Celebrating Thunder at the Cressman Center

  • 01 of 09

    Where Do You Watch Thunder Over Louisville?

    ••• Image © Mali Anderson

    Each year, Derby season is launched with Thunder Over Louisville. An air show by day and a firework extravaganza by night, the event is the beginning of two weeks of Kentucky Derby parties, hot air balloon festivals, the Great Steamboat Race, the Pegasus Parade, the Derby Marathon and more. All of these, Thunder Over Louisville included, are part of the annual Kentucky Derby Festival.

    People from around Louisville, along with residents from surrounding states, all head to the banks of the Ohio River to participate in the festivities of Thunder Over Louisville. Some families stake out spots near the Ohio waters early in the morning, while others prefer to attend family events, dinners and parties in downtown buildings.

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  • 02 of 09

    Fire & Art at The Cressman Center

    ••• Image © Mali Anderson

    The Cressman Center, University of Louisville’s downtown art building, holds a Thunder event called Fire & Art. Located on the corner of Main St. and First St., the center is home to a glass hot shop, studios, a seminar room and galleries.

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  • 03 of 09

    Refreshments at Fire & Art

    ••• Image © Mali Anderson

    The event is held from 3 p.m.-midnight and refreshments are available throughout the party. Chips, pretzels, soda pop, coffee and cookies are served, along with a buffet style snack dinner between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets to the 2013 event cost $30 for each adult and $10 for each child.

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  • 04 of 09

    Face Painting and Kid's Activities

    ••• Image © Mali Anderson

    Many visitors to Fire & Ice: Thunder at The Cressman Center, use the building as a home base while exploring the waterfront. For people who want to relax and stay indoors, movies are screened in the seminar room and kid’s activities create entertainment for younger attendees. The atmosphere is relaxed and casual, with face painting, button making and paper bracelets provided for decorating.

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  • 05 of 09

    Hot Shop

    ••• Image © Mali Anderson

    Bleacher seats are set up in the center’s hot shop, the space where instructors and students of U of L’s Hite Art Institute blow glass. Molten glass is inflated into a bubble and manipulated in a series of steps. The objects are repeatedly taken back into the furnaces, to keep the glass supple, while the shape is formed.

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  • 06 of 09

    Hot Glass

    ••• Image © Mali Anderson

    Glassblowing is fascinating to watch. In this shot, the artists attach and pull away molten glass to form a handle.

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  • 07 of 09

    Finishing the Piece

    ••• Image © Mali Anderson

    Once the piece is completed, it is moved into annealers, boxes resembling kilns designed to cool glass slowly. Cooling on it’s own, glass may crack or explode as the hot matter acclimates to room temperature.

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  • 08 of 09

    Watching Thunder Over Louisville

    ••• Image © Mali Anderson

    Once the sun goes down, visitors disperse. Some want to head to the waterfront for a front row fireworks seat, others ascend the stairs of The Cressman and take advantage of the center's roof, it makes a charming Thunder viewing platform. If you are interested in watching from The Cressman Center roof, take note: there are other buildings in the area so some of the firework displays are blocked. But you will still see plenty of colors and flashing fireworks, the overall scene is dynamic, inspiring and fun.

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  • 09 of 09

    Firework After Firework!

    ••• Image © Mali Anderson

    As any spectator of Thunder can attest, just when you think it’s over, it’s not! Throughout the exhibition, fireworks explode and spirits soar as Louisville pride swells. After all, it’s Derby season, arguably the most famous feather in this vibrant city’s cap.

    And we're off! Once Thunder is over, it is officially Derbytime. Make the most of it and head out to as many Kentucky Derby Festival events as you can.

    Cressman Center for Visual Arts
    100 East Main Street
    (502) 852-0288

    As is common in the industry, the writer was provided with complimentary tickets for reviewing purposes. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.