The annual Kentucky Derby horse race is one of the most festive sporting events of the year and an ideal event to plan a party around: the hats, the roses, the horses and the bourbon! We've put together resources on decor, drinks, food and more to help you pull off an epic Derby party:
Gussy it Up with these Party Decor Ideas:
- Ribbon Medallions at Style Me Pretty (pictured above)
- Crepe Paper Rose Garland at The Nest
- Run for the Roses Derby Wreath at She's Kinda Crafty
- Spray paint toy horses and inexpensive figurines like these at The Hostess with the Mostess
- Paper Napkin Bow Ties (super simple!) at Flying House
Get Your Derby Fashion On:
Encourage guests to get into the spirit of the Derby with their fashion choices. Traditionally, women wear hats (considered a must and believed to be good luck) and, usually, dresses. If you have some, consider having a few extra hats on hand in case someone shows up without one or setting out some materials to make your own. Derby hats are often grandiose and whimsical so anything goes! (above: a how-to for making a Derby hat from an inexpensive beach hat at DIY network)
Men often wear seersucker suits or colorful pants and dress shirts with many men taking a cue from 1920's style and donning bow ties and suspenders. Straw hats and bowlers are also popular for men.
To Julep or Not To Julep?
- Mint Julep at The Backyard Bartender (don't worry about not having julep cups - look for silver paper cups at your local party store)
- Mint Juleps for a crowd at Brooklyn Derby (pictured above)
- Bourbon! Here's a list of some good ones at Forbes
- Ginger-Mint Juleps with Fresh Pineapple at The Kitchn
- Champagne Mint Julep at The Kitchn
- Roasted Brown-Butter Pecans with Rosemary at Southern Living
- Benedictine Spread at The Kitchen Prep
- Southern Style Deviled Eggs at Never Enough Thyme
- Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich at The Brown Hotel
- Kentucky Hot Brown Bake at Eat At Home (a crowd-friendly variation)
- Ham & Biscuits: How To Bake a Honey-Glazed Ham + Herbed Yogurt Biscuits at The Kitchn
- Kentucky Burgoo at Simply Recipes
- Derby Party Pie at PopSugar (pictured above)
- Derby Pie Bars at The Kitchn
- Date, Walnut, and Coconut Bourbon Balls at Bon Appétit
- Mint Julep Cupcakes at Hostess with the Mostess
- Mint Julep Bundt Cake at Sift & Whisk
- Watch the race, natch!
- Bet on the race! For money or just for fun. You can go online to bet officially or try it yourself at home (here's some guidance and, of course, "there's an app for that" (a few actually: Derby Jackpot, Twinspires, TVG & Xpressbet).
- Have a yard? How about a game of horseshoes? Here's how to play if you've forgotten.
- Award a prize for best hat or best dressed.
It's Not a Party Without Tunes
- Bluegrass (M Shanghai pictured above)
Have you thrown or attended a great Derby party and have ideas to share? Please leave them in the comments!