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Party idea submitted by BizGirl Feb 2nd, 2008
A Note About Your Derby Party Menu: There are lots of regional recipes that would give your Derby party a true Kentucky feel, like chocolate bourbon balls, burgoo, grits, hot browns, chocolate-pecan pies and much, much more. If you want to go this route, great!
But here’s a reminder of something you already know. It’s your kitchen, it’s your house, and it’ your friends and family coming over. If they or you like pizza, or bagels, or cold cuts or what have you, go with what is easiest and most accessible. Over time you may want to extend yourself, but never to the point of distraction. The Derby is about fun people getting together during a special time. In other words, Call To The Derby Post does not confine itself to Derby cookbooks, but reserves the right to do so in the future! You are the jockey, trainer and owner of your Derby party. Do what you have to do. What can you do to make the party stand out, how do you give it a special Derby flair and not just an expense of feeding your friend’s stomach’s and quenching their weekend thirsts? There are two main options to consider. The simplest and the cheapest is to order some of the party supplies available at the above stores. Derby napkins and plates, cups and swizzle sticks, even Derby toilet paper can all help transform your living room (and bathroom) into a mini-Churchill Downs. Since so few people have actually attended a full-blown Derby party, this little touch can go a long way. Another idea which might be a bit pricier but also very classy is to order party gifts for your attendees. The best gift would be an official Derby glass, so your friends can start their own Derby glass collection. (These are decorative glasses in which the mint juleps are sold at Churchill Downs.) Glasses can be ordered in bulk. Another cool item to hand out is the official Kentucky Derby program. This program is similar to the one (if not the exact one) sold at the track on Derby Day. It helps your guests follow the race a bit better, and even get a glimpse into horse racing. The down side is that it is unlikely a guest will hold onto these for years, so it will be a less permanent gift than the glass. And then of course there is the other alternative to party gifts, an idea which is quite suited to the theme of the day.
Gambling at Your Derby Party
Well, no one expects you to run a pari-mutuel betting window from your living room, which of course would be illegal and especially risky if you’ve had a mint julep or three. But there are numerous ways to bet on the Derby at your party. Write the name of each Derby horse on a piece of paper, put an asking price for each slip ($2 would be apropos) and just run a simple winner-take-all contest. Or, scratch the $2 entry fee, and put a Derby t-shirt on the line for the winner. While Call To The Derby Post does not want to aggressively promote gambling at your party, a simple game like this can really get people’s blood flowing. There’s nothing better than eating great food, drinking mint juleps, hanging out with friends, watching great sports while making a profit at the same time. Understanding this might help you appreciate why the Derby is so much fun. Preparation-
As fun as Derby should be, as enjoyable this time of the year is, Call To The Derby Post does urge everyone planning on commemorating Derby in any way to PLAN AHEAD. Don’t expect to contact Party Kits and Equestrian Gifts or A Taste of Kentucky the week, or even the month, before the Derby and have your order filled. Come spring time these places get BUSY, so do yourself a favor and make your decisions early.
As mentioned earlier, one of the enjoyable things about throwing a Derby party is letting it evolve year to year. If you didn’t get enough of one thing this year, or want to try something new for next year, go for it! When it comes to party supplies and official Derby merchandise, the earlier you order the better. Get your name on a waiting list if you have to, but don’t get laughed at when you call Monday before Derby with an order. Preparing your food in advance will also let you get out a little more during Derby week rather than being stuck at home taking care of last minute details. Hey, Derby is the first Saturday in May. Now you know. Plan accordingly.
The Finishing Touches
Want a few more ideas to liven up the party?
* Send out invitations to your party. These can be ordered at the above stores.
* Buy a tape of “My Old Kentucky Home” and play it around the house. It will truly get people in the Kentucky mood.
* Even if you don’t order official raceday programs, it might not be a bad idea to copy a list of the horses to pass around to people. This information is available at Call To The Derby Post, and will help involve your non-horse racing fan guests.
* Decorations are always a no-brainer. Flowers, balloons, Derby streamers: anything to make the appearance of a celebration.
* Since Derby tickets are hard to come by, have everyone compose a letter asking for Derby tickets for next year to send to the folks at Churchill Downs. Hey, it can’t hurt. If you’re throwing a party, it’s the least your friends can do.
* Did we mention you should have lots of food and drink?
Contributed by: www.derbypost.com
Photo by: Jeff Kubina on Flickr
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