Skip to main content

What's Up Magazine

Host a Kentucky Derby Party

Apr 30, 2012 11:06PM ● By Anonymous

And what better way to do so than throwing a fabulous party? (Answer: There is none). So, first of all, let's name the essentials for your Derby day:

  • A TV. Obvious, but I had to state it. The bigger the better.
  • Thematic decor. It is the "Run for the Roses," after all, so why not gather some flowers? Long-stems are expensive, so I'm sure nobody will look down their nose at you if you just go for some springy or silk flowers, instead.
  • Big hats. You can either encourage your guests to wear them (anyone have leftovers from the USNA - St. John's croquet match?), or you can invite them to decorate their own. Buy some cheap beach hats from the dollar store, and supply your attendees with glue guns, glitter, ribbons, rhinestones, and other knick-knacks.
  • Betting. It is horse-racing after all. Invite your guests over early so they can get a good look at the horses. If you're feeling especially sporty, you can also make a poster listing all of the race's odds and contenders.
  • Mint juleps. Do I even need a reason? 

And now for the not-so-necessary-but-still-pretty-fun:

  • A themed menu. What do they eat at the Kentucky Derby? Why, Benedictine sandwiches, country ham biscuits, bourbon balls, hot browns, and Kentucky pecan pie, of course.
  • Garden party attire. Beyond the big hats, invite your guests to wear sun dresses, summer suits, and lots of pastels.
  • If you can figure out how to move your party outside, do it. Remember the actual race is only on for about two minutes. The "greatest two minutes in sports," but two minutes nonetheless.
  • Just in case you need some help planning activities, here's a link to the Derby's official schedule.

But, if all of this sounds like too much work, and you really rather have someone else throw the big party, consider heading to Maryland Therapeutic Riding's Big Hats & Boots benefit. There, you'll be able to win prizes, watch the race, enter a hat contest, and enjoy all the music, and enjoy lots of food and drink (mint juleps and bourbon included).