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April 22, 2012

Late to the show, but fans still arrive in droves (WITH VIDEO)

Weather holds off early Thunder Over Louisville crowds

JEFFERSONVILLE — Early morning drizzle and cold weather delayed the crowds from arriving to the 23rd annual Thunder Over Louisville festival Saturday.

But like the event itself, which serves as the annual kickoff to the Kentucky Derby Festival, the region’s annual rite of spring arrived along with the spectators. (Watch the video

Indiana State Police Sgt. Todd Ringle said the colder-than-normal early morning weather had kept some people away.

“Right now it’s cool and overcast, I think as long as it’s cloudy it’s going to keep people away for a while,” he said early Saturday afternoon.

But Ringle said by the time the fireworks were launched at 9:30 p.m. it was still estimated that the events would draw nearly half-a-million spectators to the banks of the Ohio River.

“We don’t expect a whole lot of rain, at some point the clouds will break and people will start to show up,” Ringle said. “This is a heck of a show so there’s no doubt people will come down.”

Capitalizing on the cold?

First year vendors, Brian Pierce and Natalie Cassady from Perk Me Up Coffee picked the right year to try out the event.

“It’s kind of an experiment for us really,” Pierce said. “As long as we’ve got coffee we’re staying. If we run out we’ll watch fireworks I guess.”

The coffee company, located in Brazil, Ind., sells most of its products online or to vendors. Perk Me Up Coffee served one “freezing” customer hot coffee Saturday morning. They also hedged their bets and were offering iced coffee.

Pierce, who said he had been to Thunder Over Louisville before as a spectator, also had a unique perspective for the show. He said he has also worked for a commercial fireworks company for 20 years that puts on shows in central Indiana. However, he said he has never been part of the “elite” team that fires off the nearly 60 tons of fireworks to create the 28-minute show.

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