Derby Festival Dogged By Economy Turndown

LOUISVILLE, KY -- The Kentucky Derby Festival is struggling to find corporate sponsors and may scale back some of this year's events because of the sagging economy, reports The Louisville Courier-Journal in its Sunday edition.

The festival, which attracts about 1.5 million people each year, is about $250,000 behind in sponsorship commitments for events, compared with this time last year, and some sponsors such as Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom have pulled out, said Mike Berry, festival president and CEO.

"Because of the economy, this is the most difficult year we have ever experienced lining up corporate sponsorships," said Patrick Armstrong, the festival's senior vice president of marketing and development.

In response, the price of Pegasus Pins will be a dollar higher, rising to $4 at retailers and $5 at events. It's the first price hike since 2003 for the pins, about 350,000 of which are purchased annually.

Berry also expects that the economic downturn will cause the festival to lose money on its premier event, the huge air and fireworks show known as Thunder Over Louisville, reports The Louisville Courier-Journal.

Copyright - The Louisville Courier-Journal

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