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What to know as the Derby Festival ramps up this weekend

A massive Pegasus balloon cruises down Broadway, held by many volunteers in orange t-shirts. It's part of the Kentucky Derby Festival Pegasus Parade.
Courtesy of Kentucky Derby Festival
Lots of events, many of which include street closures, are scheduled for this weekend.

The Kentucky Derby is just around the corner, but first Louisvillians can look forward to a barrage of Kentucky Derby Festival events this weekend.

Thousands of people will run the annual Kentucky Derby marathon and mini-marathon Saturday. Louisvillians can also expect road closures as runners race through the city. The marathon Saturday will begin near Louisville Slugger Field at 7 a.m. and end at the Lynn Family Stadium, and will snake down 3rd Street to Churchill Downs.

Closures will begin as early as 9 a.m. Friday. For more information on road closures and no-parking zones, click here. Those interested in registering for the marathon can do so here.

On Sunday, the Pegasus Parade will make its way down 17 blocks of Broadway, from Smoketown through downtown Louisville. The parade will begin at 3 p.m and usually lasts about 2.5 hours. The event used to be on the Thursday before Derby, but was moved last year.

Roads along the parade route will close at noon Sunday and are scheduled to reopen at 9 p.m. For a full list of closures, click here.

This year’s Pegasus Parade theme is “Celebrating Derby Traditions.” The first Pegasus Parade was in 1956, making it the Kentucky Derby Festival’s oldest event. The National Weather Service predicts that Sunday will be partially sunny in the mid-60s with a chance of rain.

Parade-goers don’t need to reserve or buy seats for the event, but attendees can also purchase bleacher seats for $10 or VIP reserved seats for $35 which includes snacks and drinks and a parking pass per every four tickets. If you decide to attend free of charge, organizers recommend getting to the parade route early.

Sylvia is the Capitol reporter for Kentucky Public Radio, a collaboration including Louisville Public Media, WEKU-Richmond, WKU Public Radio and WKMS-Murray. Email her at sgoodman@lpm.org.