The Kentucky Derby Festival

One of the biggest events to hit Louisville, Kentucky is the Kentucky Derby and the two week long Kentucky Derby Festival that precedes it. From fashion shows, to spelling bees to brunches and golf tournaments, there are all kinds of events taking place in Louisville. This year, the festival runs from April 12th until May 2nd. We’ve showcased some of our favorite events taking place during the festival.

The Royal Court
Each year, a selection of 5 Princesses are chosen from a pool of applicants and they attend many pre-Derby festivities, hoping to become the Queen and attend all of the official Kentucky Derby Festival events and receive a $2000 scholarship. This year’s Princesses were: Morgan Cooksey, Julia Springate, Eriauna Stratton, Grace Trimble and Grace Wainright.

Unlike a normal pageant where a panel of judges choose the winner, to be fair, the Royal Court’s Queen is determined with a spin of the wheel. The 2014 Royal Court Queen was chosen last Friday and the winner was Julia Springate!

Thunder Over Louisville
Thunder Over Louisville is the big kickoff celebration of the Kentucky Derby Festival. The event took place on Saturday, April 11th. It started 3:00pm with an amazing Air Show. The best part was seeing the incredible Blue Angles perform. Then at 9:00 when the sun finally set, the nation’s largest annual fireworks spectacle started. It was fantastic as always and really set the tone for the rest of the festival!  

Kentucky Derby Marathon
The 2014 Kentucky Derby Marathon will be taking place on Saturday April 19th. In additional to the full marathon, there is also a half marathon and a kid’s race. The Start Line will be at Main Street and Brock Street in downtown Louisville and the Finish Line will be at Preston and Witherspoon Street.

Beer Fest
While everyone tends to think of Mint Juleps when they heard about the Kentucky Derby, the festival provides a great opportunity to try out some new beers. Beer Fest will be held on April 30th and attendees will have the opportunity to sample many National and Craft beers. It will be hard to choose a favorite!

Kentucky Derby
The main event, the Kentucky Derby is a two minute horse race, held at Churchill Downs in Louisville. Even though the race is short, ticket holders arrive early to see and be seen. Both men and women dress up in their finest Spring fashions. If you’re attending, be sure to place a bet on your favorite horse and sip on a Mint Julep, the Kentucky Derby’s official drink.

Will you be in Louisville for the Kentucky Derby Festival? If you need a place to stay, we still have some availabilities at our Louisville Properties!

Central Atlanta in a Day

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While many of our guests stay in Atlanta for a week or more, they are often on business, are in the process of relocating or simply don’t have a lot of time to spend sightseeing in Atlanta even though they would like to. That’s why we’ve put together a list of some of our favorite Atlanta spots that can be visited in a single day, in case you have the opportunity to squeeze in some sightseeing during a free day.  

We recommend buying an Atlanta City Pass ahead of your day in Atlanta. Not only will it save you money, it will let you skip the lines and head straight into the attractions, which is extra important when your time is limited. Atlanta City Passes are $74 each, and in addition to the attractions mentioned below, you’ll also be able to visit the Atlanta Zoo and the Fernback Museum of Natural History.

Breakfast
Wake up early and start your day with a delicious breakfast at West Egg Café on Howell Mill Road. The café serves up delicious fare from 7am on weekdays and 8am on weekends. As their name suggests, you can’t go wrong with ordering eggs for breakfast. Don’t miss their homemade, southern-style biscuits either!

Mid-Morning
Now that you’re fueled up, continue down the Howell Mill Road until you hit Centennial Olympic Park. You’ll be spending the rest of the day in the area, so find a parking spot, you can see everything on foot!

Your first attraction is the Georgia Aquarium – it’s like no aquarium you’ve ever been to! This is the largest aquarium in the world, and among its many exhibits you’ll spot penguins, beluga whales, whale sharks, otters, dolphins, thousands of varieties of fish and so much more! There are plenty of options for animal encounters, including one of the newest attractions; the opportunity to SCUBA Dive or snorkel in the tanks with whale sharks and manta rays! Tickets for animal encounters are not included with a general admission ticket (or the Atlanta City Pass) and must be booked ahead of time, so make your reservations early!

Lunch
There are lots of nice restaurants around, but for lunch, if it’s nice outside, we recommend swinging by Kwan’s Deli and Korean Kitchen to pick up some supplies for a picnic. Wander down to Olympic Park’s Reflecting Pool and enjoy the sights, and your food!

Early Afternoon
After lunch see how news is made, and broadcasted at the CNN Center. Atlanta is the headquarters of CNN International, and many of the CNN reporters you see on a daily basis work out of this building. Every day, CNN offers a 55-minute Inside CNN Studio Tour where you can get a behind the scenes peek at their inner operations. While reservations are recommended, tours depart every 10 minutes, so there is a good chance you’ll be able to get a walk-up ticket at the time you want. 

Later Afternoon
Later in the afternoon, learn about one of America’s favorite beverages at The World of Coca-Cola. Along with being the international headquarters of CNN, Atlanta is also the international headquarters of the Coca-Cola Corporation. The World of Coca-Cola is an interactive tour, and the best part comes at the end of the tour, when you get to sample Coke products from all over the world. See how Coca-Cola in Japan compares to Coca-Cola in Mexico and at home!

Dinner
For dinner, head over to the western edge of the park and pop into Max’s Coal Oven Pizzeria to enjoy a slice, or a whole pie of some of the best New York style pizza in town!

Evening
If you’d like to catch one of Atlanta’s professional sports teams play but don’t want to pay for a ticket, next door to Max’s Coal Oven Pizzeria is Stats, a large sports bar where you can catch the big game, on the big screen.

We guarantee that you’ll come back to your room from your day feeling like you got to experience the best that downtown Atlanta has to offer. You’ll be more than ready to crash on our comfortable beds. Our Atlanta Central property makes for a great home base.

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