May 3, 2016

The Kentucky Derby, Hats & Party Planning

The Kentucky Derby (Run for the Roses) is this time is getting close. 

Since you all love pretty hats, I think you will like this post. I have included the song that everyone sings just prior to the running of the Derby. It brings tears to the eyes of Kentuckians! Sentimental ones! 

If you are in the Louisville area...the festivities have already begun. Parade. Air show. Hot air balloon race. And more. Derby week is a fun time for family fun. 

If you are not in the Louisville can still enjoy the Derby by creating your own festivities at home or with a group of friends. The race is televised so lots of folks plan parties around the race. 

Now, lets move along to some fun party ideas.

You need a pretty hat!
You can make a pretty hat if you are crafty.

Images courtesy of Google.

I suggest that if you have a party at your home, or even if you are a guest at a party, be sure to wear a pretty hat! Ask all of the ladies to join in. It makes it so much more fun.

This is the one day when ladies and movie stars alike love to sport a very feminine hat. 

Lots of care is taken in matching an outfit and hat. As to which comes first...that is up to you. Some like to find a nice hat the week after Derby, when they can nab a beautiful hat with a lower price tag. Believe me...the sky is the limit with these gorgeous hats. They can begin at around one hundred dollars and go up to several hundred dollars. 

Here is an example of a very simple, yet very elegant hat.
In the past there has been a place in Louisville (the old St.Matthews mall one year) where hat designer(s) would set up shop and you could bring in your suit or sundress and she and her staff would design a custom hat to match your outfit. One year a hat designer came from Hilton Head to Louisville to make custom hats. I saw pictures and the hats were beautiful!!!

But, if you are crafty, you can actually purchase a simple hat...and add flowers, netting, and create your own custom chapeau. This can still add up to many dollars...but a fun project. 

You can go online to see many examples of Ky Derby hats to figure out what you like. One of my favorite things is to "hat" watch. I love seeing the fashions on Oaks Day and Derby Day. The Oaks is run on Friday before the Derby on Saturday. The Oaks day usually has a pink theme and offers a time during the day for cancer survivors to walk the race. 

Fashions range from simple to very extravagant! Here are some really pretty hats. I just love hats, and wish we wore them more places. 

Derby and Oaks is a time to go southern...
even if you are from way up north!

Many "stars" find their way to Louisville for the first Saturday in May!

I am in love with this pink hat!  
Very feminine but not overdone. 

As you can see...the hats can be made by milliners or a crafty friend. 

Put on a sundress, or suit if it is cold, and just enjoy the day.

I think this young lady has a wonderful look, sporting her small red hat. In the background you can see the gent's look, with a matching red bow tie.

Elle style.

And for the younger set...they often party in the "infield." We did the infield once...when in grad school at the University of Louisville. Never again for me. I am too old. It is for the younger crowd! Ha! :-)

Southern Living magazine has a nice spread on the Kentucky Derby. I just opened my digital copy and found lots of useful info. I think that making your own fascinator looks like fun! (Above) And suggestions on pulling together an outfit for your day at the races, below. I would nix the high heels though! Ha!

One you have your hat and outfit for your want to plan food, decorations, and activities. I will talk about food and recipes in the next post...some traditional Kentucky recipes/dishes that you will want to make for your Derby party. If you are having friends bring dishes to the party, share the recipes with them too. 

In the world of sports, there is not a more moving moment than the one when the horses step onto the track for the Kentucky Derby post parade and the University of Louisville band strikes up "My Old Kentucky Home". Print off copies of the lyrics below, so your guests can sing

Federal Hill (My Old Ky Home) Bardstown, KY

By Stephen Foster 

The sun shines bright in the old Kentucky home, 
Tis summer, the people are gay; 
The corn-top's ripe and the meadow's in the bloom 
While the birds make music all the day. 
The young folks roll on the little cabin floor 
All merry, all happy and bright; 
By'n by hard times comes a knocking at the door 
Then my old Kentucky home, Good-night! 
Weep no more my lady. 
Oh! Weep no more today! 
We will sing one song for my old Kentucky home 
For the old Kentucky home, far away.

Click on the video to learn the tune.

The Kentucky Derby is the first of three races that make up the Triple Crown. Things get very exciting as the Derby winner moves on!

The three Thoroughbred races that make up the Triple Crown will be televised: 

Visit this link to learn about this years horses and other bits of information.  
Kentucky Derby Website:
Party Planning

Kentucky Derby Party Planning Guide
Great party planner for the PDF!

More Hats...on Garden and Gun Magazine.

Thanks for visiting. 

My Kentucky Living
My Kentucky Living

Hello, I'm Sheila and my house is a giant art project! I enjoy creating an environment where my family can feel safe, secure, and loved. We are empty nesters learning to slow down and enjoy life.


  1. Gorgeous hats! Saw a lady wearing a hat at a restaurant on Sunday. I think I still have a couple of souvenirs from My Old Kentucky Home.

    1. That old house is what I call a Kentucky house. One that was built after living on the land for awhile and the owner had enough money to build a brick house. A step up from the early clapboard cottage or cabin. Ha!

  2. Replies
    1. You are so right Jeanie! Which one do you want? Ha! Sheila

  3. What a wonderful heartwarming event! I'm always wanted to sip on a Mint Julep and wear one of those gorgeous hats while at the Kentucky Derby! One day! I wore a hat last year, here at home! Had so much fun! Great post! I am happy I found your great blog!

    1. Nancy, thank you for visiting! Glad you found me and please come back often. :-) sheila

  4. Love those hats. I'll let you know how our Canadian version of the derby party unfolds. xo

    1. Oh what fun. Can't wait to hear, and hopefully see your party.

  5. We were there once, many years ago, for the Kentucky Derby. What an amazing affair. Mouth-dropping hats and outfits. It is something you truly have to see to believe. xo Diana

    1. The Derby can range from beautiful to crazy in people and fashion. Ha! Sheila

  6. Reminiscent of our ladies day at Ascot here in the UK. Fabulous hats.

  7. I totally enjoyed all of the pretty hats and outfits. We have been going to our friends KD party for the past 3 years and we always have fun!
    I hope you have fun tomorrow!


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