It's that time of year again....when half of the world's population comes to Louisville for Derby Days. It starts with Thunder Over Louisville and ends 2 weeks later for the Kentucky Derby. Since we have no idea if we will be here next year, we tried to fit as much Derby fun in as we could. Starting with Thunder, which by the way was AWESOME! Our first year here, we watched it on TV, last year we went to our church which is on a hill that looks directly towards the bridge, and this year we went ALL THE WAY down to the Great Lawn. 2 excited girls, every coat and blanket we own (it was a chilly day), 6 hours of waiting for 30 minutes of fireworks, and 405,000 other people made for fun times.
They also have a pretty awesome air show throughout the day.
Waiting and waiting....
And being silly while waiting.
Once it gets dark, they had some entertainment while we continued to wait.....this guy, then they flew some giant flags around and played the Star Spangled Banner, and then......
A little sampling of the fireworks! It was incredible and so loud and awesome. You could feel them boom there were so many. This wasn't even the finale!
The girls were troopers and stayed awake right until the fireworks started around 10....then they both fell asleep.
The next big Derby event was the Great Balloon Glow.....by far my favorite thing we did. The hot air balloons do a couple of things throughout the weeks and end with the big Race over Louisville (which starts at 7:30am and was actually cancelled this year because of the weather). We got there around 7 and watched them inflate all the balloons....
The first one to go....
Hadley was out of her mind excited....this look on her face was after she had calmed down a bit. SHE LOVED IT! She just ran around looking and pointing and smiling and giggling like a little girl....you know what I mean. I wish I could take her to one everyday.
Joni on the other hand would NOT get out of the stroller. She was terrified of them and felt nice and safe staying her distance.
This big balloon will eventually become the Energizer bunny. It took quite some time getting up and we were right there to watch. Fully blown up it is taller than the Statue of Liberty, the ears alone are as tall as the faces on Mt. Rushmore, and takes 20 crew members to inflate and fly (a regular balloon has 5).
Hadley greeting all the pilots.
The soccer ball (Louisville Lightening) for Uncle Shaun.
So when it started to get dark, they would have a count-down and all at the same time the balloons would turn on their "fire" and they would glow. It was so great. I could totally relate with Hadley's feelings....I was giggling like a little girl on the inside. :)
It happened to be a windy night and the balloons would tilt like this one, sometimes touching the ground. If the pilots sitting in the baskets weren't paying attention, they basket would tip (happened to a number of balloons before we left) and that would be that. They would have to call it quits since it takes a while to get them all inflated and you can't turn the fire on when its laying horizontal.
Getting a little darker....
And when it was completely dark, it was so fun.
And last but not least, the Pegasus Parade. We have never been to the parade and someone told us it was really good and we should go, so we did. The number of people at these events can be a little overwhelming (165,000 at the parade) but we don't get to do these things everyday so it's worth it and the girls love it. What more reason do you need, really?
My dear friend Meredith and her son Sam (the one you occasionally see in our pictures) joined us.
Hadley waiting for the action to start. If there is one thing we have learned about the Derby, the early bird gets the good seats and the best view. We became pros at killing time, waiting for fun fun things to start.
What's a hot day without a delicious snow cone?
And then it begins....
Every big event has some kind of royalty and Derby is no different although I don't know what they do the whole time....ride in the parade I guess.
Some roller skaters....
and fancy ladies on horses....the girls loved the horses and since Derby is all about horses, they weren't disappointed. The parade had lots, and I mean lots, of bands, some movie stars, a few dance groups, and big inflatable balloons which we missed because they entered the parade towards the middle (don't ask me why) instead of the beginning where we were. I was sad the girls didn't get to see them but since they were happy with the horses, it didn't really matter.
More fun floats....
My sweet sweet Joni-girl turned 2 yesterday!!! I still can't believe it. Her and Hadley are very similar size-wise (sharing clothes already) and they love each other (most of the time). We are having a Derby party for her next week. More pictures to come :) Love to you all!