Happy 20th Anniversary, Great Lawn! And many, many more …

Today, October 19, 2018, marks the 20th anniversary of Waterfront Park’s Great Lawn. A lot has happened in those twenty years – three phases and 85 acres later, the park averages more than 150 events every year and more than 2 million visitors. The Great Lawn has been joined by the Big Four® Bridge as the two most iconic features of Waterfront Park, and the two playgrounds are well-loved and used by families from all over the community.

To celebrate this special anniversary, local dignitaries who have been instrumental in the development and success of Louisville Waterfront Park gathered on the Great Lawn to serve birthday cake (donated by Kroger) to 300 J. Graham Brown School elementary students.

The guest cake servers included:

  • Former Mayor Jerry E. Abramson
  • Mayor Greg Fischer;
  • Former County Judge/Executive Rebecca Jackson
  • Former Congressman Romano L. Mazzoli
  • Former Congresswoman Anne Meagher Northup
  • Former Congressman Mike Ward
  • Congressman John Yarmuth

Prior to the serving of cake, the students took part in field day activities on the Great Lawn. Brown School high school students, teachers, and chaperones administered the activities.

Fun facts about the Great Lawn:

  • Before the Great Lawn was GREAT, the area was the site of heavy industry, including sand, gravel, and scrap operations.
  • The river actually flows under the portion of the Great Lawn closest to the river, which is built on piers.
  • The Great Lawn has hosted millions of visitors over the years at events including the KDF Chow Wagon, Fest-a-Ville & Thunder Over Louisville; the Forecastle Festival; Ironman Triathlons; numerous July 4th celebrations; Fleur de Flea Vintage Urban Markets; concerts featuring national acts in genres including rock, jazz, urban, funk, pop, and country; hot air balloon glows; professional sand volleyball tournaments; Red Bull Flugtag; polo tournaments; corporate galas; regional and national conferences; car shows; and hundreds of charity walks and runs.
  • The lawn was built with a special drainage system that allows it to dry out quickly after rain events.

As we celebrate the past 20 years, we also look to the future. Planning for Phase IV is well underway, and you’ll be seeing interim site improvements by late fall, including temporary seating, swings, lighting, landscaping, and signage. A community cleanup of Phase IV is scheduled for Saturday, October 20, as part of Brightside & Passport Health Plan’s Community-Wide Cleanup. There’s still time to sign up – see details here.

Here is the Great Lawn through the years, as well as a few before pics so you can see what a difference it has made!