The Kentucky Derby is much more than a horse race. The world famous “Run for the Roses” caps a two-week celebration known as the Kentucky Derby Festival. Events leading up to the derby range from the Thunder Over Louisville fireworks—the unofficial kick-off to the festival—to a balloon fest, waterfront concerts, a marathon, and more.
The race is the first leg of the coveted Triple Crown, with the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes comprising the other two legs. But it’s the pomp and pageantry of the Kentucky Derby that makes it the most popular with fans across the country.
It’s a great reason to get dressed up, don a fancy hat, and celebrate on May 5, the date for this year’s Kentucky Derby.
Derby Day: 5 Suggestions for Your Kentucky Derby Party Menu
Sticking with a few traditional Kentucky Derby favorites will help give your party the southern flair it needs. Here are a few options that are also easy to make and serve to your party guests:
- Kentucky Hot Brown: This legendary dish can be traced to Louisville landmark The Brown Hotel. It’s a hearty option that combines turkey with bacon, cheese, nutmeg, and thick toast.
- Dainty Finger Sandwiches: Every spring celebration needs a few good finger sandwiches. These dainty treats are easy for party guests to manage and can be made to please a variety of palates. Curried egg sandwiches, ham with brie and apple, watercress, chicken salad, and lemon-berry are just a few. These can also be good choices for older adults who are trying to stick with a healthier diet.
- Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie: A dessert choice that combines the southern traditions of pecans and bourbon, this pie is easier to make than you might think. This recipe even begins with a store-bought crust.
- Crudités and Dill Dip: Every party needs a tray of fresh vegetables and dip. They can be a very filling option for seniors who follow a Mediterranean diet. And the vegetable dip doesn’t have to be laden with calories and fat. A healthy dill dip made with Greek yogurt is just as tasty.
- Mint Julep: No Kentucky Derby party menu would be complete without this traditional drink. The classic mint julep recipe has just four ingredients: bourbon, simple syrup, fresh mint leaves, and crushed ice.
Just because you can’t be in Louisville to place a Derby wager doesn’t mean you can’t bring a few games to your party. The Kentucky Derby organization has several on their official site your guests might enjoy, including The Derby Hat Draw and Vegas at the Derby.
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