Monday, May 14th, 2007

The Kentucky Derby

I know the Kentucky Derby was a week ago, so my article is a bit late. Blame all those mint juleps I drank. I’m just now recovering.

The Derby is one of those things that is so easy to take for granted, or even in a way dislike. When you are a city that has an event of that international magnitude, it is something that, to a local, can almost seem like an obstacle to telling your story. Everyone thinks of Louisville as the Derby city, but doesn’t want to look beyond it to the great things behind it. Indianapolis with the Indy 500 is in a similar situation.

But at a friend’s party watching the race on TV, it really dawned on me how much exposure the city gets from it. I mean, the Queen of England came over to see the Derby, I’m sure with a small tabloid army in tow. People around the country and indeed around the world pay attention to this race, and not just for the great gambling opportunities. This is something that the Columbus’s and the Charlotte’s of this world just don’t have.

And what I nice Derby it was. The weather was great. Churchill Downs looked spectacular. The pageantry of the event was in full bloom. You couldn’t have asked for much more. Anyone tuning into that race on TV was treated to an extremely positive view of the city. And what’s more one that took place in a privately funded venue that actually pays taxes. How many other cities can make that claim?

For those of you who have never been, the Kentucky Derby is a great experience I highly recommend. The hard core partiers should probably head for the infield (better practice sneaking in your own liquor), or the more genteel, well-heeled among my distinguished readership can check out Millionaire’s Row. Whatever the case, I can virtually guarantee you’ll have a good time – as long as it isn’t raining! And after enjoying the Derby, stick around and check out the rest of what the city has to offer.

Comments Off on The Kentucky Derby
Topics: Civic Branding, Urban Culture
Cities: Louisville

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Aaron M. Renn is an opinion-leading urban analyst, consultant, speaker, and writer on a mission to help America’s cities thrive and find sustainable success in the 21st century.

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