Event to Kick Off Annual Ali Festival June 3-13
Honors Five Year Passing of Muhammad Ali
June 3rd will mark the five year passing of Muhammad Ali, and will kick off with “Roses & Remembrance for Muhammad: A Community Invitation to Cave Hill,” as part of the annual Ali Festival in Louisville, June 3-13. On June 3rd, from 12:00 noon to 3:00pm, the public is invited to Cave Hill Cemetery to remember and honor Ali’s legacy as a Louisville native and citizen of the world. Upon entering Cave Hill’s West Broadway entrance, visitors will be offered a rose to either lay on Muhammad’s grave or to keep it as a remembrance of Muhammad, a symbol of his goal of achieving mutual respect and hope for our shared humanity. Visitors will also be provided a $2 off admission coupon to the Muhammad Ali Center that can be redeemed throughout the Ali Festival. The Center will be open to the public from 12:00 noon-5:00pm daily, June 3-13.
Laura Douglas, Interim President and CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center, said, “In a time of polarization and social unrest in our community and nation, it’s our hope that the annual Ali Festival will send a renewed message of unity. Five years ago, as Muhammad’s funeral procession wound its way through the streets of his hometown before its final stop at Cave Hill Cemetery, tens of thousands of local citizens stood for hours, shoulder to shoulder with folks from around the world, for an intensely personal but universally shared good-bye to their Champion. Muhammad would have wanted us to share that same sense of solidarity today as a living model of what Louisville and our country can and should be.”
Ali’s passing in June 2016, occurred in the midst of a bitter U.S. presidential election, a proposed Muslim ban, and the global expansion of the Black Lives Matter movement. Yet on June 10, the day of Muhammad’s funeral procession, more than 100,000 people lined the streets of Louisville to celebrate his life, and an estimated one billion people worldwide tuned in to hear events including his memorial at the packed KFC YUM! Center. Since that time, thousands have come, almost daily, to visit Muhammad Ali’s gravesite at Cave Hill Cemetery (located at 701 Baxter Avenue).
Gwen Mooney, President and CEO of Cave Hill Cemetery said, “Cave Hill is renowned for its beauty and we’re honored that Muhammad Ali chose us as his final resting place. Today, his site is home to the butterflies and bees he famously quoted, and it feels great knowing that the man who gave Louisville so much in life, is also doing so after-life. Through small things like the pollinators who visit him, to big things like the Ali Festival, we’re fortunate to remember him not only during the first week in June, but every day. We cannot wait to welcome visitors this year and to celebrate his legacy with the city he loved.”
Other Ali Festival Events throughout the 10-day Festival include:
- Daily screenings throughout the week of City of Ali, a documentary that tells the story of how Muhammad’s death unified his hometown of Louisville—as well as the world—featuring candid interviews and thoughtful reflections from visitors and observers during that week. Visitors can purchase tickets in advance at https://alicenter.org/ali-fest/. Tickets will also be available on-site prior to screenings, but only if seats are available.
- Ali Community Bus: Just as Muhammad Ali used to visit neighborhoods throughout his hometown, Louisvillians can relive this experience by welcoming the Ali Community Bus at community centers in their part of town on June 7, 9, and 11. The bus will deliver the spirit and love of Muhammad to the people. Ali Center staff will share activities, including games, demonstrations, care packages, and more. Details on where the Ali Bus will be stopping are at https://alicenter.org/ali-fest/.
- Youth Poetry and Art Contest: The Ali Center is seeking student artists, grades K-12, to submit poetry or art based on specific Ali-related themes. Winners will receive prizes. Details are available
- Muhammad and LeRoy: A Friendship in Art Digital Exhibit, in recognition of Muhammad Ali and LeRoy Neiman’s friendship and to commemorate what would have been Mr. Neiman’s 100th birthday on June 8th. The exhibit will be launching on June 8th. More information can be found HERE.
- “Open House” at the Ali Center’s Archival Library: Also on June 8th, on-site visitors will have the rare opportunity to view special artifacts brought out of its archives and to interact with the Center’s Collections & Exhibits staff during this time. Open from 12:30-4:30pm.
- “I Am America” Online Series: On June 9th, our virtual series will focus on Islamophobia. Participants will hear from panelists, who will discuss how it has long been a part of racism and prejudice within the United States. The discussion will focus on the intersections of racism and religion specifically through the lens of Muslim Americans, and will conclude with suggestions for compassionate action and inclusive community-building. Register HERE.
- Ali Festival Eats and Treats: Give your taste buds a treat by enjoying special Ali-themed food fun. Participating restaurants/hotels include:
- The Galt House with Muhammad Ali’s Bread Pudding, Ali’s favorite dessert and his chef’s original recipe. Served at both Galt House restaurants, Swizzle and Walker’s Exchange
- The new Grady Hotel with the Muhammad Ali Appetizer Special of Soup & Dumplings, served at the Wild Swann Restaurant
- Mark’s Feed Store, on June 2nd and 3rd, 15% of pre-tax purchases made will be donated to the Ali Center when presenting a flyer that can be found on
- Messages for Muhammad: Businesses throughout the city are encouraged to display a sign on the windows of their place of business to help relive the community spirit that Louisville shared around Ali’s passing.
Please continue to visit the Ali Center’s website, www.alicenter.org for updates and new events.