Got Kentucky Derby fever but can’t make it to Louisville for the 139th Run for the Roses on May 4? Then throw a Derby party of your own complete with mint juleps, Hot Browns, bourbon balls and Kern’s Derby-Pie®.

With some preparation, you and your guests are bound to get in the true Kentucky Derby spirit and enjoy the day almost as much as those lucky enough to be on the Churchill Downs trackside rail or even Millionaire’s Row. All it takes is planning and execution. Here are a few tips to get started.

Invitations:  The official Derby website, www.kentuckyderby.com, allows party givers to design and send e-vites. Or do it the old-fashioned way and mail invitations that look like jockey silks.

Programs:  Order official Derby programs, which contain the lowdown on all the entries in the day’s races, so your guests can handicap like they’re at the Downs.

Food:  Traditional Derby dishes include Hot Browns (open-face turkey and bacon sandwiches with Mornay sauce), bourbon-marinated pork, country ham and biscuits and Kern’s Derby-Pie®.

Drink:  Mint juleps are the iconic drink of the day, so stock up on bourbon, mint, simple syrup and shaved ice. Iced tea and cider are nonalcoholic alternatives. 

Games:  The “Greatest Two Minutes in Sports,” as the Kentucky Derby is billed, lasts only that long. So plan some other Derby-inspired activities to keep your guests entertained before and after the race. Since women attending the Derby tend to wear lavish hats, consider a hat contest for your female guests judged by the men and offer a prize. For the kids, set up horseshoes and corn hole games and stick-horse races.

Derby pot:  Have each guest draw a horse’s name out of a hat to cheer for during the race. The winner gets a prize.

Finally, don’t forget to turn on the TV in the party area so everyone can watch the race!


EDITORS NOTE: High-res photos of Churchill Downs can be downloaded at http://www.kentuckytourism.com/media/image_library.aspx.

The Kentucky Department of Travel and Tourism is an agency within the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, which promotes the Commonwealth as a travel destination. Tourism in Kentucky has an economic impact of nearly $11.7 billion, supports about 170,000 jobs and generates more than $1.2 billion in taxes.



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