Thunder Over Louisville
Thunder Over Louisville is a spectacular air show culminating in an out-of-this-world fireworks display. This event is the largest annual fireworks show in North America is held two weeks prior to the Kentucky Derby and kicks of weeks of fantastic events throughout the region during Derby season.

From the moment I rolled into Louisville I was over-whelmed with the electricity and excitement in the air. Having had years of experience in developing this event, the KDF organization has put together a World-Class event second to none. 

The air show is both fascinating and informative as well as being flawlessly choreographed. Local newspapers and business magazine print programs so that spectators can follow along. The crowd puts an exclaimation point on patriotism with their support of the many military pilots who risk thier lives for their country every single day.

To start your day right you must have breakfast in the Galt House. Custom made omelets, bananas foster French toast, sweet cream pancakes are just a few of the southern breakfast charms available. You might even find yourself dining with some of the pilots who will be flying later that day.

 By lunchtime I was famished even though I had been snacking on delicious treats all morning long. The aromas of roasting gyro meat and medieval style turkey legs permeated the air. For a well seasoned Michigander the turkey legs served very well as pocket warmers as the sun began to set.

Once evening began to fall the air show ramped up even further. Pilot Bill Leff took to the skies with an impeccable nighttime solo flight complete with fireworks shooting from his aircraft. Words cannot describe the emotion and electricity flowing from the crowd.

Bill flew off into the darkness and a hush fell over the crowd of over 500,000 event-goers. Anticipation charged the air as the countdown to Thunder began. For several agonizing seconds an eerie silence enveloped the night and then all at once the night erupted into controlled chaos! True to their reputation Zambelli Internationale both caresses and assaults the night sky with a fireworks show that is literally jaw-dropping. For first time viewers it is an event that leaves them wowed and speechless. 

Thunder Over Louisville is a Bucket List event that everyone should experience at least once in a lifetime.
A-10 Warthog
Lima Lima
B-2 Stealth Bomber
Heritage Flight
Lima Lima Tying the Knot
Navy Leap Frogs
Bill Leff
Trojan Horsemen
Lima Lima
Lima Lima
Derby Logo
F-22 Raptor
L-39 Trainer
Calm Before the Storm
Trojan Horsemen
F-18 Hornet
A subsequent year found me on the other side of the Ohio River in Indiana so I could incorporate the beautiful Louisville skyline into the shots. I recommend getting set up pretty early as space is very limited on this side of the river.

I set up in a place called Falls of the Ohio State Park. Although the view is quite nice, this side of the river is lacking the ambiance of Louisville and I would recommend Louisville for your first time at Thunder.

This year the weather was absolutely miserable. The airshow was a photographer's nightmare, gray planes against a gray sky. However, the poor weather seemed to develop a certain sense of comradery amongst the revelers. Luckily, as a Michigander I am quite accustomed to severe shifts in temperatures in just a matter of hours, if not minutes and was well prepared to brave out the miserable day. Many times I toyed with the notion of crossing the river to the Louisville side where there were warm buildings to hide in. (Yes, Indiana does have several nice waterfront restaurants so if you plan very early you may be able to score a nice seat for the price)

Even with the weather, the day was fantastic and the night time show even moreso. Had I crossed the river I would have regretted not getting the perfect shots from this fantastic vantage point.