are now on the Indiana side.

Things I liked about the Louisville side:

1. The fireworks and barges are closer to the Louisville side and you get more of a feeling of being part of the show.

2. The airshow doesn't start until about 3pm and the fireworks around 9pm. If you have someone that wants to stay at the spot you "kind of reserved", the rest can walk down the pier to see the riverboats that are there.

3. The skydivers are closer, so when you can see them it is better.

4. Getting away after Thunder is usually easier from the Louisville side. But, unless you are lucky, you can count on an hour or two to get back to the hotel. Sometimes an hour or more just to move from your parking spot.

The only time I ever went to the Kentucky Derby, I did watch most of the races from the infield. It was fun. Didn't really get to see much of the races and don't know if I would ever spend a Derby Day in the infield again.
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Old Mar 27th, 2006, 02:14 PM
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Thanks everyone. I guess its too late to get a hotel room. Am thinking about dining at Kingfish that evening & then watching the fireworks from the restaurant...do you think that will work? Thanks,Vicki
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Old Mar 28th, 2006, 10:59 AM
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It will work, but you should book now. We ate lunch there Sunday, and there were notices posted in the dining room.
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Old May 12th, 2024, 08:55 AM
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Wow! I read this forum just before the 2024 Thunder Over Louisville and the answers towards the bottom were SO helpful! Thank you all!

I was amazed at how helpful and accurate these stories and recommendations still are 18 years later!

We sat on the bank at Ashland Park on the Indiana side, and I swear we had the best viewing spot of anyone at Thunder: We were perfectly perpendicular to the Clark Memorial Bridge, with the barges shooting symmetrical in our field of view at either end of the bridge. On the bank, we sat on a large, old piece of driftwood. It was a good seat and it thrust our position off the bank and into the river itself! We were maybe some of the southmost viewers on the Indiana side. There wasn't music at this park, but it was still pretty just watching the show. AND, the Louisville skyline reflecting each explosion was something else.

The fireworks and drone show were preceeded and followed by our beautiful walk from/to our car. We parked up that bike trail at the park a few miles to the northwest. On our stroll to the park, we were entertained not just by the Falls of the Ohio, but by the airshow overhead, too!

Finally, we were so grateful that we hit no traffic on the roads driving down from Ohio. We drove down around 6p and returned at around midnight, with no traffic either wayónot even entering onto the highway around Louisville!

Thanks again to all of the forum folks here, and to the city of Louisville folks in their brilliant logistics and spectacular show.
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