Arts and Culture

The massive pre-Derby fireworks display that is Thunder Over Louisville makes its return to Waterfront Park this year.

Officials with the Kentucky Derby Festival, which organizes Thunder Over Louisville, announced details about the 2022 event at a Thursday press conference. 

“We can’t wait to be back at the waterfront for Thunder Over Louisville this year and celebrate one of our favorite traditions together again,” festival president and CEO Matt Gibson said. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Thunder Over Louisville was canceled in 2020 and “re-imagined” in 2021 with several pop-up locations.  

Slated for April 23, this year’s Thunder Over Louisville will have the theme “The Legend Returns.” 

It will also celebrate the 75th anniversary of the U.S. Air Force with an air show that includes appearances by civilian and military aircrafts from groups such as the U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor Demo, Air Force Heritage Flight, the Kentucky Air National Guard 123rd Airlift Wing with the new C-130J, and the Commemorative Air Force’s B-29, B-24 and B-25.

“It’s going to be phenomenal!” Thunder producer Wayne Hettinger said. “You’ll see the best air equipment this country has on Thunder Day.” 

Zambelli Fireworks will design the 2022 fireworks show. The Pennsylvania-based pyrotechnics company has been involved with Thunder Over Louisville since the early 90s, according to a WHAS report

The fireworks are choreographed to a soundtrack, which will include music “like nothing we’ve ever done before,” Hettinger said.

The air show will begin April 23 at 3 p.m. followed by the fireworks display at 9:30 p.m.

Stephanie Wolf is WFPL's Arts & Culture Reporter.