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Derby Parties


By Nancy Brannon

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The first Saturday in May is the traditional time to host a Kentucky Derby Party, since not everyone can travel to Louisville, Kentucky for the real event. Such parties usually culminate with a live broadcast of the race, and afterwards, folks can collect the winnings from their bets.

Southern Living magazine offers advice on what to serve at a Kentucky Derby party. Food essentials include Kentucky Hot Brown, Chocolate-Bourbon Pecan Pie, and Bourbon Balls. For drinks, the Classic Mint Julep is served in a silver julep cup. And roses and boxwood topiaries are the required centerpiece and tabletop decorations. You can also fill traditional silver julep cups with red roses for a small-scale arrangement.

Ladies dress in their finest, ever-so-elaborate Kentucky Derby hats, sporting horse-themed jewelry, while the gents may dress in seersucker suits, pants in bright hues, and colorful bow ties – or a tie from Vineyard Vines, the official tie maker of the Kentucky Derby. While ladies generally are expected to wear their heels, an all-day rain occasion requires something more practical, like colorful rain boots – or even better, riding boots.

Southern Reins Center for Equine Therapy hosted their fourth  annual Jockeys & Juleps Derby Party at 916 Billy Bryant Road in Fisherville, Tennessee.

The bluegrass music by the River Bluff Clan was toe-tapping, innovative, and reflected the band’s multiple cultural influences – from Celtic and Appalachian traditions to Mississippi hill country and Delta Blues. If you haven’t heard this band yet, I highly recommend them!

Sponsorship levels were ranked at $30,000, $20,000, $10,000, all the way down to $1,500 level. First Tennessee Bank Advisors was the presenting sponsor and Lexus was the Run for the Roses sponsor. Single ticket prices were $150.
Additional fundraisers for Southern Reins Derby party included a Fine Art Auction, with donated paintings, photographs, jewelry, and other objets d'art, and a live auction.

In Franklin, Tenn., the Downtown Franklin Rotary Club hosted its primary fundraiser Jockeys & Juleps Kentucky Derby Party at The Park at Harlinsdale Farm. Tickets were $125 and funds raised will be distributed to local charities through the Downtown Franklin Rotary Foundation. Raymond James was the Presenting Sponsor of this event.

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