Now in its 23rd year, Thunder Over Louisville is the granddaddy of pyrotechnic displays. Created as the opening ceremonies of the Kentucky Derby Festival, it is the largest annual fireworks display in America thanks to the artistry of Zambelli Internationale.
The physical set-up includes 250 tons of launching tubes, some as high as 10 feet with a diameter of 12 inches. Two million pounds of sand pack the firing tubes on 1800 feet of barges. Almost 700 miles of wire cable connect 20 firing computers to the command post for synchronization to music.
The annual display is choreographed by Michael Richards, George Sr.’s son-in-law.
The special themes give each Thunder a unique flavor. Since the beginning, all shows have included a special salute to America. One year, a prelude salute to Connie and George Zambelli to commemorate their 50th wedding anniversary.
Michael Richards working on Thunder Over Louisville
Michael Richards on-site on the bridge in Louisville overlooking the set-up.
Niagara Falls and bridge effects