Toast: The Kentucky Derby

Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Southern Tradition: Top yourself off with an elegant hat and serve mint juleps for a festive Kentucky Derby inspired event.
The first Saturday in May marks the fastest and most ambitious two minutes in national sports with the Kentucky Derby.  The rich history of the sport and the amazing athleticism and sportsmanship of both jockeys and horses alike is remarkable. This year, the road to Churchill Downs Racetrack takes a different turn as it marks the first time for a point-based system (rather than the traditional graded stakes earnings) for the 20 thoroughbreds who will race for victory. The beauty of the race lends itself to pomp and circumstances upheld beyond Kentucky state lines. If we can't be there, the next best thing is hosting a derby-inspired dinner, complete with all the Southern traditions.

Left, Dapper dressing is a must for men. We love everything about this look. Center, simple yet elegant tablescapes. Get the look with P.O.S.H. Pure Stemware, Silver Beaded Chargers, Christofle Flatware, and silver accented centerpieces. Right, A gorgeous Southern belle knows her way around wearing pearls, lace, and hats.

First things first, break out your mint julep cups, seersucker suits, and elegant dresses. This event is the equivalent of a royal wedding when it comes to head attire, so don't forget to don your finest hat millinery. We picked out favorites on our Southern Traditions Pinterest board.

The Rules of Engagement
1. This is a formal affair. Invitations are a must!
2. Share the traditions of the Kentucky Derby with your guest. The Run for the Roses, as it is also known, has it's own rich history revolving around the red rose. Kroger actually makes the garland of roses for the winner, which you can read all about here. Want to know what the competition looks like?  From Governor Charlie to Charming Kitten (don't let the sweet name fool you), each fierce champion in it's own right is featured here.
3. As mentioned, the traditional attire includes a fantastic hat. We'd hate to be the lady who shows up without one! Get your head-to-toe guide on derby attire here and check out our Pinterest board for inspiration. Gentlemen should be dashing and dapper. Channel our favorite pretty woman and go for a winning Julia Roberts and Richard Gere racetrack look.
4. We love using mint julep cups as festive individual centerpieces. Use the traditional roses for an elegant addition to your tablescape. Mint juleps and bourbon are also the drinks of the day. Keep a steady supply of these favorites and pass out miniature bottles of Kentucky bourbon as a favor. 

What's in a mint julep? Check back tomorrow for Kentucky Derby recipes. 
If you're as intrigued by Kentucky and horses as we are, be sure to read our past posts by our friend Marin Fiske-Rankin, Events and Food Service Manager at SMU's Meadows Museum here and here.


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