Celebrate Louisville’s Greatest Hometown Hero

Muhammad Ali. (Photo by Tim Valentino)

By Minda Honey  |  Out & About

Last year, as the world mourned the passing of legendary boxer and civil rights activist Muhammad Ali, my heart ached that I could not be in Louisville to celebrate his legacy with friends and family. Like many other people around the world, I watched Ali’s service online. Jeanie B. Kahnke, senior director of public relations and external affairs for the Muhammad Ali Center, says that she believes “people were surprised by how loved [Ali] was,” which is why the city of Louisville  is coming together like never before this summer for a six-week “I Am Ali” festival.

The festival begins June 3 on the one-year anniversary of Ali’s passing, and will continue through July 15. The festival is a grassroots collective effort by several organizations and venues led by the city of Louisville, the Ali Center, the Convention & Visitors Bureau and the Kentucky Expo Center. Each week is dedicated to one of Ali’s Six Core Principles:

Spirituality: June 3-10

Giving: June 11-17

Respect: June 18-24

Conviction: June 25-July 1

Dedication: July 2-8

Confidence: July 9-15

The full list of events and activities around the city can be found on the Go to Louisville website, but we’ve pulled out some festival highlights:

Slugger Field

The Louisville Bats will lead the festival kick-off with “Muhammad Ali Appreciation Night” at Slugger Field on June 3. The home team will be decked out in commemorative Ali jerseys. After the game, the jerseys will be auctioned off as a fundraiser for the Ali Center. The first 2,000 fans will also receive a special Ali-themed Bats logo hat.

Muhammad Ali Center

The Muhammad Ali Center has a full lineup of events for the duration of the festival including a health and fitness day on June 23 during Respect week. In addition to respect for others, this principle of Ali’s also means respect for your body and your health.

The Little Loom House

Visit the Little Loom House Wednesday through Saturday during the festival to create art based on Ali’s Six Core Principles. Your entire family is invited to participate, and you can display your art in their gallery or take it home for your personal enjoyment.

The E&S Gallery of Fine
African-American Arts

In 1976, Muhammad Ali created a series of limited edition prints. During the festival, these rare works will be on display at the E&S Gallery. Prints are available, and each one was signed and numbered by Ali. Also on view will be a mural by local artist Charles Rice called “Float Like a Butterfly.”

National Parkinson’s Foundation

On Saturday, June 10 at Waterfront Park, the National Parkinson’s Foundation is hosting a Moving Day Walk with special guest Rasheda Ali, Muhammad Ali’s daughter.

Copper & Kings Brandy Distillery

When was the last time you watched “Ali”? June 22, get reacquainted with the movie version of Ali’s life under the stars in the Copper & Kings courtyard. Eats will be provided by Butchertown Pie Co. and there will be a cash bar.

Revelry Boutique

The first 100 customers will receive a free Ali postcard with their purchase from Revelry Boutique. The postcards are the handiwork of local Louisville artists.

Kentucky Center for
African-American Heritage

The Kentucky Center for African-American Heritage is currently running an Ali exhibit featuring photography, memorabilia, paintings and collages. It will run through December 29.

The Brown Hotel

In honor of Respect week, Tuesday, June 20, The Brown Hotel will have morning rooftop garden yoga at 7 a.m. The session will be free, but you are welcome to make a donation that will be given to a charity. If you’ve yet to visit the rooftop garden at The Brown Hotel, this is a perfect opportunity to take in one of the best views in the city.

Louisville Quest

Like a good puzzle? Louisville Quest is putting together a special Ali-themed puzzle. There will be a repeat performance of the quest on July 8.

Run with Ali at the Kentucky Derby Museum

The Kentucky Derby Museum is giving visitors the opportunity to take a picture against a green screen image of Ali running on the famed Churchill Downs racetrack every Monday and Tuesday during the festival. VT