Can you hear it?

The explosive hallmark of the Kentucky Derby Festival gave its first distant rumbles today as the Festival Board unveiled the poster and details for 2012’s Thunder Over Louisville. This year’s theme: “A Star-Spangled Blast”. The forecast for Saturday, April 21, 2012 promises red, white and blue skies, chock-full of around 100 whirling, twirling aircraft.

The patriotic theme celebrates the Marine Aviation Centennial, making Thunder one of three events in 2012 celebrating the military organization’s 100th anniversary. For this reason, you can expect a lot more planes roaring overhead than in years past. Aviation enthusiasts across the region will be wild with anticipation for the 100-aircraft show, featuring planes dating back as far as 1941. The soundtrack for the show will be vintage as well, including popular melodies from every war era since WWI through the Iraq wars. The Derby Festival board is also asking Thunder-goers themselves to show their American spirit by wearing red, white or blue to the bombastic event.

Probably the most exciting news from today’s conference, was the announcement of this year’s Thundernator. For those of you not up to speed on your Derby Festival lingo, the Thundernator is the lucky individual who gives the count-down and fires the first blast into that late April sky. And while 2012’s Thundernator won’t be sporting a leather jacket and an AMT Hardballer .45, he will be just as bad-ass, if not more so than the cyborg assasin himself. This year’s Thundernator is Sgt. Dakota Meyer, Medal of Honor Recipient and Kentucky native.

When asked if the Festival board was worried about the bridge situation, Mike Berry, Kentucky Derby Festival President and CEO didn’t seem too worried. Derby Festival authorities say they have had a “Plan B” and a”Plan C” from the beginning of the Sherman Minton pickle. However, they remain confident that repairs will remain on schedule. Right now “Plan A” seems to be the most likely option. (That means the firework-waterfall is a go. Yes!)

Now, if only the weather will cooperate this year. Negotiations have commenced, and KDF authorities are all lobbying for warm sunny skies. After last year’s cold, soggy mess, and a January tornado, I think the weather-gods owe us this one.