Friday, May 6, 2011

Kentucky Derby Traditions & To Do's

The Kentucky Derby is this weekend and I'm definitely going to be watching as well as dressing up!   The Alyssa Pagano Foundation is hosting their 2nd Annual Kentucky Derby fundraiser in memory of Alyssa.   Alyssa was passionate about animals and children, so tomorrow all proceeds raised will be donated to the Children's Memorial Hospital and the Humane Society.

I have my outfit all picked out and I cannot WAIT to attend my first real Kentucky Derby party.   It will be a fun day with friends all celebrating and commemorating Alyssa at her favorite Italian restaurant in Chicago.  I think this is a great way to be charitable and enjoy a special event!  (Stay tuned for pictures!)  

To get you into the Kentucky Derby spirit, I thought I would share some Derby Traditions.

Derby Hats and the Fashion:  Beginning in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, affluent women arrived at the race wearing fashionable hats, gloves, and stylish dresses.  Throughout the years, the tradition of Derby hats and feminine couture has endured, and perhaps, grown more colorful and expensive with each new season.  This is really the main reason why I watch the Derby.   To see the celebrities in their outfits.   It is like a mini-fashion show and I have a feeling a lot of hats will be based off of the hats worn by the Royal Wedding attendees!

Today, women wear many styles of glamorous hats, along with a wide variety of dresses and suits.  The feminine pageantry surrounding the race has become nearly as iconic as the horses on the field.  

The Mint Julep: The Bourbon-charged “Mint Julep” is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby and is composed of sugar syrup, fresh mint, crushed ice, and Kentucky bourbon.   On race day, vendors weave through the crowds with fresh “Mint Juleps,” served in the commemorative annual Kentucky Derby glass.  Want to learn how to make mint juleps at home- here's the recipe

The Traditional Song: “My Old Kentucky Home.”  As the Derby contenders are paraded before the crowd prior to the race, “My Old Kentucky Home” is played by the University of Louisville Marching Band

The Derby is frequently referred to as "The Run for the Roses," because a garland of red roses is awarded to the Kentucky Derby winner each year. The tradition is as a result of New York socialite E. Berry Wall presenting roses to ladies at a post-Derby party in 1883 that was attended by Churchill Downs president, Col. M. Lewis Clark. 

Will you be watching the Kentucky Derby tomorrow?  If so, what are your plans?   Are you planning on dressing up?  I would love to see pictures and hear your plans!

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