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How to Host a Kentucky Derby Party to Remember

Kentucky Derby PartyWhile watching the Kentucky Derby may not be a tradition among you and your friends, there’s plenty of reason to change that trend!

So you may not be very into horse racing… but that’s ok, because the parties for this event are tremendously fun. Here is your basic guide to hosting your own Kentucky Derby party.

The Derby

You’ll want to have the live event coverage playing in the background of your party, so make sure to check TV listings so that you can plan your party time around the race.

The actual race only lasts for about two minutes, so you’ll want some fun party games to entertain your guests for the rest of the day. Garden party games are associated with the Kentucky Derby, such as horseshoes, croquet, and corn hole, to name a few. Get a pool together and ask your friends to bet small amounts on their favorite horses.


Anything horse-themed will make for festive décor. Lay out horse shoes on the dining tables. Miniature horse figurines with names written on them make for great place settings.

“Run for the Roses” is the official Kentucky Derby nickname, so definitely take this into account when decorating. Roses make great centerpieces and cake toppers. Make sure to grab some faux trophies to hand out to your guests as prizes for games!


Horse racing events are notorious for bringing in well-to-do people wearing crazy hats. Get your guests in the spirit by encouraging them to dress up. Fancy garden party attire complete with derby hats is the best way to go. (You can find these hats at Walmart and Target for cheap.) Even better, make or embellish your own hats, and have a contest for the best one!

Men don’t typically indulge in the hat-wearing as much as the women, but a seersucker suit will really wow your guests. If that’s too over the top, then settle with pastel-colored button ups and khakis. Colorful bowties are encouraged.


THE cocktail of the Kentucky Derby is the mint julep. To make these cocktails, you’ll just need some mint, bourbon, simple syrup, and crushed ice. You can make a big pitcher for your guests, or allow them to create it themselves at a julep bar. Just make sure to lay out the recipe to guide them.

To make a mint julep, muddle some mint leaves and put them the glass. Add a half ounce of simple syrup and two and a half ounces of bourbon and stir. Add a few cubes of crushed ice and garnish with a mint sprig.


Traditional southern food pairs perfectly with mint juleps. Hosting a barbeque is the simplest way to cook great food for your guests. If you’re feeling a little fancier, then serve cucumber sandwiches and Kentucky hot browns.

The highlight of your event should be your mint juleps, because really, this party is just another excuse to imbibe with friends. Make sure you get quality ingredients by stopping by Julio’s Liquors in Westborough, MA. We can help you make your Kentucky Derby party a success.

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