Get ready for six weeks of festivities, and community gatherings and events as Louisville celebrates the life of native son and global humanitarian Muhammad Ali with the “I Am Ali” Festival. The celebration of Ali’s legacy will include local arts and cultural groups, performances and exhibits – along with two premier girls’ basketball tournament events that will bring 10,000 young female athletes to Louisville.
Originally known as Cassius Clay, Ali was born in Louisville on Jan. 17, 1942. It was here he honed his ability as a boxer, and it was here he returned to after winning an Olympic Gold Medal in the 1960 Rome Olympics. He returned often after capturing the title of Heavyweight Champion of the World and was actively involved with the vision and direction of the Muhammad Ali Center.
Having lived most of his young life in Louisville, the city is full of “landmarks” that are the backdrops of the events and experiences that molded Ali into the man who was both loved and respected throughout the world as a legendary sports figure and humanitarian, as well as a man of true principles. A self-guided tour brochure helps fans trace some of Ali’s “Footsteps of Greatness.” A local tour company also offers visitors an opportunity to experience many of the stops that have historic relevance to Ali’s life.
The inspiration for the event was the quickly-arranged “I Am Ali” celebration that was held at the Kentucky Center in June 2016 during the week of Ali’s death and memorial, attracting 15,000 young people.
In correlation with two premier girls’ basketball tournament events — the Run 4 Roses Basketball Classic and Battle in the Boro – both taking place at the Kentucky Exposition Center, the “I Am Ali” Festival will offer a conglomerate of programming, films, events, entertainment, and other activities around the city that connect with and reinforce Muhammad Ali’s legendary legacy as a global citizen, athlete, and humanitarian. This one-of-a-kind festival was created in conjunction with Tucker Neale, Executive Director of ohiobasketball.com and owner of TSN Camps & Clinics.
Many of the events will take place at the Muhammad Ali Center, the $80 million museum and international cultural center located in Ali’s hometown that has honored his life and legacy for more than a decade. The Kentucky Exposition Center will also play host to festivities.
Several local attractions and organizations have events and exhibits planned in honor of the festival, including the Muhammad Ali Childhood Home, Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, Louisville Quest, Looking for Lilith Theatre Co., Copper & Kings, Louisville Bats and Louisville Bicycle Tours.
Among the fun to enjoy is a a night out at the Louisville Slugger Field. When the festivities kick off on June 3rd be sure to gather the whole family and your friends for a exciting night out with the Louisville Bats baseball team. They’ll be hosting a special Muhammad Ali Appreciation Night at their baseball game on June 3 at Louisville Slugger Field. The players will be wearing Muhammad Ali-themed jerseys to commemorate “The Greatest,” and there will be special tributes and events highlighting Ali’s “Six Core Principles” throughout the game. Plus, get there early because the first 5,000 fans will receive a free commemorative Louisville Bats/Muhammad Ali baseball hat!
Join The “I Am Ali” Festival On Your Louisville Trip
As more programming is announced, it will be added to curated web content at www.gotolouisville.com/ali. You can also download the Footsteps of Greatness Tour Brochure via this link so you can visit the wonderful sites around Louisville that honor Muhammad Ali.
Start planning now and make a visit to Louisville for the “I Am Ali” Festival part of a special summer getaway in Louisville. In addition to the festival, take the self-guided Muhammad Ali Footsteps of Greatness Tour, which highlights local landmarks that celebrate “The Greatest,” including the Muhammad Ali Center, the Muhammad Ali Childhood Home, Columbia Auditorium and Cave Hill Cemetery. Pick up the tour brochure at the Louisville Visitor Center (301 S. Fourth St.). The Louisville CVB provides several planning resources, including suggested itineraries, the monthly Lookin’ at Louisville video series, a searchable list events at www.gotolouisville.com, a free Louisville Visitors Guide and complimentary hotel booking service via 1-888-LOUISVILLE.
Photo Credits – Louisville CVB and Muhammad Ali Center