Friday July 12, 2024
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Host Your Own Derby Party

Churchill Downs RacingThe annual running of the Oaks and Kentucky Derby will take place this Friday and Saturday, May 2nd and 3rd.  Throughout the course of the races, hundreds of thousands will enjoy the races and festivities from under the twin spires of Churchill Downs.  Many others, however, will choose to get in on the action from the comfort of their own home or at a Derby party.  Celebrating the event at home is a great way to enjoy the many races throughout the day:  it is less stressful, less crowded, and cheaper.

Once you have decided to throw a Derby party at your home, the next step is to plan a fun party.  There are a number of directions in which you can take your Derby party.  Check out some of the theme  ideas below from a variety of sources, including the Official Kentucky Derby website and Better Homes and Garden:

  • For a more Family Friendly Experience, have a Under-Horse Party
    • Decorations:  decorate in the colors of the under-dog horse
    • Attire:  casual – for kids (or adults), buy cotton T-shirts and fabric paint so the kids can make their own jerseys
    • Food:  potluck, grilled food, horse-shaped cookies for kids to decorate
    • Drinks:  mint juleps (for virgin mint juleps – substitute ginger ale for bourbon)
    • Games:  Corn hole, horse shoes, derby pool (put the horse numbers into a hat and have your guests draw a number, a prize or an extra drink to the winner), water balloons, pin-the-tail-on-the-race horse
  • For a more informal party, have an Infield Party
    • Decorations:  Outdoors, use plastic horse figurines or plastic trophy cups for place markers, use trophy cups as cocktail glasses, pretty much anything goes here
    • Attire:  casual
    • Food:  grilled food, potluck, burgoo
    • Drinks:  beer and mint juleps
    • Games:  corn hole, horseshoes, three-legged races, provide materials (e.g. duct tape and plastic shopping bags) for a create your own hat contest, beer pong, slip-n-slides, derby pool

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See Something Say SomethingLMPD officials have released their safety plans for the Oaks and Derby Day events.  LMPD representatives say that they will be working in conjunction with local and federal groups to ensure that Louisvillians and visitors remain safe during the city’s Kentucky Derby Festival events, at Oaks and Derby at Churchill Downs and throughout Louisville as hundreds of thousands gallop into town to watch the race live or at Derby parties.

In addition to increased police patrols, LMPD will be coordinating sobriety checkpoints and modified traffic patterns to keep the roadways safe and flowing efficiently.  For a list of street closures and no-parking areas during the Pegasus Parade, Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby, visit the LMPD Kentucky Derby Festival Information page.  To further keep roadways safe during all of the racing celebrations, Miller Lite is sponsoring free rides on TARC buses from 6 PM Friday night until 1AM for those needing a designated driver.

Officials will also be making use of cameras along the parade route to monitor the crowd.  Additionally, LMPD is advising those in attendance “if you see something, say something.

If you plan on heading to Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Oaks or Kentucky Derby, you should be aware of what you can and cannot take into the venue.  Lists of permitted and prohibited items are available on the Kentucky Derby website.  A list of permitted and prohibited items is also available on Official Churchill Downs Partner Derby Experiences website, although visitors should be aware that there are some conflicts between the two lists – specifically, on the rules regarding coolers.  Louisville Dispatch staff reached out to the Kentucky Derby communications office and confirmed that the Derby Experiences website has an outdated list that that visitors should adhere to the list below, directly from the Kentucky Derby site: Continue reading