Kentucky Derby Party Ideas and Checklist
The Kentucky Derby is referred to as the "most exciting two minutes in sports." Even if you never watch or attend another horse race, everyone is excited to watch the Kentucky Derby and all the fun and traditions that come with it, even if you choose to record it to watch later.
Held the first Saturday in May each year, Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky has been the site of the Derby since 1875. The partying in Louisville before the race can be compared to Mardi Gras. There is a hot-air balloon race, steamboat races, fireworks, the Pink Out of the Kentucky Oaks Race the day before the Derby, and of course, the Derby is the ultimate excuse to party.
The Kentucky Derby comes in two flavors. The infield crowd and the rich and famous. Your party can take on the flavor of either with a casual, T-shirt and insanely crazy hat contest for all or an elegant, high-society party with beautiful hats for the ladies, fancy dresses, seersucker suits for the men and silver mint julep glasses.
As the official race takes only two minutes, how are you going to entertain your guests before and after the actual race?
Kentucky Derby Party Planning
There are a few things are necessary for a fabulous Derby Party:
Kentucky Derby Mint Juleps
Kentucky Derby Recipes
There are several foods that have become associated with the Derby, one being the Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie and I have one word for it...Yummmmmmmy!
A few recipes you might like to serve are:
Kentucky Country Ham Salad
Baby Hot Browns
Kentucky Hot Browns
Mint Julep Brownies
Kentucky Derby Party Invitations
There's only one way to get guests to your party...mail then terrific party invitations! We've got the best Kentucky Derby Party Invitations, exclusive and unique designs you and your guests will love.
Kentucky Derby Hats
What's a Derby party with a fabulous hat? Often garnering as much TV time as the actual races and commentating, Kentucky Derby hats are a highight of the event. Made popular in England, the fascinator has also made it's debut at the track.
Having been to the Derby, a birthday present from my husband, I can say the hats were fabulous! My hat was a simple white brimmed affair given to me by my girlfriends. To our surprise, a picture of me wearing it appeared in the Louisville paper's 24-page spread of the race the day after! My hat (seen below) also made it onto the actual race track on the head of a sports photographer. My hat had quite a trip!
The Run for the Roses
In 1904, the rose became the official flower of the Derby. In 1925, New York sports columnist Bill Corum, later the president of Churchill Downs, dubbed the Kentucky Derby the "Run for the Roses," a term still used today.
Every year, 400 red roses make up a winners' garland. The number of the running and the twin spires of Churchill Downs are on one end and the seal of the Commonwealth on the other. Green ferns, ribbon and a crown of roses with a single rose pointing upward (symbolizes the heart necessary to reach the winners' circle) complete the garland. The garland is constructed on the eve of the Derby by Kroger Company at one of its stores. The public is invited to watch and can even get souvenir petals from the roses.
Kentucky Derby Porta Potty Run might not be the best activity for guests, but for the infield crowd partiers, anything goes. Horseshoes might be a safer alternative for guests.
Kentucky Oaks Horse Race at Churchill Downs
There is one thing you need to know about the Kentucky Oaks Horse Race, run at Churchill Downs the day before the Kentucky Derby: PINK is its signature color. The winner of the Kentucky Oaks, America’s premier race for 3-year-old fillies, is draped with a garland of hot pink and white stargazer lilies, so what better color than a pink cocktail to celebrate this day of fillies and lilies.