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Exciting Derby Day: Celebrate the Kentucky Derby on May 7, 2022 with Style!

The Kentucky Derby is coming! This iconic horse race dates all the way back to 1875. Even though the actual race only lasts a few minutes, there is a full day of racing beforehand (capping a 2-week long Kentucky Derby Festival), and the party celebrating this particular race can last all day.

Derby Fun Fact: The fastest horse in Kentucky Derby history is the Secretariat at just under two minutes back in 1973.

To participate in this long-standing tradition, throw a Kentucky Derby-themed party in your own backyard! You and your guests can watch the day of racing on television, admire each other’s racetrack fashion choices and gobble down Southern goodies to your heart’s content.

Creating an intimate backyard party is easy. For this kind of sport-themed party, move a television outside, under an overhang or shade structure, then create small areas for guests to sit or stand to watch the action and to mingle. Make sure to plan your décor and food and beverage offerings; just keep reading for tips, recipes, and the official Kentucky Derby party checklist. Being outside for the day is part of the fun attending the Kentucky Derby, and all the more reason to wear a hat!

This is also one of our favorite days to celebrate with our community at The Summit Club, for members only. We will be hosting our 2nd Annual Kentucky Derby Party at the Summit Club on Saturday, May 7th from 2-5pm. There will be festive food and beverages for purchase, and all proceeds will go to local charity, Hats for Hope: Lifting the Spirits of Cancer Patients on the Central Coast. Come join the fun and wear your favorite Derby Hat! A prize will be awarded for the most creative hat – get some ideas here

Reservations are required for this event, so please RSVP on-line in the Event section through Club Express.

Derby Fun Fact: The racetrack was originally 1 mile and a half, but in 1896 was changed to 1 mile and a quarter in 1896.

Derby Décor

The Derby’s nickname, “Run for the Roses,” is because of the winning prize of a rose-covered blanket. This blanket has over 400 flowers and weighs 40 pounds. This means that red roses make perfect decorations for your Derby party. A few red roses will set the stage, whether they are fresh flowers or the pattern on the tablecloth. You can also make bouquets of mint and thyme to place on tables; they’re more affordable and they smell great. Plus, you can use them to garnish drinks for the day.

Throw a Kentucky Derby party in your backyard

Seersucker, stripes and plaid in fun colors all work just as well to set the stage. You can even find balloons, horseshoes and table decor made especially for Kentucky Derby parties.

Party Outfits

This is the ultimate party for hat-wearing, for both guys and gals—not only is it traditional, it’s good luck. Just make sure everyone knows the dress code! You can go formal, with suits and dresses, or as casual as you want. For women, the standard is a hat or fascinator (the more outlandish the better) and a dramatic outfit in bold colors. For men, the tradition includes jackets, bow ties and straw hats. Even if you pick just one item, make sure you don something Derby for the day.

So join in the celebration by dressing in the spirit of the day!

Food & Drink

At the racetrack, spectators feast on gourmet hot dogs and barbecue sandwiches, washing it all down with the famous mint julep. You can serve these tried-and-true favorites, or cook up your favorite Southern food to go with whatever version of mint julep you like. As long as it contains some kind of Bourbon and mint, it counts. Here are some awesome mint julep recipes. You can also make non-alocoholic or Champagne sparkling mint spritzers if you want to keep it light.

Throw a Kentucky Derby party in your backyard

Race Activities

Find the races on NBC, or look up fun Kentucky Derby games like Derby Hat Draw and the Lucky Longshot at the official site. (Learn how to play, and maybe even come up with a few of your own!) You can also get in on free Bets on TwinSpires, the Official Betting Site of the Kentucky Derby. (Learn how at Bet The Derby.) Or, make a contest out of guests’ attire, and see which people at your party wins the fashion roses.

Cheers to the Kentucky Derby! And get the official Kentucky Derby party checklist.

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