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Off to the Races: Celebrating the Kentucky Derby

Sometimes an event is about more than the actual event (actually, a LOT of the time). Take the Super Bowl, for example. Sure, you have the biggest football game between the best teams in the nation; but you also have the halftime performance, the advertisements and the game parties. It becomes more than just a football game.

The Kentucky Derby is exactly like that. The official race is this week on May 6-7 at the Churchill Downs. Let’s talk about some ways you can celebrate the Kentucky Derby, whether you’re a fan of the race or the other fun things that come with it.

Make Yourself a Mint Julep (or Alternative)
According to the official Kentucky Derby site, Mint Juleps have been the traditional drink of the event for over a century. They serve a whopping 120,000 over the two-day Kentucky Derby period.

Try this recipe from the official site for an Old Forester Mint Julep:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • Sprigs of fresh mint
  • Crushed Ice
  • Old Forester Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • Silver Julep Cups

“Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight. Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces of Old Forester Kentucky Whisky. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.”

To make a nonalcoholic beverage, try using ginger ale, instead.

Wear a Fancy Hat
Host a party for the event where everybody dresses to the nines. The Kentucky Derby has dress suggestions on their site. Ladies tend to wear big, fancy hats. Men have also been known to sport types of hats, bow ties and suit jackets. Tell your guests to have fun and select a Derby outfit! Give out a prize for the best dressed at your shindig.

Place Your Bets
You don’t need to actually put money down to get in on the fun of the Kentucky Derby. Select a horse because you like the name. Select a horse at random. Or, select a horse because you’ve been following along all year. It doesn’t matter how you participate, simply make a selection and have fun rooting them on.