Evelyn Henson Kentucky Derby

Evelyn Henson Kentucky Derby

Evelyn Henson |

Evelyn Henson |

Hold your horses! The Kentucky Derby (aka "the most exciting two minutes in sports") airs this Saturday May 5th on NBC. Held at Churchill Downs since 1875, the Derby is the longest continually held sporting event in America AND the perfect excuse to throw a party. Even as someone who has never been to the Kentucky Derby, I always find this mint julep filled event both fun to dress for and celebrate. 


If you're unfamiliar with this classic Kentucky event, all you need to know is that the Derby features three-year-old thoroughbreds racing a distance of 1.25 miles. Because the winning jockey traditionally receives a bouquet of roses, the Derby is also known as "the Run for the Roses." The Derby takes place every year on the first Saturday in May. 150,000 people attend to place bets on horses, sip on mint juleps, sing “Old Kentucky Home” and wear crazy hats. The good news is that even if you aren't attending the event, you can do all those things from home. To help you commemorate the big event from wherever you are, I've put together a guide that includes everything you need. 


1. PLANNING YOUR KENTUCKY DERBY PARTY (download & print out the party checklist here): 

  • Bouquets of roses- Since roses are the official flower of the race, all you really need in terms of decorations is roses. The more, the better! You can even use extra julep cups to easily make pretty arrangements. 



  • Mint Juleps- If you only have time for one thing on this list, let it be mint juleps, the traditional beverage of the Kentucky Derby! You can print off this recipe card to keep on hand and even display it alongside your mint juleps to create a mini mint julep bar. 


  • Bourbon- Since Woodford Reserve is the official sponsor of the event, you should pick up their limited edition Kentucky Derby bottle if you can. Two popular race day drinks to whip up are Bourbon Cider and Bourbon smash


  • Champagne- Because no celebration is complete without a pop of bubbly. You can even make Champagne Mint Juleps!


  • Award ribbons- Honor this iconic Derby style tradition by holding a hat contest among guests. Keep award ribbons on hand to gift those who wear the best and craziest hats.



A big hat and chic sundress are two must-have elements to putting together the perfect Kentucky Derby outfit. A few favorite finds (some of which I painted in the first illustration above) are below:     





    Pour yourself a mint julep and tune in to watch live coverage beginning at 2:30 pm ET Saturday! 


    Happy derby! XX

    April 30, 2018 — Evelyn Henson
    Tags: lifestyle