Known as the most exciting two minutes in sports, the Kentucky Derby isn’t quite long enough to squeeze in hilarious commercial breaks. However, it is the perfect event to host an elevated day of festivities and fun. The race is almost always held on the first Saturday in May, so there’s plenty of time to plan the perfect party.


Invitations aren’t only for inviting people, but they also set the tone of the event and relay important information. In addition to when and where the dress code such as “Derbyattire” should be included. A mention of any planned wagering games and the food courses that will be served can help guests plan ahead.


From hats to shoes, the Kentucky Derby is all about getting decked out in your finest spring fashion.

A Derby party would be incomplete without guests showing up in their best hats. There aren’t any rules to follow when choosing a hat — from simple and classic to extravagant and bold, it’s all about having fun! While the spotlight is often on women’s hats, men can join in on this tradition too with fedoras or a bowler hat.

For women, spring dresses or suits are the most common. In addition to complementing the hat, outfits can also match the season with soft pastels or colorful florals. Complete the look with sandals or a pair of flats. However, since the hat is the main statement piece, be sure the rest of the outfit doesn’t steal the spotlight.

Although men are expected to wear a suit, bright and fun spring colors are highly encouraged. Eye-catching slacks paired with a coordinating gingham button-down will do just the trick. Throw in a classic navy blazer, a pair of loafers (without socks) and a fun tie or bow tie.


What’s a horse race without some wagers on the line? Here are two wagering party games to try:

• Lucky Longshots: Bet which horse will come in last.

• Blind Draw: Write the name of each horse in the race on a piece of paper. Set a price for guests to pay to draw a name. The person with the winning horse wins the jackpot!

Don’t forget to have a best-dressed contest for guests to vote on their favorite ensemble!


Foods that can be served as individual portions are perfect for viewing parties. The menu can include pulled pork sliders, Benedictine tea sandwiches, deviled eggs and a tomato and watermelon salad. Purchase some gourmet popcorn in flavors like salted caramel bourbon or jalapeno and cheddar cheese for a fun snack guests can enjoy throughout the festivities. Kentucky Bourbon Pecan Pie bites make a very fitting dessert.


It wouldn’t be a Kentucky Derby without your guests sipping on mint juleps. Some other cocktails to try are the Jockey Club, which is similar to a Manhattan, the two-ingredient Horse’s Neck (bourbon and ginger ale) and the Man o’ War, named for one of the greatest racehorses of all time. A pitcher of sweet tea should also be on hand.


Since the big race is often referred to as “The Run for the Roses,” it’s only fitting to have an arrangement of roses for the main centerpiece. Make sure the TVs are turned on and set to the right channels before guests arrive.

And of course, enjoy the party!

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