The Kentucky Derby 2023 is almost here! Also known as “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports,” Derby day is a fantastic reason to gather your friends and family for a fun-filled day of horse racing, delicious food, and refreshing drinks.
If you’re looking to throw a Kentucky Derby party that will have your guests talking long after the race is over, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve got the inside track on how to plan a party that’s sure to be a winner, with ideas for food, drinks, games, and decor.
Kentucky Derby 2023 – May 6th Race Day
Set the tone for your party with themed invitations that reflect the excitement and elegance of the Kentucky Derby. Consider using horse racing motifs, such as horseshoes, jockey silks, or the iconic Twin Spires of Churchill Downs. Don’t forget to mention the dress code – guests should come dressed in their Derby best, with ladies in stylish hats and gentlemen in dapper suits or blazers.
Transform your home into a festive racing venue with decorations that capture the spirit of the Kentucky Derby. Hang bunting in the traditional red, white, and blue colors, or choose a color scheme inspired by your favorite jockey silks. Use rose garlands or bouquets to represent the Garland of Roses awarded to the Derby winner, and add touches of equestrian flair with horse figurines or horseshoe accents.
Serve up some Southern-inspired fare that will keep your guests satisfied while they watch the races. Classic Kentucky Derby dishes include:
- Kentucky Hot Brown Sliders: An open-faced turkey and bacon sandwich topped with Mornay sauce and broiled until bubbly and golden.
- Deviled Eggs Southern Style
- Benedictine Cucumber Sandwiches: A creamy cucumber and cream cheese spread that’s perfect for tea sandwiches or as a dip for crudites.
- Pimento Cheese Dip: A tangy blend of cheddar cheese, pimentos, and mayo that can be served as a spread or a dip.
- Pecan Pie Bars: Sweet, gooey, and loaded with chocolate chips and walnuts, these mini pies are a surefire crowd-pleaser.
- Bourbon Meatballs: Tender meatballs simmered in a bourbon-infused sauce for a deliciously flavorful appetizer.
No Kentucky Derby party is complete without a refreshing Mint Julep, the race’s signature cocktail. Offer a DIY Mint Julep station with crushed ice, fresh mint, simple syrup, and, of course, plenty of bourbon. For guests who prefer a non-alcoholic option, provide a delicious and refreshing mint-infused lemonade. Don’t forget to stock up on traditional silver julep cups or fun horse-themed glassware for an authentic touch!
5. Games and Activities
Keep your guests entertained throughout the party with fun games and activities that everyone can enjoy. Consider setting up a betting pool where guests can “bet” on their favorite horses using play money or raffle tickets. You can also organize a “Best Hat” or “Best Dressed” contest to reward guests who really embraced the Derby spirit.
For an interactive game, try “Horse Racing Bingo,” where guests mark off squares on their bingo cards as they spot various race-day occurrences, such as horses being led to the track, jockeys warming up, or a photo finish.
6. Party Favors
Send your guests home with a keepsake to remember your fabulous Kentucky Derby party. Party favors could include miniature bottles of bourbon, horse-shaped cookies, or even a small potted mint plant for making their own Mint Juleps at home.
With these tips and ideas, you’ll be well on your way to hosting a Kentucky Derby 2023 party that will go down in history as a true winner. From the delicious Southern-inspired food and refreshing drinks to the exciting games and activities, your guests will be talking about your party long after the final horse crosses the finish line. So, gather your friends, don your best Derby attire, and get ready to celebrate the most exciting two minutes in sports in true Kentucky Derby style.
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