How to Host a Derby Party!


I'm married to a Kentucky boy, so in our house Christmas isn't the most wonderful time of the year, Derby is.   The historic Kentucky Derby, otherwise known as the most exciting two minutes in sports,  is always held the first weekend in May so it's a super fun event to kick off the good weather season!  It's a chance to put on some festive clothes, eat some delicious food, cheer for horses with strange names, and possibly win some money too!     

10 Steps To Hosting a Classic Derby Party 

1) Marry someone from Kentucky!  (Just kidding, but it couldn't hurt.;)

2) Invite your most "game" friends.  Meaning: fill your guest list with people who will enjoy dressing up and will partake in some betting and loud cheering when race time comes.   The race is only 2 minutes long but that makes it all the more thrilling! 

3) Plan your menu: Sweet tea, Mint Juleps, Derby Pie, Louisville Hot Brown sliders, Benedictine Sandwiches, Fried Chicken, Burgoo, pimento cheese deviled eggs.  These are all classic food and drinks found at Derby parties, probably since the first Derby happened in 1875.  

4) Drink a mint Julep to get in the spirit!  Or if mint juleps aren't your thing try a Cucumber Julep or a Brown Derby.   Or get creative and come up with your own horse themed drink.

5) Study up on your Derby history! You know, so you can impress your guests.  And at the very least make sure you know what time the race is airing on TV so you can plan to start your party at least an hour or so before.   (Race starts at 3:45 pacific standard time.)    

6) Find a flowery and flowy sundress.  For men, seersucker suits or bow ties are encouraged.   And of course find the most fabulous hat money can buy!  Or if you are crafty, get out that glue gun and make yourself a prize winning chapeau.  If your friends are crafty and competitive too,  you should definitely have a contest for best hat.   

7) Derby decor is all about red roses and of course horses!  Black and white, or gold and silver generally are colors used with Derby events.  Pick up a bouquet of red roses and then grab some toy horses or horse shoes to place around the flowers and you have an easy and perfect Derby centerpiece!  It's not too late to order special Derby glasses, paper plates and etc. too.  For the genuine stuff check out

8) If the weather is decent having the party outside is a must.  Get out your yard games: croquet, badminton, corn hole,  etc.  You could even organize some friendly races for the kids to help them get into the Derby spirit too. 

9) Gather or purchase some fun prizes for the winners of the best hat contest, or any other contests/games you might have.    

10) Drink another mint julep, some Woodford Reserve, or tall glass of sweet tea and enjoy the best and most fun party you'll ever have. My Kentucky husband promises.   





Party PlanningKaty Franz