I used to live in Louisville, Kentucky for a time. Got to know it a little. Not like a native mind you, but it was a good place to live for a time. Every year, they have a horse race. Basketball is a second religion. Did I mention they have a horse race?
Now, you wouldn't think that a sporting even like this would have an effect on an airport, but think again. Think of all the rich people who buy the tickets for something like this. Then, think of a sport in which the jaded rich have an investment in and think chaos at the airport. Also, think of a sport in which the Ultra rich are involved in. This brings in your oil barons from ever which way and the Hollywood celebrity types.
What happens to the airport? To give a little background, Louisville International Airport (yes it is an international airport) is one of the busiest in the world in terms of cargo volume. In General, it comes in second or third WORLDWIDE in terms of the movement of cargo. (In terms of Passengers it ranks in the 60's). However, moving cargo is the big thing for Louisville. UPS owns the airport with its operations covering the southern half of the airport. UPS flies in several hundred aircraft a night, loads them and sends them back out in the morning. So, given this, what does the Kentucky Derby do to Louisville?
One runway literally becomes a parking lot for all the planes coming in. Little hard finding parking spaces for 300 corporate jets. Taxiways, aprons, and hardstands are filled to capacity. Every rich horse owner in America and beyond is there. Fortunately, this happens on a weekend, so the disruption is mitigated somewhat. Also, it happens during the day, so UPS operations aren't hit there. All those rich folks park on the other side of the field, away from the UPS guys.
Locally, its an excuse to barbecue. Everyone has a cookout or gathering where the race is watched or listened to. Three things are the old business in Louisville: Tobacco, Horse Racing and Whiskey. (All of which seem to represent vices of some sort or another.) Usually, one is asked to place a token bet on a horse. (Mine always lost). Then you throw washers, eat a lot of steak, hamburgers and fried chicken. After being suitably stuffed and enjoying the race, you go home and hope that the others on the road haven't imbibed themselves on too much mint julep.
Louisville is the home to many of the vices. These exist side by side with the churches too, which leads to some oxymoronic situations in the city. Like some places in Texas I have lived, you can't walk very far without encountering a topless bar and a church. Oh, those people can say they don't go to those places, but we all know they do. The ironic thing about these places, the topless bars I mean, is that they don't serve alcohol. Yep, that's right, no alcohol. I can say honestly that in all the time I was in Louisville, I never went to any of these places, but I have friends that did and that's where I got the scoop. Anyway, it just seems a little silly that you can't get a drink, but they do sell soda. (Oh, by the way, its COKE. Everything is a Coke. Strange that Yum Brands who run Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut all have there HQ there and they primarily sell Pepsi, but I digress).
There is a vibrant offbeat community, driven by a good local bohemian area that is slowly being gentrified like many areas of its like in the country. This has led to a local movement to "Keep Louisville Weird."
All in all, its a nice place to live. People are friendly. The weather is nice, if a bit sticky in the summer. I want to go back to visit someday. Hope all my friends there are well.
So, that's my little review.
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