Kentucky Derby Festival organizers announced last-minute changes to Thunder Over Louisville Friday evening.
In a news release, organizers said they had “growing concerns of mass gatherings” after the pop-up locations leaked to the public earlier this week. Originally planned for five sites throughout the area, the fireworks displays will now take place at three locations: the Kentucky Exposition Center, Bowman Field and Caesars Southern Indiana.
In a statement, KDF president and CEO Matt Gibson said once the locations went public, more people were planning to gather for Thunder and that it wasn’t safe.
“Speaking with different officials over the last few days we know making these changes is the responsible thing to do,” Gibson said. “These adjustments will keep people safe while still being able to bring a much-anticipated celebration to the community that fans can enjoy from home.”
He said the best way to watch the shows will be on TV.
Last year, organizers canceled Thunder Over Louisville due to the pandemic.
The attempt to hold secret the shows’ locations excited some, but worried others who have concerns about people and pets who would be sensitive to loud, unexpected explosions.
An air show closed to in-person spectators will precede the coordinating fireworks displays, which will begin around 9:30 p.m. and last 18 minutes. It will be broadcast live on WHAS 11 and its soundtrack will be aired on WVEZ 106.9 FM.