Friday, May 1, 2009

Your Daily Dose Of Derby - Hospitality!

The Kentucky Derby Festival kicks off with Thunder Over Louisville (see above), the largest pyrotechnic display in North America. Over 700,000 people converged on the riverfront this year to watch the fireworks display and air show throughout the day and evening. Besides those that attend the event, there are numerous parties both corporate and private hosted by anyone with a view and a balcony.

This is an auspicious start to two weeks of non-stop revelry. I just got home from a lovely cocktail party hosted by a dear friend for 75 or so of his closest friends. I am now ensconced in my bed with four creatures and my laptop as I have you all to attend to and an alarm that will go off at 5:30 am. Most of the people there tonight, though, had either dinner plans or other parties to attend.

Likewise, tomorrow morning many of the same people will go to Dawn At The Downs, yet another chance to eat and look at horses. They will don hats and summer suits (not the same ones that will make a showing at the Oaks or Derby) and wander about with bloody marys and country ham biscuits. On Saturday many of them will attend the Governor's breakfast in Frankfort before heading to the track.
Throughout the rest of the weekend there are tons of opportunities to party. The parks will be full of families and friends barbecuing. Backyards will be filled with friends and neighbors eating and drinking and betting amongst themselves. People will cruise the streets. Restaurants and bars will be overflowing.
And then there are the official parties and galas. For sums ranging from $25 to $40,000 you can attend any number of parties including the Mint Jubilee to benefit the Brown Cancer Center, the Derby Eve Gala to benefit the American Lung Association, the 100 Black Men of Louisville Gala, and the Hillbilly Outfield Derby Party to benefit Make a Wish Foundation. The grandaddy of them all is the Barnstable-Brown Party (home of the $40,000 table) to benefit the Barnstable-Brown Diabetes Research Laboratories. Last year this party made a donation of $1 million to the foundation. There are always tons of celebrities sprinkled throughout the parties and part of the fun is spotting them around town. Even the Derby City Rollergirls, Louisville's female rollerderby team gets into the action hosting the Down and Derby Party for HIVAIDS.
The biggest hooha takes place on Derby Eve but you can even find a party on Sunday including the Yew Dell Gardens Hangover Party and the Funkmaster Flex Custom Car and Bike Show. Like I said, there's something for everyone!
As you can see, during Derby Louisville opens its' hearts, homes and wallets to anyone and everyone. In a only a short time you could see how much a sense of place Louisville imprints on those that experience it. If you come here, we will feed you, entertain you and make you wish, if for only a moment, that you could bask in the glow of our Southern hospitality forever.


Robynn's Ravings said...

Wow. We're getting a regular history/travel lesson here. The Wild Man has always been fascinated by pyrotechnics. He would LOVE this. He would always cry when he was little and beg to go anyway!

Treehouse Chef said...

Beautiful post! It makes me glad to be a Kentuckian.

Frugal Maven said...

Thanks Treehouse and Robynn! This has been fun trying to show the other side of Derby.

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