After a century of churning her paddlewheel across North America, the Belle of Louisville will throw a massive riverfront birthday blast with hundreds of events, from cruises and parades to concerts and fireworks.
The oldest operating Mississippi River-style steamboat in the world, the Belle of Louisville is a National Historic Landmark.
Nine riverboats are pulling in to party with the Belle, from as far away as Galveston, Texas, and St. Paul, Minn. Combined, the nine boats will travel 10,000 nautical miles to join the Bell’s party in Louisville.
Racing along the Bluegrass waterfront
Nine steamboats will be racing along the Ohio River: Spirit of Jefferson, Louisville, Ky., The River Queen, Newport, Ky.; Anson Northrup, St. Paul, Minn.; Belle of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio; The Colonel, Galveston, Texas; Celebration Belle, Moline, Ill.; and Spirit of Peoria, Peoria, Ill.
The boats will take passengers on more than 200 cruises. Also, The General Jackson from Nashville, Tenn., a showboat with a Victorian Theater, will have live music shows each day of the Riverboat Festival.
Yes, there’s even a family pirate cruise with hats and eye patches.
Cheers! Theme cruises for music, food and drink
Some of the cruises revolve around music, such as the late night music cruise. Others explore the rich natural and man-made history of the Ohio River, including the 1937 flood and today’s locks and dams.
Food will be a big part of the birthday cruises, from breakfast, lunch and dinner cruises to ice cream socials and beer and wine tastings. And since this is Kentucky, bourbon-tasting cruises, of course.
The parade of all boats will be Saturday, Oct. 18, followed by the birthday party and fireworks cruises.
On shore during the birthday bash, Louisville Waterfront Park will rock with balloon glows, concerts and fireworks. Tickets are on sale now.
When you go