Louisville Celebrates Muhammad Ali With Annual Ali Festival

Each year, to commemorate the anniversary of Muhammad Ali’s death, the Muhammad Ali Center hosts the Annual Ali Festival. According to a press release, the annual event is designed to celebrate Ali’s “impactful legacy and love for Louisville.” The festival, which is in its fifth year, will run from June 3 to June 13. Activations include a variety of inspirational, educational, and entertaining events.

“Five years ago when the news broke that Muhammad had passed away, visitors began showing up at our doors early the next morning. They came from around the world that week, but it was those from his hometown of Louisville who perhaps mourned him the most, because they knew Muhammad,” said Laura Douglas, Interim President and CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center. “They watched him grow up, delighted in his rise to the world stage, and celebrated his final trip home by the thousands. This year’s Ali Festival is a way for us to thank the community, to reflect, and to unite—as Muhammad would have wanted us to do. We are grateful for this year’s Ali Festival partners who are helping us fulfill our mission of preserving and promoting Muhammad Ali’s legacy.”

Here are some highlights from the 10-day long festival:

City of Ali Premiere And Screenings

On June 4, the world premiere of City of Ali took place at the Muhammad Ali Center. The 81-minute docufilm “captures some of the stories and events that occurred in Muhammad’s hometown of Louisville during the week between his passing and his memorial.” Several other screenings are scheduled to take place throughout the festival.

Ali Community Bus

To commemorate Ali’s practice of visiting various neighborhoods in Louisville, the Ali Community Bus will give residents the opportunity to relive those moments in time by delivering “the spirit and love of Muhammad to the people.” Members of the Ali Center staff will set up shop in several neighborhoods to facilitate games and demonstrations while also giving away care packages.

Open House at the Ali Center’s Archival Library

On June 8, the Ali Center’s Archival Library will open its doors to the public. Visitors will be able to “view special artifacts” and “interact with the Center’s Collections & Exhibits staff.”

Muhammad and LeRoy: A Friendship In Art

On June 8, which would have been LeRoy Neiman’s 100th birthday, a digital art exhibit will be held to honor the relationship Neiman shared with Ali. The showcase will “highlight artwork created by both Ali and Neiman and feature candid photographs and notes written by LeRoy.”

To learn more about the Ali Festival, click here.

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