Kentucky Derby Party Ideas


Since its formation in 1875, The Kentucky Derby has grown into so much more than just a horse race.  It is an annual event rich in history and tradition, known as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports.”

After witnessing the memorable derbies in Paris, such as the Grand Prix de Paris in the middle of the nineteenth century, Col. Merriwether Lewis Clark Jr. (grandson of the famous American adventure explorer William Clark) returned home to Kentucky and created the Louisville Jockey Club.  The Club was established for the purpose of creating a derby in America to rival those in Paris.

The Club raised the money to build Churchill Downs, named for relatives of Merriwether Lewis Clark, and the first Derby was held there in 1875, with fifteen horses competing and 10,000 spectators.

As the Kentucky Derby grew in popularity and influence, horse owners decided to send their winning horses over to two other important races: the Preakness Stakes in Maryland and the Belmont Stakes in New York.  Together, these three events are now known as the “Triple Crown,” a term coined by sports writer Charles Hatton in 1930.

Today, the race is attended by some 150,000 people each year, including the wealthy, the influential, the famous, and royalty.  The event has also inspired some wonderful food and drink and some fun and quirky traditions. From the legendary Mint Julep, Hot Brown Sandwich, and Burgoo, to the Kentucky Derby Hat Parade, you can find out all about these traditions and fun ways to celebrate the Derby yourself in the articles below!

Traditional attire, food, and decorations have formed,  transforming this two-week event into the affair that it is today. Here are a few basic recipes and traditions to help make your Derby celebration a bash to remember!

Get into the Derby Spirit with these delicious, traditional meals and desserts. With so many details to consider while planning your Derby Bash, choosing the perfect foods that are both tasty and festive can be easy with these great tips! Read More


Kentucky Derby Traditions and Culture: Red Roses

Red roses are a must for any Kentucky Derby celebration. This tradition has not only withstood the test of time, but is a great way to add beauty and elegance to any room.  Read More


Kentucky Derby Hats

There’s no better day to be a hat than on the day of the Kentucky Derby.  And there’s better day to be a woman (or man) wearing a tremendously large, obnoxiously outrageous, eye-popping and breathtaking wide-brimmed Kentucky Derby Hat! Learn about the history of Derby Hats and how to choose the perfect hat for you.  Here’s a hint: you have to make a statement. Read More


Triple Crown History

The Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes make up one of the most exciting sporting events of the year, the Triple Crown.  Read on to learn more about the history of these three legendary thoroughbred races and the elusive Triple Crown award.  Read More


Three Great Kentucky Derby Betting Games

Keep your guests occupied and having fun at your Kentucky Derby themed party with these exciting betting games!  Start up your own betting pool among your guests, so that they will feel truly engaged with the racing action.  Or, leave it all up to chance with the Horse in a Hat Betting Game. To recreate the feeling of being at the races with verisimilitude, you can set up a betting window at your party too! Read More


The Legendary Hot Brown Recipe

This recipe first became famous in the 1920’s, when dancers and merrimakers partying at the Louisville Brown hotel chowed down on these hot and delicious open sandwiches.  Turkey tops toast which is then drenched with a creamy, cheesy sauce (roux) and broiled to bubbling perfection. Then the creation is topped with two crossed pieces of bacon. Yum! Read More


Mint Julep

Here’s a simple recipe for this iconic cocktail without which no Kentucky Derby party is complete.  It may seem like a tough drink, but any home bartender can whip up their own Mint Julep in no time. All you will need is a batch of simple syrup, a few fresh mint leaves, and the best Kentucky bourbon you can buy.  Read More


Mint Julep Mocktail

You can drink these Mint Julep Mocktails all day long with no adverse effects–that’s the beauty of a mocktail! Here, ginger ale substitutes beautifully for bourbon.  Muddled with mint and lemon, it’s a sure winner at your Kentucky Derby Party! Read More


Mint Julep Kentucky Derby Cupcake Recipe

These are not your average cupcakes.  No, they are cupcakes that will transport you to Kentucky–no matter where in the world you are!  You start by making a simple vanilla cupcake. When the cupcakes come out of the oven, you carefully poke holes in the top and then drizzle a scrumptiously sweet Bourbon Butter sauce over them.  Top with homemade minty cream cheese frosting. Read More


Bourbon Balls

Need a sweet treat to pop in your mouth as you watch the game?  Indulge in these easy to make Bourbon Balls.  Crunchy and sweet, in these truffles he nuttiness of pecans merges with the bite of Kentucky bourbon and the sweetness of vanilla wafers.  Read More


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Filed under Food, History, Kentucky, Kentucky Derby

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