Centennial Festival of Steamboats
Louisville, Kentucky, October 14-19, 2014



Caption Mike Fitzgerald in the Belle pilot house.


Captain Kevin Mullen, Captain Mark Doty, and Chief Engineer Jim McCoy drinking coffee and talking to conference attendees.


Belle at the Louisville wharf (above) and visiting Belle of Peoria below.


Signs of the times . . .



RiverQueen wishes to thank Randy Davis, alumni of the Belle of Louisville, Natchez IX, Delta Queen, and Mississippi Queen, for sending these photos live from the conference. The Belle of Louisville was built in 1914, and is one of only five vintage steamboats still in operation in America. To find out more about the celebration, click here. It ends tomorrow night, Sunday, October 19, 2014. Drive down to Louisville if you can make it for the final day.

Saturday October 18 photos: the actual day the boat's keel was laid, one hundred years ago. Still going strong.








The morning crew.


The Delta Queen, present in spirit at the Centennial.


The Spirit of Jefferson


Randy Davis, our photographer, at the Centennial.

Schedule (from the Courier-Journal)

The Centennial Festival of Riverboats, a commemoration of the 100th birthday of the Belle of Louisville, will be at the waterfront from Oct. 14-19. All landside events are free. Riverboat cruises are ticketed.

Daily Operating Hours
Tuesday, Oct. 14 - 5:30 p.m - 9 p.m
Wednesday, Oct. 15 - 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 16 - 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 17 - 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 18 - 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 19 - 11 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.

Daily Activities

A Century of Commerce: A River Industry Display

• Encompassing one hundred years of transportation on the Ohio River, the display takes visitors on a tour of historic and modern towboats, including the W.P. Snyder and the Coast Guard Cutter Osage. Extending more than two football fields along the waterfront, with 11 boats, visitors will have an up-close, hands on experience appropriate for families and children young and old. The unique and informative exhibit is free to the public and will include steam engines, a knot tying area, river lore storytellers, diesel engine displays, dam model, river career booths and free tours.

The Belle's Bourbon Landing

• Inside the festival will be the The Belle's Bourbon Landing designed by stpmj Design, the juried winner of the Centennial Festival of Riverboats Pavilions Design Competition.

Live Music

• As curated by the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, visitors will enjoy an exciting blend of music with live performances on two stages by 45 different acts at the award-winning Waterfront Park.

RELATED: Belle the star at 100th birthday bash

Calliope Contest

• This unique instrument is featured on several riverboats, and while walking through the festival you will hear music of the calliope playing. Each riverboat will compete to see who can play the best tunes.

Churchill Downs Riverboat Races

• Daily boat races will take place along the Ohio River.

Race schedule
• Wednesday, Oct. 15 - 4:30 p.m. - Spirit of Jefferson vs. The Spirit of Peoria
• Thursday, Oct. 16 - 8 p.m. - Belle of Louisville vs. The Spirit of Peoria
• Friday, Oct. 17 - 1:30 pm - River Queen vs. The Spirit of Peoria
• Sunday, Oct. 19 - 3 p.m. - Belle of Louisville vs. Belle of Cincinnati vs. American Queen

Special Events
Opening ceremonies

Presented by WLKY on Oct. 14 at 5:30 p.m., there will be a formal presentation to officially open the festival with a rechristening of the Belle of Louisville. Then comes the Belle of Louisville's 100th Birthday Parade - a unique community parade, inspired by the tradition of a New Orleans "second line." Acts participating in the parade include the Rascals of Ragtime, River City Drum Corps and the Kentucky Wheelmen, among others. The parade route will start within the park, march through the festival and end in front of the Belle of Louisville. Following the parade Boats will be ticketed dinner cruises. Opening Ceremony Fireworks will close the evening.

UofL Homecoming on the Waterfront

On Oct. 15 from 6p.m.-8 p.m., hear from select athletes, coaches and the Homecoming Court.

Adventures in Water Education Festival

From Oct. 15-17, check out Adventures in Water, which is an education festival along the shores of the Ohio River. Teachers of third through fifth grades are invited to bring the classroom to the Waterfront Park for a real-world extension of classroom learning through a multi-content approach. Students rotate through several fun and educational stations provided by community partners to learn about all the amazing ways we use water and connect to the river.

Courier-Journal Balloon Glow

On Oct. 17 from 7:30-9 p.m., enjoy a variety of balloons on display on the Great Lawn allowing guests to get an up close personal view of the glimmer and speak with pilots.

Steamboat Days-Southern Indiana

On Oct 17-19, Jeffersonville will host Steamboat Days during Louisville's Centennial Festival of Riverboats. The Big Four pedestrian bridge will link both festivals together for a weekend full of activities. In addition to Jeffersonville's many shops and dining opportunities, Steamboat Days will feature a juried art village, live art demonstrations, live music on the Riverstage, a parade and a children's area.

The Belle's Big Birthday Bash

Presented by Fifth Third Bank on Oct. 18, the celebration will kick off at 1:30 p.m. with the Mark Twain Riverboat Parade down the Ohio River featuring all boats. Later in the evening, there will be a display of fireworks over the Ohio River as the crowd sings Happy Birthday to the Belle of Louisville.

Bike riders rejoice

Humana will provide free valet bicycle parking at The Centennial Festival of Riverboats. Pedal to Waterfront Park and the valet staff will watch your bicycle for you so you can enjoy the festival. The hours of the free bicycle valet parking are:

• Friday, Oct. 17, 5 p.m.- 10 p.m.
• Saturday, Oct. 18, 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
• Sunday, Oct. 19, 11 a.m. - 7:30 p.m.

If you don't have a bicycle the festival will offer bicycle rentals by Wheel Fun Rental, located at the base of the Big Four Bridge.

Riverboat Cruises

A series of customized cruises will also be available throughout the six-day festival. For a complete schedule, please visit

The official t-shirt:

BlaserBelleLOUISVILLEshirtDesign order t-shirt

Festival of Riverboats "Belle of Louisville" T-shirt
Available colors: White
Available sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL

The Official Festival Artist for the Centennial Festival of Riverboats is Michael Blaser!

He has created an original painting and will print reproductions that will be sold through Louisville's print and framing gallery network. These images will be a reminder of this event displayed in homes and businesses around the community and region for many years to come. Michael has also created a painting of the Belle of Louisville that will be printed on select festival merchandise.

Michael will have a booth at the event with the Official Portrait as well as many other river prints & giclees on display. Only 400 paintings will be created so be sure to get yours today!

To purchase from the artist, please call 1-800-383-0669. - order artwork

Available Artwork

Small Giclee print on paper, image size 22 x 12.5 inches plus borders, Signed in lower right of margin- $150 plus $15 shipping via FedX Ground

Large Giclee print on paper, image size 32 x 18 inches plus borders, Signed in lower right of margin-$225 plus $15 shipping via FedX Ground

Large canvas Giclee with title plate, image size 46 x 26 inches, Signed on image- $650 plus $15 shipping via FedX Ground

To learn more about Michael Blaser and his work visit his website


Buy Festival of Riverboats collectibles (while available)

More photos of the Centennial by Micah Lynn

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