Kentucky Derby Festival names new chair

kdf derby festival logo

Louisville, KY.   – Horseshoe Southern Indiana’s Judy Genovese Hess will chair the 2020 Kentucky Derby Festival. Hess, who’s served on the Festival’s board for 20 years, was elected by the Festival’s Board of Directors at its annual meeting last night. Hess is Community Relations Coordinator for Horseshoe Southern Indiana. She follows the leadership of Marita Willis, who will continue serving as Immediate Past Chair of the Derby Festival.

“It’s truly an honor to be Chair of the Kentucky Derby Festival, an internationally recognized organization known for bringing joy, fun and entertainment to thousands of people every spring,” said Hess. “The dedication of our Board and Staff, alongside our sponsors and volunteers to produce over seventy events each year is incredible. They work hard and have fun. I look forward to being part of it all.”

 Judy Hess 2020 Chair

Hess is a resident of Corydon, Indiana, and was raised in Paducah, Kentucky. She was first elected to the Kentucky Derby Festival’s Board of Directors in 1999, representing Caesar’s Indiana when the company became a new Thunder sponsor. Hess became a member of the KDF Executive Board in 2015. She has also served on committees for several Derby Festival events and programs, including Celebrity Day at the Downs, BeerFest, Administration Committee, Community/Multi Cultural Affairs, Diversity Committee, Spring Fashion Show, Spelling Bee, Finance Committee, Audit Committee and Student Art Contest.

Mike Berry continues to serve as President and CEO of the Derby Festival. Mike Ziemianski, VP of Development, St. Meinrad School of Theology, was elected Chair-Elect; Mike Shea was elected Vice Chair; Ken Selvaggi, WAVE 3 News, was elected Secretary; and Erin Rasinen was elected Treasurer.

Joining the 75-member board as newly elected directors are: Dennis Gerstner, Papa John’s; Marina Gonzalez; Dana Kasler, Louisville Parks & Recreation; Brianna Lathon; Lynnie Meyer, Norton Healthcare; Todd Pitt, Summit Media; Donna Salas, Pegasus Parade Chair; Andrea Stahlman, WLKY TV; and Susan Moore, President, The Fillies, Inc.

Dates for some of the Festival’s signature events are already set for next year. Thunder Over Louisville – the Kentucky Derby Festival’s Opening Ceremonies – will be held on Saturday, April 18. The BB&T Great BalloonFest is April 23-25, Kroger’s Fest-a-Ville opens on April 23, the Humana miniMarathon/Marathon will be April 25, Great Bed Races is April 27, the Great Steamboat Race is April 29, and the Republic Bank Pegasus Parade is set for April 30.  (See Festival Highlights Schedule Attached for additional event dates.)

Since 1956, the Derby Festival has worked to bring the community together in celebration. The Festival is an independent community organization supported by 4,000 volunteers, 400 businesses and civic groups, Pegasus Pin sponsorships and event participation. This involvement has made the Festival the largest single attended event in Kentucky and one of the leading community celebrations in the world.

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