Louisville Events and Festivals

(Louisville, Kentucky - KY, USA)

News on upcoming events and festivals are readily available from Louisville's tourist information centers and local newspapers and magazines. Try the free listings Louisville magazine LEO for an up-to-date calendar of events and the latest things to do.

Sporting events in Louisville feature largely, while smaller fundraisers, art shows and musical events are all regular occurrences in the cultural and artistically thriving city. Below is a fairly comprehensive list of the main festivals and events in the Louisville area.

National Public Holidays

  • 1st January - New Year's Day
  • Third Monday in January - Martin Luther King Day
  • 12th February - Lincoln's Birthday
  • Third Monday in February - Washington's Birthday
  • Last Monday in May - Memorial Day
  • 4th July - Independence Day
  • First Monday in September - Labor Day
  • Second Monday in October - Columbus Day
  • 11th November - Veterans Day
  • 4th Thursday in November - Thanksgiving
  • 25th December - Christmas Day

Calendar of Festivals and Events 2014 / 2015


  • ZooTales - mid-January, Louisville Zoo hosts an exciting storytelling event ideal for children, with guest authors and complimentary refreshments.
  • Louisville Auto Show - late January, held at the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center, the auto show will please all car lovers. Featuring displays of vintage cars and new models, this family friendly show makes for a great day out.


  • There are no significant events and festivals in Louisville in February.


  • Norton Southwest Hospital Free Easter Egg Hunt - mid-March, parents should take note of this free Easter egg hunt, with more than 12,000 Easter eggs up for grabs among other prizes.
  • Hats, Hpnotiq and Haute Couture - late March, held at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, this Louisville event is aimed at assisting visitors in finding the perfect Derby Hat while leisurely sipping on Hpnotiq cocktails and enjoying the museum's stunning artworks.
  • Rodes City Run - late March, annual running event at Louisville Slugger Field, where nearly 6,000 participants of all categories join in this charity run.


  • Running of the Rodents - a sporting event that consists of a well-prepared rat race, rodent parade, rat hat contest, fruit-loop eating contest and much more rodent-related fun. Visitors are not permitted to enter their own rodents into the competitions.


  • Annual Oaks Brunch Fundraiser - early May, the ideal way to kick off the Derby weekend, with cocktails, hat and craft sales and a silent auction, not to mention a delicious brunch feast and live music. Organized by Louisville's Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft.
  • Kentucky Derby - the biggest event of the year, the two-minute race attracts thousands of spectator sporting beautiful hats. Held at Churchill Downs, visitors should not miss this opportunity to place their bets.
  • Down and Derby at the Water Tower - party held after the Kentucky Derby to raise funds and consciousness for the WINGS Clinic (HIV / AIDS medical center) and The Louisville AIDS Walk. Although welcoming the GLBTQ (gay, lesbian, bi-sexual,transgender and queer culture) community the event is open to all.
  • Abbey Road on the River - late May, music festival inspired by the Beatles covering five days including Memorial Day weekend.


  • Dew Action Sports Tour-Panasonic Open - early to mid-June, held at the Kentucky Fair and Expo Center, the sports tour features skateboard, BMX and motocross competitions. Come and view top athletes compete for the prestigious titles.
  • Kentuckiana Pride Festival - mid-June, major gay pride festival held at the Belvedere.


  • Forecastle Festival - mid-July, a music and art festival with a background of environmental activism held over three days.
  • Lebowski Fest - late July, held at the waterfront, this annual event is a celebration of all things including bowling, costumes, trivia, film screenings and celebrity appearances.


  • Ironman Triathlon - held the last Sunday of August since 2007, this event starts with a 2.4 mile / 3.86 km swim followed by a 112-mile / 180.25 km bike and then a 26.2-mile / 42.2 km run


  • National Quartet Convention - the gospel event of the year, this convention has been running since 1957 and claims to be the oldest Southern gospel quartet convention in the US. Held at the Kentucky Fair and Expo Center, over 80 quartets perform to thousands of fans, while religious speakers are also on hand.


  • Bourbon Ball - early October, annual fundraiser for the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft. Running since 1985, this black-tie event is guaranteed to be a great night out.
  • Race for the Cure - early October, a charitable event in order to raise money for breast cancer, this annual Louisville race attracts over 10,000 participants.


  • Breeders Cup - early November, visitors can enjoy the internationally recognized Breeders' Cup thoroughbred horserace at Churchill Downs on watch on as jockeys compete for the title and cash prize.
  • North American International Livestock Exposition - early to mid-November, this is the largest all-breed, pure breed livestock exposition in the world. It showcases nine different livestock competitions and Louisville visitors can watch the entries being judged, while there is also a large selection of vendors.


  • Christmas Gift and Décor Show - early to mid-December, held at the Kentucky fair and Exposition Center, visitors can browse more than 700 booths filled with festive gifts and crafts. Santa is on hand for photos at this free event.
  • Kentucky Flea Market - late December to early January, New Year's event featuring arts, crafts, collectibles and antiques among other items.