Our family welcomes any excuse to party. And we love a good animal race- horses, piglets, goats, you name it, if they’ve been raced at a county fair, we’ve lined up to watch and cheer them on. So last year, despite being months late for the annual Kentucky Derby, we decided that Grandma Nancy’s surprise birthday bash was the perfect excuse to finally throw our own farm animal races in my backyard (a bucket list event for me if ever there was one!)
The Kentucky Derby is a Grade 1 Stakes race for three year old thoroughbred horses run annually the first weekend in May. Held in Louisville, Kentucky, the race is known equally for its traditions of high fashion and infield race attendee parties as it is for its winners.
We sent invites to the Kelly Derby to our nearest and dearest and waited for someone to blow the surprise but incredibly, no one did. I thought we almost killed gram she was so taken aback (and thrilled!) when she walked in to the yard to see us all waiting in our fancy derby hats, Mint Juleps in hand. It was one of the most fun parties I have ever thrown and a memory of our home that I will always cherish.
We kept our party fairly simple with a Kelly green color scheme, a Mint Julep inspired drink in mason jars, a southern themed menu of fried chicken, cold salads and strawberry shortcakes, and hats for all. The DIY items for the party included pendant drink stirrers, colorful pendant flags strung around the porch, debonair Kelly green bow ties for the gents to clip on their shirts, and the race track my dad assembled out of chicken wire, metal stakes, and ribbon. From the excited goats foraging the flower beds, to my dad acting as the Post announcer and finally to the epic goat and dog races themselves, we had a ball.
I’d love for this traditional event to become an annual party at the farm for our family and I highly suggest having a derby party of your own. Get your barnyard critters and loved ones together this week and, with a little bit of training, some bourbon and maybe even a “southern accents required” rule, celebrate “the Fastest Two Minutes in Sports!”