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    Eat & Swig

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    If you’re so hungry you could eat a horse, step away from Churchill Downs—way away—and instead head to the Festival Plaza at Waterfront Park for all the carnival food you can handle, all the music you can dance to and all the cold beer you can drink (and keep down). The fabled Kentucky Derby Festival Chow Wagon opens today and is open daily until 11 p.m. until Derby Eve.

    The Chow Wagon tradition began in 1972, and was a crowd pleaser from day one. It’s easy to see why: The family-friendly mix of food, music and socialization continues to attract locals and visitors alike—rain or shine.

    Various local and regional music acts perform throughout the day each day, featuring acts from urban to oldies to country. The festivities continue into the weekend, and during th  week the Chow Wagon opens at 11 a.m. for lunchtime visitors. A free TARC shuttle will run today and tomorrow and also April 26–29 from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with pickups at 5th & Main, 6th & Jefferson and 4th & Liberty. If you want to get your carb loading in early, the gates open at 8 a.m. on Saturday—or for some post-church and/or post-hangover chowing down, stop by starting at 1 p.m. on Sunday. (Don’t worry if you had your fill of corn dogs at Thunder: Mexican, Greek and Italian street food is also available, along with more homestyle treats as meatball subs and the soon-to-be Southernesque classic, the deep-fried Snickers bar.) 

    Admission is free with a 2010 Pegasus Pin. For a full schedule of bands and vendors, visit

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    Kentucky Derby Festival

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