Kentucky Derby Party: The Infield

derby party
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When you think of the Kentucky Derby, which is being held on May 1 this year, you automatically think of seersucker suits, big hats, and gloved hands toasting mint juleps, right? Well, if you've ever been to the actual Kentucky Derby, you know that there's yet another scene, one that's less, er, upscale. That'd be the infield crowd. So, if you want to throw a derby party this year, surprise your guests by having an infield-themed Derby party.


An Infield theme is all about casual fun. In real life, it's a bit like Mardi Gras (though not quite as crazy).

  • Jennifer Sbranti, from the Hostess With the Mostess website, suggests creating "mini infield" centerpieces using shallow vases filled with grass or similar ground cover. Decorate the miniature fields with toy horses and beads or mini plastic trophies.
  • Use green felt to cover the tables ... it'll add to the infield decor as well as protect the wood from any spills.

derby party
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Have your guests play fun picnic games, such as horseshoes (which will pay homage to the event), beer pong, and corn hole.

What to serve:
Grill up burgers, hot dogs, and ribs for the casual fare, but if you want to include some traditional foods, you can serve Hot browns, which are a staple at the Churchill Downs, and the mint julep, which is the official drink of the Kentucky Derby. 

The Kentucky Derby is often referred to as "The Run for the Roses" because of the garland of roses hung around the winner's neck. This tradition was said to have begun when a New York socialite started presenting the women with a rose as they left an after-derby affair. Take a cue from the socialite and give each of your guests a rose as they leave your party.

Do you watch the Kentucky Derby? Have you ever hosted a derby party?



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