Gala festival rolling for Belle of Louisville centennial

The Belle of Louisville, originally christened Idlewild, operated as a passenger ferry between Memphis, Tenn., and West Memphis, Ark. During the World War II she served as a floating USO nightclub for troops stationed at military bases along the Mississippi River. Image by Bo - Belle of Louisville. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

The Belle of Louisville, originally christened Idlewild, operated as a passenger ferry between Memphis, Tenn., and West Memphis, Ark. During the World War II she served as a floating USO nightclub for troops stationed at military bases along the Mississippi River. Image by Bo – Belle of Louisville. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – Birthday parties don’t usually have hundreds of thousands of guests, but for riverboats turning 100, everything is a little bigger.

The Belle of Louisville’s centennial birthday celebration is this week. The event has been years in the planning, and six riverboats are expected for the Centennial Festival Riverboats Tuesday through Sunday.

Planned events include dozens of cruises, riverboat races and parades, fireworks, a balloon glow and musical entertainment. The Courier-Journal says the events on land are free and open to the public.

The Louisville Convention & Visitors Bureau expects all the activities to bring as many as 300,000 people, creating an economic impact of $6 million.

The Belle was launched in Pittsburgh as the Idlewild in October 1914. Jefferson County bought the boat at auction in 1962 for $34,000.

Information from: The Courier-Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

AP-WF-10-13-14 0903GMT


ADDITIONAL IMAGE OF NOTE


The Belle of Louisville, originally christened Idlewild, operated as a passenger ferry between Memphis, Tenn., and West Memphis, Ark. During the World War II she served as a floating USO nightclub for troops stationed at military bases along the Mississippi River. Image by Bo - Belle of Louisville. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

The Belle of Louisville, originally christened Idlewild, operated as a passenger ferry between Memphis, Tenn., and West Memphis, Ark. During the World War II she served as a floating USO nightclub for troops stationed at military bases along the Mississippi River. Image by Bo – Belle of Louisville. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.