Dig out your riding crops and affix your fascinators, ladies and gents! The 2019 Kentucky Derby airs on Saturday, May 4.
Don’t sit home on your own watching the rich and famous yuck it up at the crown jewel event of the Bluegrass State. Plan your own Kentucky Derby party with your friends and a few easy party ideas.
Set the Mood
The Kentucky Derby isn’t traditionally an indoor affair. If possible, plan to have your Kentucky Derby party outdoors.
If your backyard is a dud, check with the local parks department to find out if you can use a public park. You can always listen to the race on the radio as they did in the olden days.
When you’ve got your location, send your guests festive Kentucky Derby-themed invitations. You can kick it old-school with snail mail or give your party the 21st-century touch with race-themed e-vites.
Have your guests arrive about two hours before the big event to eat, drink and be merry.
Announce the Kentucky Derby Party Dress Code
Don’t forget to tell your guests to come dressed for the occasion. No matter how good your theme party ideas, if you forget that detail, the derby spell is broken.
Women should wear day party dresses in bright colors and prints. Men should wear day slacks and blazers in cheery hues. Tell the fellas not to be afraid of prints like plaids and florals.
And don’t forget those classic derby hats! Women can choose between wide-brimmed hats and fascinators fit for royalty. The lads can opt for fedoras, bowlers, boaters, flat caps or top hats.
The keywords are fanciful, ostentatious and showy. This isn’t the time for white bread headgear.
But this isn’t the real Kentucky Derby, so discourage your guests from spending too much to attend. There are plenty of ways to get fancy duds on the cheap.
Choose Classy Derby Decor
Dress up your outdoor space with elegant derby-themed decor. Skip anything that looks too birthday party-like.
Think floral arrangements. Include roses — the Kentucky Derby is known as “The Run for the Roses” after all. You can use them as prizes for pre-race derby games.
Since you’ll be outdoors, plasticware for eating is OK. Just get something high-quality so a floppy plate doesn’t ruin a guest’s fancy duds.
Serve Up Southern Hospitality
Cook up Southern-themed appetizers and canapés for the guests to snack on as they arrive. That will give you time to attend to any last-minute details.
Then serve a selection of dainty tea sandwiches. The classic cucumber-on-potato bread is a must. But don’t forget about Southern classics. Try five-cheese pimento cheese or a tea sandwich spin on the Kentucky hot brown. Make sure there’s some healthy food available for the weight watchers.
And don’t forget some Kentucky bourbon mini-pies for dessert.
Shake Up Some Liquid Fun
You’ll have a selection of the usual spirituous suspects — beer and wine. But a Kentucky Derby party isn’t complete without its signature cocktail: the mint julep. If you don’t want to play bartender all night, whip up a party-size batch.
And don’t forget the nonalcoholic beverages for those who want to abstain.
After the cocktails are served, it’s time to play some derby games. Choose from gambling or non-gambling options.
The Derby Hat Draw
Put the names of all the horses in a derby hat and have the guests pick one. Whoever has the name of the winning horse wins.
Play the Ponies
If you didn’t bet on a horse, did you even attend a Kentucky Derby party? Give each of your guests a 10-spot on a gift card and send them to an online betting site. All the top online racebooks 2019 allow U.S. betters, so start there.
Give Us Your Party Ideas
Now it’s your turn, intrepid readers.
Do you have a killer Kentucky Derby recipe? What about your favorite derby games? We need all your thoroughbred ideas.
Help a fellow reveler rock their Kentucky derby party to a photo finish by sharing your best tips and tricks in the comments below.