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How to Host a Kentucky Derby Party at Your House

As the excitement of the Kentucky Derby approaches, it's the perfect time to plan a memorable Derby party right in your own home. Whether you're a seasoned host or new to entertaining, here's how you can throw a fabulous Derby-themed gathering that your guests will love.

Kentucky Derby Party

1. Set the Date and Send Invitations Start by choosing a date that aligns with the Kentucky Derby race day, usually the first Saturday in May. Send out themed invitations well in advance, encouraging guests to dress in their Derby best—think big hats, bow ties, and sundresses.

2. Decorate with Derby Style Transform your home into a Derby paradise with classic southern charm. Decorate with horse-themed items such as horseshoes, jockey silks, and equestrian motifs. Don't forget the iconic red roses—the official flower of the Kentucky Derby.

3. Create a Winning Menu Serve up delicious southern-inspired dishes that complement the Derby spirit. Offer traditional Kentucky favorites like bourbon-glazed meatballs, Kentucky hot browns, shrimp and grits, and of course, mint juleps—the signature drink of the Derby. Consider a dessert spread featuring bourbon-infused treats like pecan pie or bourbon balls.


4. Betting and Games Engage your guests with some friendly betting on the races. You can use a simple betting pool for fun or provide information on how to place bets online for the actual Derby race. Set up a Derby trivia game or a "best-dressed" contest to keep the excitement going.

5. Dress Code and Best Dressed Encourage guests to dress in their Derby finest. For women, this often means elaborate hats and colorful dresses, while men can sport seersucker suits or preppy attire. Offer prizes for the best hats or outfits to get everyone involved.

derby hat

6. Watch the Race Make sure you have a designated area to watch the Derby race live. Set up a TV or projector outdoors if the weather permits, or create a cozy viewing corner indoors. Cue up the pre-race coverage to build anticipation.

7. Party Favors Send guests home with a small party favor as a memento of the day. This could be a mini bottle of bourbon, a horse-shaped cookie, or a personalized racehorse-themed item.

8. Safety and Transportation Lastly, ensure your guests have a safe way to get home after enjoying the festivities. Consider arranging designated drivers or rideshare options for those who need it.

With these tips on how to host a Derby party at your house, you're all set to host a fantastic Kentucky Derby party that your friends and family will be talking about for years to come. So, start planning, get creative, and let the Derby magic come alive in your home!

Happy hosting and may the best horse win!


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