138th Kentucky Derbt
Today is the 138th Run For The Roses, also known as the Kentucky Derby, and the excitement in town is palpable. We’ve actually been celebrating the Kentucky Derby Festival for two weeks now. The Festival kicks off with one of it’s most well-known events, Thunder Over Louisville, an airshow that culminates with the largest fireworks display in North America. It’s quite a sight to see. There are also hot air balloon races (and the “glow”, when they light them all up at night); the Pegasus Parade, which is one of the largest parades in the United States; and a number of parties, balls, tastings, etc.
The Festival ends today, with the running of the Derby. The race, which is for three-year old thoroughbred horses, is also known as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports.” It’s the first “point”, if you will, in the Triple Crown. And while the Oaks and Derby – and all the other less “famous” races run this weekend – are quite exciting, many people will say that people-watching is the real draw.
Hundreds of celebrities drop in on our lovely little town this week so there is a lot of star-gazing, especially in “Millionaire’s Row” at Churchill Downs where the races take place. Every drinks Mint Juleps (or in most cases, orders one for the collectible cup and tosses the drink, because And famous or not, it’s a tradition for all the women attending the races (or parties around town) to don a “Derby Hat” and fancy dresses. Derby hats are generally large and elaborate, with plumes and bows and ribbons and other bits and baubles. They can be fairly expensive (Zoe Saldana wore one that came with an $1800 price tag).
Most people who live here don’t actually attend the Derby; instead, they attend Derby parties thrown by friends and family, while the tourists hit up the Downs. We generally follow suit with that, attending the party thrown by my in-laws. Everyone is encouraged to follow the traditions: dress up, wear the hats, etc. They even hold a hat parade and then provide prizes. So of course, Bubbles has to wear one!
Spending big bucks on a hat she’ll wear once really isn’t my idea of financial smarts, so we make ours each year. This year, I found a floppy Derby-style hat in the Dollar Spot at Target just before Easter; then I used some floral clips to finish it off.
I’ll share some more photos and more about the party later (and maybe even the recipe for the cheesecake-stuffed strawberries I made for it). I hope you enjoy the race!
Do you watch the Kentucky Derby?