Kentucky Derby Hats – Host the Best Kentucky Derby Party

Kentucky Derby hats are a must for every watch party. Instead of just having a barbecue and turning on the TV at the right time, how about making it a themed party. It’s loads of fun to get everyone in the horse racing spirit and get them dressed up in Derby attire. So we’ve compiled this guide to get you on the right track and ensure your Kentucky Derby party is a success.

Kentucky Derby Hats

Of course your guests will wear hats to your Kentucky Derby Party. This is the best part of a themed party is seeing all the great Kentucky Derby hats. If your guests are whiny babies, or lack funds, you can supply cheap hats of your own. Hand them out when guests arrive and they’ll immediately get in the party vibe.

Kentucky Derby Hats
Kentucky Derby Hats

Women’s Kentucky Derby Hats

Ladies have two choices for Kentucky Derby hats: wide brimmed hats, and fascinators. If you’re hosting a watch party, you don’t need to be so extravagant like the ladies on TV, as those hats are also very expensive and unique. There are plenty of good choices to get you in the racing mood.

Wide brimmed hats can be anything from straw to linen. Lots of hats have an accessory on the hatband like a bow or flower. The fascinators are similar too, in that they have bows and flowers on the barrette.

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Men’s Kentucky Derby Hats

Men are usually more particular about what sits on their head. But for once a year, just have fun and pretend like a Kentucky Derby hat is a grownup version of Halloween. Men have three distinct choices for Kentucky Derby hats. They can pick from a boater hat, fedora, or bowler. The bowler is also called a derby hat, and is our favorite option for this once a year event.

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New to these Hats? Read our Guide to Get you Started

Kentucky Derby Drinks

No self-respecting party is complete without mint julep. If you were at the race, you’d see everyone walking around with these in their hands. I swear they don’t sell anything else at the Derby. And luckily, making them at home is a lot easier than you’d think. It’s just bourbon, sugar, and mint. It’s practically a lazy-man’s beverage of choice.

Kentucky Derby Hats - mint julep
Mint Julep

Be warned though, as we ran into this issue in year’s past, when the Kentucky Derby shares the same weekend as Cinco de Mayo, mint becomes a hot commodity. People are making mojitos this weekend too. You may have to settle for less than desirable mint leaves, unless you want to run around to a thousand grocery stores like we did.

Besides mint julep, there are other beverage ideas to have on stock. One is 14 Hands wine. The name itself, 14 Hands, is a way of measuring how big a horse is. Their logo features horses and there’s even a specific blend of fruity red and white wines called “Hot to Trot.” How great is that?

Kentucky Derby Food

Kentucky loves being known for their wacky traditions, and their favorite food choice is no different. The Kentucky Derby sells plenty of burgoo. It’s a slow-cooked stew consisting of a variety of meats and vegetables. You can find a really great recipe here. It’s sort of a like a frittata that these meals are meant to toss in whatever leftovers are in the fridge. Burgoo usually consists of a variety of different meats, steak, chicken, or pork, and whatever assortment of vegetables fits your fancy. Crock-pot meals are great for gatherings too, as it’s all prepared ahead of time, and guests can choose to munch and eat as they please.

Kentucky Derby Hats - burgoo
Burgoo

Kentucky Derby Dessert

Every party needs dessert. One of the more creative desserts we found are these cupcakes with wide-brimmed hats. It’s such a clever design. It even includes little white hatbands running around the rim, and miniature flower accents. Whoever created these cupcakes is a genius.

Kentucky Derby Hats - cupcakes
Photo by DixieBelleCupcakeCafe / CC BY

Kentucky Derby Games

We’re not fans of gambling with real money, but if competition is involved we’re first in line. To get your guests into the Kentucky Derby spirit and get them cheering for the “most exciting 2 minutes in sports,” let your guests pick a random horse to root for. Put all the contending horse names in a hat, and let your guests pick blindly. That way no one can claim the obvious favorites. Then have a prize for the winner, or even those who win the trifecta – the first three finishers. Extra fun can be had by giving a prize to the horse who came in last.

Lastly, set up a game of horseshoes in the yard. It’s fun and simple. Your guests will totally get the horse theme and love tossing those weighty horseshoes around.

Hopefully you can follow these tips and pull off your Kentucky Derby house party with success. Hit us up on social media and let us know how it went.

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