If you’re going to your first Kentucky Derby this year, you will want to know about the varied and numerous traditions embraced by the fans of The Run for the Roses. Kentucky is a southern state, after all, and the South is well-known for traditions, hospitality and grandeur.
- The traditional libation at the Kentucky Derby is the Mint Julep. Mint Juleps are made with bourbon, mint and sugar syrup. The drink is a refreshing beverage that is served in an icy glass or on the rocks.
- The official song of “The Greatest Two Minutes in Sports™” is “My Old Kentucky Home” by Stephen Foster. As the horses walk past the grandstand on their way to the starting gate, the University of Louisville marching band gives a spirited performance of the 1921 song. Many in the crowd sing along, so if you’ll be making the scene, you need to learn the lyrics. There are few moments in sports that are this inspirational and moving.
- Fashion rules on Millionaire’s Row and in the Turf Club. These restricted-access areas are for the wealthy and the super-wealthy. You won’t get in to these places unless you get yourself some passes from VIP Concierge. Celebrities from all fields overpopulate both these private zones, and they come dressed to kill. The women wear the most lovely spring dresses and pastel outfits, and the hats they wear are outrageous and on the cutting edge of fashion.
- Even if you bought passes from VIP concierge to watch the race from Millionaire’s Row, you really should take a wander down to The Infield, where some 80,000 revelers are making merry. You’ll find all the partying you can handle at The Third Turn. The atmosphere is similar to New Orleans’ Mardi Gras. The scene is calmer around Turn 1, where families picnic in the sun.
- The Derby got the nickname “The Run for the Roses” because the winning horse has been draped in a blanket of 554 red roses since 1896. The race trophy and blanket of roses are awarded by the Governor of Kentucky.
The Kentucky Derby used to be an afternoon event. It has blossomed in to two weeks of parties and southern culture. VIP Concierge has VIP passes to the parties before and after the race. The Derby looks very different from Millionaire’s Row than from The Infield. If you want to mingle with the celebrities and the rest of the beautiful people, pick up a couple pairs of tickets to the Derby. You’ll see why they call it “the sport of kings.”