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The Kentucky Derby Festival has officially canceled many of its 2020 events, including Thunder Over Louisville, the miniMarathon and the Pegasus Parade. KDF had originally postponed the large events — which are held annually in the weeks leading up to the Kentucky Derby — until August and September due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Kentucky Derby is still expected to be run in some fashion on September 5.

In a press release, KDF President and CEO Matt Gibson said these large-scale events aren’t feasible this year.

“As an organization that always puts public health and safety first, we know it would not be responsible for the Kentucky Derby Festival to put on events that attract crowds with not just hundreds, but hundreds of thousands of people,” Gibson said. “This has been a difficult and emotional decision for our staff and board, but we believe it is the best one based on these unprecedented circumstances.”

KDF is exploring other ways to celebrate Derby season, including “small scale events, virtual events and Festival-themed promotions.” Smaller events like the Balloon Fest and Tour de Lou may happen as well; KDF is currently working on plans for these events.

Erica Peterson is WFPL's Director of News and Programming.