Friday, May 4, 2012

Derby Traditions

Derby Weekend is here. And as gal who loves tradition, it goes without saying that tradition is one of the reasons I love the Kentucky Derby so much.

This week's Friday Five is devoted to my five favorite traditions in the Fastest Two Minutes in Sports.

The Sun Shines Bright in the Old Kentucky Home - Performed by the University of
Louisville's marching band as the horses make their way from the paddock to the starting gate, everyone in attendance sings along. You know you sing along at home, too. If you don't, you're doing it wrong.

The Julep - A Derby experience is not complete without a mint julep. While you can make it with any brand you desire, Early Times has been the official julep of Churchill Downs for many, many years. And it's delightful. If you fancy making Juleps for your viewing party this year, here's the Churchill Downs recipe:

The Early Times Mint Julep Recipe
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • Sprigs of fresh mint
  • Crushed ice
  • Early Times Kentucky Whisky
  • Silver Julep Cups
Make a simple syrup by boiling sugar and water together for five minutes. Cool and place in a covered container with six or eight sprigs of fresh mint, then refrigerate overnight. Make one julep at a time by filling a julep cup with crushed ice, adding one tablespoon mint syrup and two ounces of Early Times Kentucky Whisky. Stir rapidly with a spoon to frost the outside of the cup. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.

The Infield - Think Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras...or Talladega. Sure, you have Millionaire's Row with all of the stars, but The Infield is where the parties go down. It's pretty much divided into two areas - one on side you see families gathered, having cute little picnics; on the other side, there are things going on that would shame your entire family if they knew. This is where the majority (read: common folk) of Derby goers will be on Saturday. If you're in the Infield, don't get your hopes up about seeing any of the actual race. It just isn't going to happen.

The Twin Spires - Simply because they're gorgeous. 

The Attire - A Kentucky Derby favorites list would not be complete without discussion of the dress. If men in seersucker make you swoon, brace yourself (but not in the'll do good to find guys actually wearing shirts down there). Sundresses and big, outrageous hats are the theme of the day. It's a Southern fashion show, and it's fabulous.

Have you been to the Derby? Do you have Derby parties? What are your favorite traditions?


  1. I'll be sipping mint juleps at a derby party : )

  2. LOVE the Derby! I posted today about visiting Churchill Downs & touring the Derby museum!

  3. I love the Derby and I dream of going one day. And yes I sing along to Old Kentucky Home when it comes on. I got up from a nap in time to watch the race today, okay I set the alarm on my phone so I would.

  4. I watch the Derby on television every year and always sing along! I would love to actually be in the grandstand at the Derby one year!


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