The red carpet will roll out Saturday when downtown Frankfort becomes the epicenter of the governor’s official Derby Breakfast celebration.
The new venue will have the Old Capitol as its backdrop, and Gov. Steve Beshear and first lady Jane Beshear are expected to appear on the Jim Beam Stage between 9 and 10 a.m. to welcome everyone.
Pink-out Zumba will kick off the morning at 7 a.m. for those looking for physical activity before dining on all the food that will be available.
The Zumba event is a $5 donation to support the first lady’s Horses and Hope initiative that provides breast cancer awareness, education, diagnosis and treatment to all the workers at the horse racing tracks in Kentucky.
All other activities begin at 8 a.m. and conclude around noon.
Two exceptions are Frankfort’s ArtWalk that continues until 2 p.m. and the movie, “Secretariat” at the Grand Theatre on St. Clair, which begins at 1 p.m.
More than 25 downtown venues (on both sides of the Kentucky River) will open their doors to the public free-of-charge, to showcase new area artists as well as established masters. Nearly 100 artists’ work will be featured, and there will be two children’s art activities.
All ArtWalk destinations will be designated with colorful flags and can be accessed with a free ride on the Downtown Trolley.
The Grand Theatre will feature the movie about the famous Triple Crown winner Big Red who captured the hearts of Americans.
A horse-drawn trolley provided by the Kentucky Horse Park will also be available to breakfast-goers.
Concerts on the Old Capitol lawn will continue throughout the celebration. Appearing on the Jim Beam Stage will be Jeri Katherine Howell, Mary Beth Current, Exit 99 and Swing Street.
More music and entertainment can be found on the Governor’s Stage behind the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History and includes live demonstrations presented by the Department for Fish and Wildlife’s Salato Center at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. as well as live music throughout the morning.
In addition, the Old Governor’s Mansion that connects to the history center will be open for tours from 8:30 a.m. until noon.
Bob Stewart, who is coordinating the activities for the governor’s office with Downtown Frankfort Inc. and the Frankfort/Franklin County Tourist & Convention Commission, calls Saturday the perfect Derby morning celebration.
“It will be exciting and offer people coming into downtown so many opportunities to see and do so much in a town rich with Kentucky’s history,” Stewart said.
“The governor and first lady are so grateful to everyone who has embraced the idea and are looking forward to seeing everyone there.”
Those who enjoy trains rolling through downtown headed to Churchill Downs will see both CSX and RJ Corman trains filled with their companies’ corporate guests on their way to Derby. The trains will not stop and are scheduled to move through Frankfort at 8:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. respectively.
The Capital City Museum on Ann Street will have thoroughbred Danthebluegrassman outside adjacent to its building, and free pony rides for children will be available on the Old Capitol lawn.
The First Christian Church on Ann Street will be collecting non-perishable food and donations for local food pantries at the request of the governor and first lady.
Both the Capitol and Governor’s Mansion will be open to showcase Kentucky art. Weather permitting, free hot air balloon rides will be available on the Capitol lawn. However, today’s weather forecast predicts rain Saturday morning.
All downtown eateries will feature Derby morning specials. In addition, the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association and Kentucky Pork Producers will be set up on Broadway between the Old Capitol and the Frankfort Y.
There will be a few street and alley closings beginning midnight Friday.
Public parking will be available at the State Office Building on High and Mero streets, Sullivan Parking Garage on Main Street, Commonwealth Credit Union Parking and Depot on High Street.
Frankfort Transit will provide free bus rides from behind the Capitol to the history center from 7:45 a.m. until 1 p.m.
The Downtown Trolley will begin routes at 7:45 a.m. until after the Art Walk at 2 p.m. It will cover Ann, East Main, Wilkinson, Washington, Broadway and Clinton streets.
The official Governor’s Derby poster will be sold on the lawn of the Old Capitol for $15 and also benefits Horses and Hope.
The 137th running of the Kentucky Oaks race Grade I for 3-year-old fillies at Churchill Downs on Friday also supports the first lady’s initiative for breast cancer and features a walk of Kentucky breast cancer survivors prior to the race.
Designated as “Pink Out,” the Downs also gives a portion of its proceeds from the sale of the official “Pink Lady” signature drink of the day to Horses and Hope. Nearly 140 breast cancer survivors have received two free tickets to the Oaks and will be guests of Churchill Downs for lunch.
The Survivors Parade, which will include Evelyn Knight of Frankfort and Jean McCarthy of Lawrenceburg, can be seen Friday on NBC channels on Frankfort cable stations beginning at 6 p.m.
Details of ArtWalk Derby Style are on the Downtown Frankfort website, downtownfrankfort.com.
Maps listing events and local destinations will be available at area downtown merchants and on the Old Capitol lawn.