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Floyd County

April 21, 2013

Thunder tradition: Kentucky Derby Festival kickoff and annual rite of spring lights up Kentuckiana



“It wouldn’t be Thunder without both of them,” he said of the air show and the fireworks. “You’ve got to have the air show first.”

While only a handful of people were camping out in the early afternoon, Crutcher said that more than 30 people expected to join her before the fireworks lit up the night sky.

“I’m excited,” she said.



A little before noon a group of six claimed a prime spot in Clarksville perched at along the banks of the river in Clarksville’s Ashland Park.

Jim Townsend said it was the third year that he and his wife had made the trek from Pittsburgh, Penn., for the fireworks show. 

“We drive eight hours to get here and come to watch the fireworks,” Jim Townsend said.

“People say we’re nuts, but we keep coming back year after year,” said Linda Townsend. She explained the couple first decided to come to Thunder Over Louisville because they saw a TV show that highlighted the annual fireworks display as one of the nation’s largest.

And this year, they convinced friends to come along.

Rick and Bev Bortz said their friends told them they had to check out the fireworks display, so they agreed.

The group said they really weren’t disappointed that military aircraft were not going to be a part of the air show this year and understood why the cuts were made. Jim Townsend added in the two previous years that they’ve attended parts of the air show were canceled due to poor weather, and another year it was difficult to see the planes because of cloud cover.

But the real reason for sitting in their chairs along the banks of the Ohio River in Clarksville was the fireworks. This year’s show “Thunder Vision” was a massive fireworks display set to the music of TV through the years.

“They haven’t seen them yet. They’re in for a thrill,” Jim Townsend said.


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