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    If you've ever watched the nation's biggest fireworks show from Waterfront Park, you've seen Louisville at its best and also its most wild. Thousands of people of all ages congregate on the Great Lawn each year for a full day of delicious food, the loud afternoon air show and of course the breathtaking fireworks. And along with the business and traffic they bring to the city, the crowds also bring an experience you can't get anywhere else.

    Whether catching the show from Waterfront Park is your family's long-time tradition, or this is your first year downtown for the event, here are five thoughts everyone has at some point during during Thunder Over Louisville. 

    1. Huh, I didn't realize they sold bourbon in ZipLoc bags here.


    Traveling to Waterfront Park can certainly be expensive for out-of-town spectators, so it's not uncommon to see families with pre-packed lunches, dinners, and sometimes, (illegally, by the way) liquor. There will always be several vendors selling scrumptious carnival-style food along with alcoholic beverages on the Great Lawn for this Derby Festival kick-off, but there are also always those who try to save a few extra dollars by sneaking in their own in a number of different creative ways. However, sneaking in your own alcohol into this event is prohibited, so we recommend purchasing your drinks from vendors there. They'll be fresh, cold and well worth the money. 




    Unless you live near Louisville's airport and the frequent buzzing of planes overhead has become common white noise, you'll be blown away by the annual Thunder Over Louisville air show. This loud and impressively intricate part of the event will captivate all spectators, young and old, and will have your kids talking about jets for weeks. Just be ready to pause your videos and conversations when it begins, there's no use in trying to hear anything over the engines. 


    3. What did I just step on?

    Image: WLKY

    ​With so many guests at Waterfront Park, it's hard to keep the area clean for the full day. And though there are plenty of trash bins placed all over the Great Lawn, stumbling upon misplaced trash is practically unavoidable. And because the nature of some trash may be rather questionable, it's always a good idea to make sure your kids' shoes are tied and on tightly. And CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELVES. 


    4. Kentucky weather, am I right?

    Image: Speeddemon2 Photography 

    If you're from Louisville or any of its surrounding areas, you know that the weather here is unpredictable. It's not uncommon for Louisvillians to experience a morning frost, a heat wave and a torrential downpour all in the same week. So when planning for Thunder, make sure you pack an umbrella and wear versatile shoes just in case the forecast - which is currently calling for warm, sunny weather the day of Thunder - changes drastically over the course of just a couple of hours. 


    5. Who ARE these people? 

    Image: Matt Herp Photo

    Expect to see some unfamiliar faces at Waterfront Park, and when we save "some," we mean thousands. People from all over Kentucky and its surrounding areas travel to Downtown Louisville for this annual event, which makes for undeniably interesting people-watching. From the loud sidewalk preachers that utilize the highly populated event to spread their message, to the scantily-clad youths making out in the bushes, it's sure to be an exciting day. 


    Once the fireworks have stopped and Waterfront Park is flooded with stampedes of people making their way back home, everyone will still have the same thoughts running through their minds. Here are five thoughts everyone will have after Thunder Over Louisville.


    1. It makes no logical sense for this street to be closed.

    I think we at speak for everyone when we say road closures are one of our biggest pet peeves. But nothing is worse than multiple road closures downtown when thousands of people are trying to leave the area at once. Just try to keep calm and remember that the streets are closed for the safety of the crowd. 


    2. Wait, how do we get to the interstate from here?

    Navigating your way through downtown can be difficult for even the most experienced Louisvillian. Imagine trying to find your way around if it's your very first time in the city. To avoid any unnecessary honking, improper turns or even name-calling, be kind and lend your helpful navigation tips to those in need. 


    3. How long is the longest time anyone has been stuck in post-Thunder traffic?

    Hours? Days? Weeks?! We've learned from previous experience that post-Thunder traffic downtown typically clears within a few hours after the fireworks. But if you've experienced something more extreme, we'd love to hear about it in the comments below!


    4. Are we home yet?

    Surely every adult who has ever traveled with youngsters before has heard this one. And though kids tend to grow anxious in long car rides, adults might find themselves asking this same exact question while sitting in post-Thunder traffic.


    5. Why do all my pictures of the fireworks look exactly the same?

    Taking pictures of fireworks is extremely tricky. The sky is always too dark, the fireworks are always too bright and your hand seems to always shake as soon as it's time to take the picture. So if your pictures turn out like blurred images of paint droplets, just be glad you have the memory to look back on. And if your pictures actually turn out beautifully, please share them with us on Twitter, Facebook or in the comments below! 





    Carly Garcia's picture

    About Carly Garcia

    Lover of vegetarian cuisine, Stephen King, puppies, camping and wine...lots of wine.

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