The first weekend in May means it is Kentucky Derby time, and that my friends means Kentucky Derby party ideas.
Horse racing enthusiasts, socialites and celebrities will flock to Churchill Downs this Saturday to view the Run for the Roses.
For those of us not making the jaunt, an excellent opportunity to get down and get derby is just a julep jubilee away.
In other words, if you can’t be live and in person at the Derby create your own Kentucky Derby extravaganza.
Kentucky Derby party ideas revolve around traditions, red roses, mint juleps and fascinating fashions.
Derby dazzling accessories in gold and silver for Kentucky Derby Day and beyond.
Now let’s switch gears and show and tell Kentucky Derby party ideas.
And they’re off!
Working with a theme makes coming up with ideas an easy exercise in Derby decorating.
Horse races are run on dirt courses and turf races.
Dirt is not something I recommend dressing out a lovely party food table in. I mean come on, who wants to decorate a party food table with dirt?
Emulate the look of a turf race with a faux grass table runner.
Spanish and/or reindeer moss pairs well or as stand alone centerpiece additions.
Red roses rule the Run for the Roses and make a strong show the next day for Mother’s Day.
See where this getting a lot of bang for your buck decorating logic is going?
Centerpiece equation solved with one horse head sculpture/statue sitting in the middle of a red rose floral wreath is Kentucky Derby divine.
Pick up several faux stems of roses to fill in bare areas, and voilà!
Simply dismantle the centerpiece after your Derby party and use the wreath for your Mother’s Day brunch-lunch-dinner centerpiece.
Look at you, you decorating smarty designing and decorating a smashing Derby party.
Over on the Kentucky Derby website is this tutorial for making a DIY Garland of Roses Table Runner.
For extra Run for the Roses Derby flair, I clip several roses from front yard flower bed and float in clear bowls.
Warm water works best, and I drop a low dose aspirin in the water to prolong the life of the roses.
No real roses?
No real problem.
Faux rose bouquets placed in striking vases, champagne buckets, on trays, or in trophy cups works beautifully as well.
Super stylish option.
Incorporating the traditional aspects of horse racing into my Kentucky Derby party ideas such as riding boots, horseshoes, and a riding helmet or two is not as difficult as one would think.
Spring is a great time of the year in retail sales to locate a pair of riding boots on sale or clearance.
Riding boots will work perfect in my Kentucky Derby party ideas scheme.
Saturday’s centerpiece will become my new fall fashion boots.
Now that’s getting your money’s worth.
Several small arrangements of cut roses set on tabletops continues the Run for the Roses theme.
A combination arrangement of red and white roses perfectly fits in with the Run for the Roses motif.
Party decorating goes with a clever DIY project, and my list of Kentucky Derby party ideas includes one that is relatively simple to execute.
Fully sanded-ready to paint wood cutouts painted in your choice of color(s) carry out the horse racing theme.
Scatter about tabletops, prop and position around serving trays, centerpiece embellishments, cake toppers, monogram with party attendees initials as take home favors- you get the idea.
Horse racing reigns supreme in Louisville, and the traditional beverage of Churchill Downs and the Kentucky Derby is the Mint Julep.
½ oz. superfine sugar
1 oz. hot water
8 mint leaves, plus one mint sprig
2 oz. bourbon
Dissolve the sugar in the water in an old-fashioned glass or Mint Julep cup.
Add mint leaves and gently press with a spoon.
Add the bourbon of your choice, fill the glass with crushed ice, and stir.
Place mint sprig in the ice alongside a short straw, and serve.
Mock Mint Julep (non-alcoholic julep)
2 cups cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
8 fresh mint sprigs (for syrup)
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
32 ounces Ginger Ale soda, chilled
8 cups crushed ice
8 fresh mint sprigs for garnish or more to desired taste
In a large saucepan, bring, water, sugar, lemon juice and mint leaves to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until sugar is completely dissolved.
Allow mixture to cool.
Strain cooled simple mint syrup and discard mint leaves.
Fill your mint julep cups with crushed ice, ½ cup Ginger Ale soda, and ½ cup mint syrup. Stir to incorporate flavors.
Garnish with fresh mint sprigs.
Makes 8 servings.
Please drink responsibly.
Here’s a fun serving idea for other beverages requiring ice cubes- rose petal and fresh mint ice cubes.
Gently remove rose petals and fresh mints leaves from stems and lightly wash to remove any debris.
Place rose petals into each water filled compartment.
Enhance the flavor of mint ice cubes by also adding a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice to the water.
Better yet, use sweet iced tea infused with fresh lemon juice instead of water.
Freeze and enjoy.
Pick up several nickel-plated serving trays from Dollar Tree in assorted shapes and sizes to use for servings mint juleps and appetizers.
Pimento cheese is a Derby delicacy.
Adding a dash of Creole seasoning or Louisiana hot sauce along with a handful or two of chopped walnuts to store bought pimento cheese brings the c’est si bon to the party.
Going through my media files for this post I spotted the gorgeous bowl I sourced for my Mother’s Day Gift Ideas post.
Encore presentation worthy for sure, I feel confident in suggesting the use of vintage beauties such as this one for Kentucky Derby party pieces.
The Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich, a Kentucky original recipe created in 1926 at the Brown Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky, is a perfect Derby Day menu choice.
This recipe from SheKnows plates turkey, bacon, Parmesan cheese, tomatoes and a heavy-handed dollop of bechamel sauce together in all its delicious, rich and Kentucky tradition glory.
Click HERE for recipe.
Heather of Sprinkle Bakes recipe fame comes in first place in the winner’s circle with her recipe for Butter Pecan Praline Cake.
If baking does not fit into your party schedule or itinerary, consider picking up your favorite cake at a local or grocery store bakery and adding embellishments of choice.
Pecan Delight pie works, too.
Keep your eyes out for riding helmets and equestrian accents at antiques and resale shops.
Perhaps a tip of the hat to a more formal affair prop.
Kentucky Derby Party Ideas Checklist:
Scrapbook paper in 12×12 sheets found at craft stores make perfect Derby party placemats
Fresh or faux roses
Mint julep cups – a Derby must.
Fresh mint clippings for mint juleps.
Simple and fragrant, float fresh mint sprigs in clear cut glass bowls slightly filled with warm water.
Dollar store trays with the look of silver.
Tractor Supply meets the Derby need with nickel plated horse bits to use as napkin rings and horseshoes in packs of 4.
Here’s to traditions and celebrating the Run for the Roses with win, place and show-stopping Kentucky Derby party ideas.