It has been said that “The partying in Louisville during the two weeks leading up to the Derby is similar to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. It’s a community-wide celebration with steamboat races, fireworks, a hot-air balloon race, and private parties.” There is an on-going tradition of wild parties around Derby time. In many cases the race is merely an excuse for the hundreds of parties that take place.
There are two types of Derby partys, you can choose to make your party an elegant, high-society event, or a wild and crazy infield-type bash, because either one will capture the flavor of the day.
Some Simple How-To’s For Any Derby Party Include:
For an elegant southern affair you should use your finest silver, crystal, linens and china. Decorate with large bouquets of red roses. Ask your florist to design a horseshoe shaped wreath of roses as a centerpiece for your table. Serve a beautiful luncheon buffet with tea sandwiches, dips (including the regional specialty Benedictine, cold seafood, and assorted salads.
For a more casual bash, plan a southern barbecue with ribs, biscuits, corn on the cob, and salad. Use red and white checked tablecloths. Decorate with spring flowers or roses. And if you collect horse figures, don’t forget to pull them out to decorate your tables.
At either party Mint Juleps are the drink of the day (you can purchase official Mint Julep glasses for your party and give them to your guests as souvenirs). Kentucky Derby Pie is the preferred dessert and Chocolate Bourbon Balls also make a tasty treat for your guests.
Make sure you have a large screen television in good working order that day!
Provide your guests with current Daily Racing Forms and set up your own betting pool to add to the excitement of the day.
Print copies of the lyrics to My Old Kentucky Home, and write the menu for the day on the reverse side. Guests can keep this as a souvenir of the day.
And of course, most importantly, insist that your guests wear dramatic hats; they can be elegant or creatively crazy. To make it more entertaining, you can award prizes for the best hats in both categories.
By: Anne Kreke