50th Anniversary of the Great Steamboat Race
The Great Steamboat Race has been a long-standing tradition in Louisville leading up to the Kentucky Derby. The first race between the Belle of Louisville and the Delta Queen was held in 1963. Sentimental Productions has followed the story of the Delta Queen for 25 years since producing a 45-minute DVD titled the Unsinkable Delta Queen. The video was produced for Cincinnati’s bicentennial in 1988.
The Unsinkable Delta Queen includes the story of the first steamboat race 50 years ago. Historic footage shows the first race on a wet, chilly day in 1963. Event organizers weren’t sure what to expect that year but despite the bad weather, an estimated 250,000 people lined the banks of the Ohio River in Louisville to watch the race.
The Delta Queen was involved in the race until 2008.
Today, the steamboat is a floating hotel in Chattanooga, Tennessee and no longer runs overnight river cruises.
But the tradition goes on. Since 2009, the Belle of Cincinnati has taken the Delta Queen's spot against the Belle of Louisville.