Unless you have been living under a rock, you’ve heard of the Kentucky Derby at one point in your life.
Well, here in Louisville, Kentucky, it’s like a national holiday. You know when you string everything out from the basement and deck the halls for Christmas? Yes, it’s just like that…but without the tree.
There are social events, festivals, marathons and celebrity gatherings of all kinds centered around the fastest two minutes in sports! And work? Well, unless you are literally curing something, your office has more than likely closed down for a long weekend of gambling at the track.
As I became acquainted with the traditions on the first Saturday in May, I quickly realized there are several tips I wish I had known before I even stepped near the track.
If you are traveling to Louisville for the Kentucky Derby, here is the warmest virtual welcome! On behalf of all Louisvillians, we are so excited you are here. Now, put your best dress on and brush up on your betting skills, because here are a few tips to make this the best Kentucky Derby yet!
Tips for Attending the Kentucky Derby in Louisville, KY
1. Your Sunday best should be pressed!
Dressing your best is the name of the game for the Kentucky Derby. You will see all kinds of kinds during the week of Derby. Expect everything from pin-striped suits to the most ostentatious hats you could ever imagine.
One thing to remember: Nothing is too much at the Kentucky Derby.
So, before you twist and twirl in the dressing room wondering if your dress is simply “too much” with that flashy hat, remember that this is the social event to be seen. Take a chance and wear what makes you feel a part of the scene!
If you are doing some last minute shopping, check out Vineyard Vines 2017 Kentucky Oaks Collaboration With Norton Cancer Institute. Vineyard Vines teamed with the Norton Cancer Institute here in Louisville to make a difference with Oaks Day attire! Twenty percent of the purchase price of the Pink Lillies tie, Pink Lillies bow tie, and Run for the Roses scarf will go to the Norton Cancer Institute. It’s fantastic to see such a great cause happening right here in our city!
If you are planning on throwing your own soiree and going a bit casual, check out these Vineyard Vines Derby styles great for a casual gathering of betting!
2. Pack Extra Shoes.
This tip deserves a tip all it’s own. Shoes. Dear Mercy, bring a pair of flip-flops to slip on while you walk to and from the track!
Speaking from personal experience, no matter how comfortable your pretty shoes may be, you will be cursing them after standing in them all day. It’s a rookie move to do otherwise.
Drop your nice shoes into your bag (see tip below!) to slip on after you arrive! You will be so glad you did. Of course, if you forget, flip flops are for sale for about $20 outside of Churchill Downs.
3. Make it a Picnic at the Downs.
Spending your betting dollars on food can really do a number on your wallet, so be sure and bring your lunch!
In the past, Panera has done a fantastic job of boxing lunches for your day at Churchill Downs. The boxed lunch usually included a sandwich of your choice, chips, apple and a cookie – all neatly packaged in a clear bag that is Churchill Downs approved! Be sure to check the Churchill Downs prohibited items list for more detail.
Expert note: Drop your fancy shoes down in that 18” x 18” approved bag, with your lunch, and you are ready for the day!
Each year the Kentucky Derby keeps getting better and better. Follow these three tips and you can’t go wrong.